Skip to content

Invasive surgery conducted on conscious greyhounds

May 23, 2013
Humane Research Australia (HRA)

Humane Research Australia (HRA)


From correspondence I received relative to this issue.  I still believe it is imperative to express that NO animals should be used:

“I appreciate you checking with us before making up your mind. The research mentioned in the Humane Research association’s website was conducted prior to 2004, the University of Newcastle has not used dogs in research for more than 10 years.”


In a recent study(1) conducted by researchers at the University of Newcastle, greyhounds underwent invasive and distressing surgery without general anaesthetic or any form of sedative.

This experiment was conducted in an attempt to further explore the body’s stabilising mechanisms for maintaining blood pressure in relation to bronchial circulation in the lungs (baroreflex).

The first part of the procedure involved the twelve greyhounds having pulsed Doppler blood flow transducers (a medical device for measuring blood flow) surgically implanted on the right bronchial artery.

In order to achieve this, the dogs were placed under general anaesthesia and a surgical incision was made into the chest wall. The exposure of major organs (heart and lung) and veins illustrates the invasive nature of even this initial part of the study. The transducer wires were passed from the chest cavity through the back of the dogs’ bodies.

A second skin incision was then made along the groove between the shoulder and neck, in order to pass catheters into the aorta, so as to measure aortic and central venous pressures. A second catheter was positioned in the right upper chamber of the heart.

The dogs then underwent a 10 day period of recovery and laboratory training. While the authors stated that antibiotics were given during the recovery period, there was no mention of additional pain relief being given at any point after the initial end of operation period. .

After the 10 day post-op period, the dogs underwent another procedure. This time the experiment involved the deliberate decision to abstain from administering any form of general anaesthetic or sedative. This means that the dogs were fully awake and aware of the surgery being conducted on them.

First, “the dogs were placed on their sides and catheters and probes connected to the recording system”. The dogs were (supposedly) “trained to lie unsedated on their side on a padded table with the dog’s attendant at the head”. Under only local anaesthetic, the right femoral artery (thigh) was exposed, and a balloon catheter, with attached balloons, passed into the lower part of the heart. The balloons were then inflated and deflated repeatedly in a sustained manner to s(t)imulate appropriate states of blood pressure / blood flow. The authors stated that “the dogs appeared unaware of the balloon inflation/deflation process during experiments”, despite the lack of sedation or general anaesthesia.

Furthermore, in six of the dogs, the same process was conducted after they were given particular chemicals in order to induce dilation of blood vessels, and therefore slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.

In one dog, a catheter was passed through the jugular vein in the neck into the heart, and again the induced change in blood pressure was measured after being raised and lowered through the process of inflation and deflation of the aortic balloon catheter. This invasive part of the study was again conducted using only under local anaesthesia.
The authors stated that the absence of anaesthesia was justified as “it was inappropriate to use anaesthetics and sedatives which selectively block or enhance autonomic activity”.

The authors do not state whether the dogs were euthanised after completion of the study. In the interests of cost efficiency they might be used again, but as Australia does not have retirement facilities for these animals the only other option is to kill them.

The experiment was supported by a Project Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC).

A number of very similar experiments had been conducted in the past, making the replication of the procedure in this study highly questionable. A previous study, undertaken by the same researchers, had its results invalidated by the fact that the dogs became stressed due to unfamiliar staff and inadequate assessment of animal welfare concerns(3).

The experimental process and care of the dogs was approved by the Animal Care and Ethics Committee of the University of Newcastle.

Read more HERE, including references.


Please write to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), asking them to stop funding animal experiments with your taxpayer dollars, and to instead fund research that is relevant to human health:

Prof. Warwick Anderson
Chief Executive Officer
GPO Box 1421
Canberra, ACT 2601

Lodge a complaint form at

And please write to the following to express your disappointment at such useless research:

Kim Hughes
Animal Ethics Officer
The University of Newcastle


To Whom It Concerns,

In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Newcastle, greyhounds underwent invasive and distressing surgery without general anaesthetic or any form of sedative (HRA). Allow me this opportunity to express my extreme opposition.

Of all the inherently cruel conditions humans inflict on animals, nothing is more destructive and immoral than vivisection, unparalleled in both its cruel intent and apathetic nature. To subject animals to unnatural medical conditions and practices for the purpose of theorizing potential human treatments is not only scientifically illegitimate but it is also fundamentally inhumane. As a means of fostering social validation, vivisectors consistently promote the idea that animals are responsible for producing lifesaving equipment and treatments and that those who are against vivisection are opposed to medical advancements. That illogic would be laughable if millions of animals were not tortured to support such. Indeed, to grant animals the power to cure and prevent disease while experimenting on those same animals is a contradiction in both practice and thought.

