Day old chicks used in memory experiments
Humane Research Australia has condemned a recent experiment using day-old chicks as yet another tragic example of the unethical, cruel and pointless research carried out at Australian universities.
The experiment conducted by researchers at LaTrobe University and published in 2012 used 1,160 one-day-old chicks to study the effects of Memantine – a medication for Alzheimer’s Disease – on their memories.
Chicks will innately peck at beads as food, researchers coat a certain different coloured bead in a bitter tasting substance, and after showing disgust when it pecks this bead, the chick will avoid pecking further beads of the same colour. This is called a one-trial passive-avoidance learning task.
In this experiment, the chicks were then injected with differing doses of Memantine to see what effect it would have on their ability at the one-trial passive-avoidance learning task mentioned above.
Humane Research Australia
Humane Research Australia condemns these tests as “Human clinical trials have already shown Memantine to improve cognition in Alzheimers Disease (AD) as well as vascular dementia, and it has already been approved for the treatment of AD in Europe and the United States. In some studies, various doses of memantine have been shown to have either no effect or to impair memory of rats and chicks. Other studies have shown it to improve memory functioning. Considering these factors, Humane Research Australia is asking if the researchers believe that data obtained from the brains of day old chicks can be extrapolated to the more advanced human brain? Why could this testing not have been observed in human patients using non-invasive imaging techniques?
Supporting Humane Research Australia
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How you can help
You can help HRA make their case by writing in support of HRA’s views, and asking that they no longer fund unscientific animal-based experiments:
Australian Research Council
GPO Box 2702