Here a 2021 publication describes how researchers at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health used of 67 inbred male ‘alcohol-preferring’ rats in basic science experiments relating to Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD). The rats were sourced from the Institute’s breeding colony, having been bred specifically to voluntarily consume high levels of alcohol. In the experiment they were trained to access alcohol (ethanol) by pressing a lever.
The experiment attempted to study the role of pharmacological compounds on locomotor activity and behaviour and translate findings to the human condition of AUD.
However, the researchers themselves acknowledge the deficiency in the research in various ways, noting that only male rats were used yet there is a rising prevalence of AUD in women and the potential role of sex hormones in alcohol consumptionHRA argues that male rats bred to prefer alcohol do not replicate the human condition of AUD. However, despite this, the research, according to the publication, was funded by the taxpayer through NHMRC grant No. 1120576 ($972,844) and grant No. 1116930 ($763,845).
This research is not only unreliable in attempting to translate to the human condition but also cruel. Rats are affectionate, clean, social, curious, and smart animals – not tools for use in the research laboratory.
Please see our page ‘What you can do’ to make a difference.
NHMRC grant 1116930 $763,845 and NHMRC grant 1120576 $972,844