From a pragmatic standpoint, if we could adequately determine the effects of drugs and conditions using animals in general, then human trials would be completely unnecessary. Therefore, if we acknowledge that data from animal testing cannot be extrapolated to humans, as demonstrated by the need for human testing trials prior to a general administration of research, then why are animals used at all? If animals cannot be used to predict a human outcome in general, then how can they be used to predict safety? It’s a ridiculous premise, nothing but pathetic attempts to rationalize a morally deficient industry where you capitalize on the fear of people and exploitation of animals.

Allow me but another moment to correct your disclaimers that animals are treated well, absent suffering and pain. Tens of thousands of animals are deliberately denied pain relief while in obvious states of agony, including the greyhounds maliciously denied pain relief during open surgery; the theory of this practice being that introducing pain relief would compromise testing results. Despite claims that the dogs were attended to similar to humans, it is impossible to predict how an animal will respond to treatments based on human experience other than to admit that pain is apparent.  As such, how can you honestly submit that introducing diseases to animals, subjecting them to pain, suffering, and agony, denying them companionship and comfort, and imprisoning them for life as done from a position of caring? Your claims are nothing but disingenuous rhetoric meant to deceive unknowing people: if you honestly cared about the well-being of animals, you would adamantly oppose vivisection.

Animal experimentation is unnecessary, unjustified, and unprincipled, its only function to financially benefit those who exploit animals. Animals have rights to live free from pain and suffering regardless of your objections to acknowledge such, and as long as you profit on the torture of animals, complicit in their abuse and death, I will continue campaigning on their behalf. As such, please discontinue funding ALL animal experiments with my taxpayer dollars, and to instead fund research that is relevant to human health and absent vivisection.

Thank you for taking the time to read this urgent appeal.

university of newcastle,
a chamber of horrors,
it seems.
the world is watching
and hears the suffering
greyhound’s screams!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2013 8:33 am

    Reblogged this on Glenn62’s Blog.


  2. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    May 23, 2013 9:26 am

    university of newcastle,
    a chamber of horrors,
    it seems.
    the world is watching
    and hears the suffering
    greyhound’s screams!


  3. May 23, 2013 5:23 pm

    Thanks so much for posing Stacey emails sent and shared in several places i abhor vivisection period i dont care what its for or what animal they are using be it a dog a primate or a mouse i do NOT agree with it period especially not in a day and age where we have far better technology like human simulators and especially NOT when 9 out of every 10 medications that are approved threew animal testing go on to FAIL in humans we just have different bodies and they work far different its just silly to continue to use animals~~ and wasteful!


    • May 25, 2013 11:46 am

      I once did a lengthy research project on vivisection; it really is alarming how useless animal testing is and how brutal it is to the innocent animals. Even if it was useful, there still would be NO justification. I’ve never understood how if animals are like humans enough to be tested on, then they are alike enough NOT to be tested on. Thanks for the alert and for participating, Florence.


  4. Zephr permalink
    May 25, 2013 11:41 am

    Reblogged this on Loki’s Gift.


  5. May 28, 2013 2:53 am

    Received a reply from Sharon Buckland, Interim Media & PR Manager at the university:

    Dear Mr Motson

    Thank your for your enquiry.

    I appreciate you checking with us before making up your mind. The
    research mentioned in the Humane Research Association’s website was
    conducted prior to 2004, the University of Newcastle has not used dogs
    in research for more than 10 years.

    The University of Newcastle is firmly committed to the ethical
    treatment of animals in research. We share community concerns about the
    ethical use of animals in necessary medical research and we adhere to
    Australian standards, which include some of the most stringent animal
    research legislation and procedures in the world.

    The research was carried out by leading physicians and anaesthetic
    clinicians who work daily with people with serious health conditions.
    The research is relevant to improving our understanding of the control
    of blood flow experienced by people with respiratory obstructions or
    affected by disease.

    The experiments were designed to minimise discomfort to the animals.
    The balloon catheter procedure used on the animals under local
    anaesthetic mirrors the procedure used in humans, for whom it is also
    done under local anaesthetic.

    I hope this answers your concerns. Thank you for contacting the
    University of Newcastle.

    Kind regards

    Sharon Buckland
    Interim Media & PR Manager


    • May 28, 2013 6:56 am

      Thanks. Same response I received, thus my first update. I tried to tailor my letter to address that no animals should be killed, regardless of anything, and regardless of time frames. Thank you, Stephen, I appreciate your participation and update.


  6. June 1, 2013 12:50 pm

    I can feel MY blood pressure rising just reading this! bastards!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: