FRAME has responded to recent press stories of mouse head transplants being carried out in China. The Wall Street Journal has reported that surgeon Professor Xiaoping Ren has carried out procedures on more than 1,000 mice, and plans to extend his work to non-human primates – even though none of the mice has survived for more than a few hours.
FRAME Director Dr Gerry Kenna said: “We in FRAME are proud of our role in helping draft the regulations that currently control all biomedical procedures undertaken on animals in the UK, especially since they form the basis of the 2010 European Directive. These specify that any proposed procedures on animals must have clear and justifiable value and must be undertaken in full accord with the 3Rs principles of replacement, refinement and reduction. Unfortunately not all of the global scientific community keep to these high standards.
“The horrendous recent reports of head transplantation undertaken on mice in China are a very regrettable case in point – as is the suggestion that the procedure might now be extended to primates. We don’t feel it is appropriate to dignify such ethically indefensible bad science with a reasoned critique. We are appalled that it has been allowed to occur and is being discussed in public.”