Animal Welfare News

This page posts news on animal care and animal welfare issues worldwide. It serves as an educational medium for both laboratory animal users and animal care takers to enhance understanding on animal welfare.


Depression researchers rethink popular mouse swim tests

Nearly every scientist who has used mice or rats to study depression is familiar with the forced-swim test. The animal is dropped into a tank of water while researchers watch to see how long it tries to stay afloat. In theory, a depressed rodent will give up more quickly than a happy one — an assumption that has guided decades of research on antidepressants and genetic modifications intended to induce depression in lab mice.

But mental-health researchers have become increasingly sceptical in recent years about whether the forced-swim test is a good model for depression in people. It is not clear whether mice stop swimming because they are despondent or because they have learnt that a lab technician will scoop them out of the tank when they stop moving. Factors such as water temperature also seem to affect the results.

…Due in part to concerns about the forced-swim test’s accuracy, major drug companies such as Roche, Janssen and AbbVie have abandoned the procedure in recent years….

…one approach could include developing animal tests that accurately measure specific symptoms of depression, such as lack of interest in a favourite food….Read more…(By Sara Reardon , in Nature, Jul 18, 2019)

Neveda, USA (the second state after California) Bans Animal Testing for Cosmetics


Governor Steve Sisolak signed SB 197, The Nevada Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act, into law today. The bill prohibits cosmetics manufacturers from selling any products tested on animals after January 1, 2020, when the law goes into effect. It’s the second state to ban the sale of animal-tested cosmetics after California. Read more…(By Kat Smith , in LIVEKINDLY , New York City, Jun 3, 2019)

Australia Bans Cosmetic Testing on Animals

Penny Stephens/AAP Image

The legislation, which will come into play on July 1, 2020, follows a commitment the Coalition government made during the 2016 election campaign to introduce a ban on cosmetic testing on animals, backed by strong public support. The RSPCA asserts 85% of Australians oppose testing cosmetics on animals. Read more…(By Jane Kotzmann , in The Conversation, March 21, 2019)

Your Dog Feels as Guilty as She Looks


Like organs, the emotions evolved over millions of years to serve essential functions. Their usefulness has been tested again and again, giving them the wisdom of ages. They nudge us to do what is best for us. Some emotions may be more developed in humans, or apply to a wider range of circumstances, but none is fundamentally new. Read more…(By Frans de Waal, in The New York Times, March 8, 2019)

How many people does it take to free a fat rat stuck in a manhole cover? This town found out.

 At least eight firefighters peered down at the manhole. Two of them gripped its weighty metal cover, which had been pried open with heavy-duty tools. A man wearing a black tactical vest and thick gloves knelt on the ground, focused intently on the situation before him. Read more… (By Allyson Chiu, in the Washington Post, February 27).

Unilever is calling for a global ban on all animal testing in cosmetics

Unilever is calling for a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics as part of a collaboration with animal protection group Humane Society International (HSI). Read more… (By , The Independent, Oct. 13, 2018)

pet mouse (photograph: by By Kirill Kurashov)


Do Dogs Ever Simply Want to Die to End the Pain?

In early November I spoke with no-kill advocate Nathan Winograd about the possibility that nonhuman animals (animals) can experience irremediable psychological suffering. And, I just discovered an essay he recently published on this topic called “Irremediable Psychological Suffering? There’s No Such Thing.” Here, I simply want to write a brief response because while I laud his and many others’ efforts in the no-kill movement, there is another way to look at the question, “Can animals ever suffer such deep psychological trauma that they want to die?” Read more… (By Marc Bekoff, in Psychology Today, 17Dec2015)

Are We Loving Shelter Dogs to Death?

(Source: New York Times)

Since the late 1990s, reducing animal shelter populations through adoption has been a prime piece in the “no kill” strategy. Shelter hours have been extended to accommodate working people in the hopes they’ll visit and find a pet…

All of this is a good thing. The problem is that while regions like New England and the Pacific Northwest report shortages of shelter animals, nationwide it’s a different story. Because of the continued high intake volume in many states, the United States still euthanizes up to two million dogs and cats a year…

Adoption promotion and events like low-price giveaways address none of these issues and can create problems of their own by enabling abusers and, far more commonly, impulse buyers. Adoption becomes a feel-good “numbers” game, in which we carefully and proudly track only how many animals have left the shelter. No one notes how many of them end up back in the system. Read more…(By Carol Mithers, in New York Times, 18Aug2018)


What Does It Mean to Be Human?

 (Source: New York Times)

The question, “What is it to be human?” is not just narcissistic, it involves a culpable obtuseness. It is rather like asking, “What is it to be white?” It connotes unearned privileges that have been used to dominate and exploit. But we usually don’t recognize this because our narcissism is so complete…

Domesticated animals occupy a privileged sphere, but even they are often treated cruelly (think of puppy mills, or abandoned feral cats). The factory farming of pigs, chickens and other animals is a relatively new form of hideous brutality. As for the creatures in the “wild,” we can see that our human crimes are having a devastating effect on them: the damages that come from lab research using animals; the manifold harms endemic to the confinement of apes and elephants in zoos; the depletion of whale stocks by harpooning; the confinement of orcas and dolphins in marine theme parks; the poaching of elephants and rhinoceroses to benefit the international black market; the illicit trafficking of African elephants to American zoos; the devastation of habitat for many large mammals that is resulting from climate change. It is now estimated that human activity has contributed to the extinction of more than 80 mammalian species. Read more… (By Martha C. Nussbaum, in The New York Time, 20AUg2018)


Baboon Worked Together to Escape from Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio, USA

Four baboons overcame the wall of the outdoor enclosure with a 55-gallon barrel on 14Aril. One of them ran down the road. A footage in YouTube shows facility staff chasing him on a road. All of them were caught eventually. The barrels serve as enrichment items for foraging behavior expression. See more about the center, the enclosure and the barrel here. Read more about the news here.

This short adventure of the laboratory animals highlights their desire for freedom, their intelligence and the potential hazards for animal carer. (By Siva Tsang, 19Apr2018)