Animal rights group calls Nobel medicine award 'sad'

A Norwegian animal rights group said Monday it was sad that the Nobel Medicine Prize went to research involving "very invasive" experiments with rats' brains.

"We think it's sad that the Nobel goes to research like this, because history shows many examples of research that has been useful, no doubt, but still is considered unethical by history," Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance's legal advisor Live Kleveland told AFP.

"We believe that would be the case for this research as well, unfortunately."

The Nobel Committee said earlier Monday that the 2014 Nobel Medicine Prize went to a Norwegian couple, May-Britt and Edvard Moser, and their British-American mentor John O'Keefe, for discovering an "inner GPS" that helps the brain navigate.

According to Kleveland, the awarded experiments consisted of—among other things—implants of instruments in the heads of animals, psychological fear and stress such as experiments involving drowning, and destroying parts of the brains of the animals.

The animal rights group said it had followed this research for years and had unsuccessfully tried to stop it legally.

"We have not succeeded in stopping this one, but we believe that in the future experimentation like this on animals will not be accepted," Kleveland said.

In October 2011, May-Britt Moser told Norwegian journal Technical Weekly Magazine that she felt great respect for the animals and had herself been a member of an group in her youth.

"I work very intensely to make sure that the ' situation is as good as possible, and I'm always thinking about things we can do for them," she said.

"Among other things, our cages are bigger than required and they get to live together and have lots of toys."

She explained that this was also part of the research, as treating them well guaranteed getting better data from the experiments.

© 2014 AFP

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