SAN ANGELO, Texas — The Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a complaint against the Texas Tech University System on Nov. 3, 2022, regarding three animal studies that took place at Angelo State University.

In the first study that the Physician Committee highlights, researchers used mice to determine the effect of multiple foster placements on children who have been within the foster care system. For the study, baby mice were removed from their biological mom 24 hours after being born. These baby mice were then moved in with a new “foster” mother 11 days later.

The committee says that among the 81 mice used in this study, 15 died from cannibalism and seven died from neglect or infanticide. The remaining mice were studied for anxiety-like behaviors, then were killed. The committee says that researchers weighed the brains of these mice. Researchers found that mice that lived in one foster home had the same resiliency as those that lived in multiple homes, based on the weight of their brains.

“If this study model is deemed scientifically valid, it is only fitting that we follow the results to the conclusion that children who are repeatedly moved to new foster homes are far more likely to be eaten by their foster mothers,” the complaint suggests.

In a second study, researchers tried to determine the combined impact of a high-fat diet, stress and noncognitive behaviors in human adolescents. According to the committee, mice were subjected to wet bedding, social isolation, predator’s urine, water deprivation, a water-covered cage floor and no bedding, bright light and open field exposure, a tilted cage, altered light cycle and were forced to swim. In the release from the Physician Committee, the author determined “the modification of lifestyle factors, including diet and stress during adolescence, serves as a potential strategy to improve cognition in young adulthood.”

In the last study that was brought to light by the committee, researchers used a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease to test the anxiety-reducing effects on the brain when consuming lion’s mane mushrooms. The Physicians Committee says that 75 mice were fed this mushroom, but lacked scientific value because of the extensive study of the mushroom’s cognitive effects on human subjects. The release shares that the researchers concluded that the mouse model was a limitation of the study.

Although mice are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act, the Physicians Committee shares that these three studies failed to meet any standards and represent the lowest ethical bar for research.

“If Angelo State’s studies cannot meet even this meager standard,” said the Physicians Committee’s Science Policy Program Manager Janine McCarthy, “the experiments should not have been approved.”

Angelo State University shared that they have followed the appropriate research protocols.