Rabbit Jaws Drilled into at Otago Uni

It's the 8th day of our 12 Days of Christmas University of Otago exposé and today, the experiment we're exposing was on rabbits.
December 7, 2021


It's the 8th day of our 12 Days of Christmas University of Otago exposé! 

Today, the experiment we're exposing was on rabbits: 8-10 week-old rabbits had their jaws drilled into and implanted with up to 6 metal spheres on each side of their jaw. Bone growth was then observed via several X-rays over 8 weeks before they were killed. All to try and test imaging equipment...


  • Six young rabbits were kept in individual pens.
  • For surgery, they were anaesthetised with three different medications, before holes were drilled into their lower jaw bones.
  • Titanium spheres were placed in the holes, six on the left and six on the right jawbone (for two rabbits, there wasn’t enough time for both sides before they had problems with the anaesthetics).
  • Afterwards, the animals were woken up with another medication.
  • One week later, the rabbits were anaesthetised again and x-rayed.
  • The scans were repeated 8 weeks later and then the rabbits were killed with an injection. Their jawbones were removed to be examined.
This image was taken directly from the publication we are exposing today, to show where the implants were made.

This experiment was done to try and examine the accuracy of the imagery equipment. However, the researchers themselves acknowledge the limited translatability of their results for human situations.

The publication states that “the results of animal research have limited applicability to human situations.” 

The research goes on to detail ways that the research could be made more relevant to humans. The methods suggested are focused on humans and technological improvements rather than using animal research!

Learn more

With your help we can end animal experimentation in Aotearoa.