Iranian Veterinary Researchers Invent Instrument for Inflicting Burns on Lab Animals

Researchers at the University of Tabriz’s School of Veterinary Medicine have invented a heat-generating instrument that inflicts burns on the skins of laboratory animals to measure the temperature, pressure, type and severity of burns in a controlled environment, according to Hossein Jarolmasjed, an associate professor at the school’s applied science labs.

Mr. Jarolmasjed explained: “This is the first time an instrument for burning skin under a controlled environment has been invented in Iran.” Professor Jarolmasjed, who is also a member of the Scientific Research Ethics Committee, said the instrument comprises an electric heating element which controls the temperature of the burn on an animal’s skin. He added that the Burn Research Center of Iran’s University of Medical Sciences had shown great interest in the instrument. A statement by the University of Tabriz hailed the invention as “an unprecedented scientific achievement in Iran.”

Tabriz University’s animal research program contrasts with a concerted move in the West to limit or even ban all laboratory animal testing.

Most scientists and governments in the world believe that lab experiments should cause as little suffering to animals as possible, and tests should only be performed where necessary. They promote the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) as an ethical guideline for seeking an alternative to animal testing.

Although the European Commission refused to place a comprehensive ban on laboratory experiments on animals in 2015, it made animal cosmetic testing illegal. The Commission argued in favor of allowing testing for medical purposes, including drug treatments and chemical toxicity tests which in most cases use mice or rats.

India, the EU, Israel, and Norway have banned cosmetics testing on animals involving general toxicity, eye, and skin irritation. The U.S. and Brazil are considering similar legislation. However, the European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients, which represents 70 companies in Switzerland, Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy, has opposed the ban.

The Majlis (Iranian Parliament) is yet to pass the Animal Welfare Legislation proposed by the government in 2017.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]