We recently discovered a shocking experiment on pigs that happened right here in Aotearoa!1 Young pigs had 20 wounds cut into their backs for research aimed at using the pigs' bodies to try and predict what might happen in humans.
Five female pigs were intubated under anaesthesia. Animals were positioned on their stomachs and the hair on their backs was removed. In total 20 wounds (5 rows of 4 wounds) were made in the skin of each animal, separated from one another by 30 mm. Then wounds were deepened with a biopsy punch and tissue was separated from the underlying muscle using a scalpel blade.
At days 3, 7, 14 and 28 after the surgery, five wounds of each treatment (sheep tissue, pig tissue and no treatment) were biopsied. This meant that the wounds and the surrounding areas were cut out of the body of the pigs.
At day 42 post-surgery, their suffering came to a peak and the five, young sows lost their lives with a single captive bolt shot to the head, their throats cut, and their limp, lifeless bodies hung up so that the blood could drain out.
The pigs were given anaesthetics, but this doesn't justify this experiment. Imagine the pain you'd be suffering from after so many intrusive procedures.
The objective of the experiment was to try and find out if ovine forestomach matrix (OFM), tissue from a sheep’s stomach, or small intestine submucosa (SIS), tissue from the small intestines from a pig, could help with wound healing in humans.
The use of animals in this experiment was approved by the Kaiawhina Animal Ethics Committee and the Wellington School of Medicine Animal Ethics Committee.
Why this is wrong
Pigs dream like we do. They are extremely intelligent, curious and insightful animals, they are not disposable lab tools.
There is strong evidence proving that animals are not reliable models for the human response. Furthermore, there are many scientifically viable and human-relevant replacements available that do not involve harming animals.
Whether it's due to scientific or ethical reasons, animal experimentation is always unacceptable.