You can join with Humane Research Australia and stop the killing of baby lambs for research

Humane Research Australia has uncovered an experiment by South Australian researchers that involves shaking baby lambs to death in an attempt to prove whether shaking alone is sufficient to produce brain injury and mortality or whether additional head impact is required.

The experiment

In this experiment, nine anaesthetized lambs were grasped under the arm or leg “vigorously shaken with sufficient force to snap the head back and forth onto the chest.” They were shaken 10 times of 30 seconds duration over a 30 minute period. During the experiment, three of the lambs (of a lesser body weight) died unexpectedly. The remaining lambs (of a higher body weight) were killed after six hours and left overnight. The next day, brains, spinal cord and both eyes were collected for examination. The results of this study showed that shaking a lamb caused death in the case of lower body weight animals and that higher body weight animals survived six hours later until they were killed. The work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Problems with the research

Humane Research Australia asks a number of questions to the researchers about the viability of these experiments. These include:

Was this research actually necessary when common sense dictates that we should NOT shake babies?

Why would tax payers money be wasted on seeking information already known (previous studies were quoted in the paper)?

How can neurological dysfunction of a lamb be compared with a human baby, particularly if the surviving lambs were killed after six hours, disallowing for long-term observation and monitoring?

Humane Research Australia

Humane Research Australia feels that putting non-consenting, highly sentient, beings through the pain and suffering caused by scientific research cannot be justified considering that the information gleaned from this research is already known through previous studies, and that there may be alternatives considered for this experiment that would not cause harm to animals (for example, brain scans of suspected human victims).

‘I am a veterinarian and PhD student researching animal cruelty and domestic violence. I was horrified to read of the experiments involving lambs being shaken to death to investigate how child abuse affects human babies. It is disturbing that this was approved by two animal ethics committees, funded by the NHMRC and published in a scientific journal. There is a major need for funding to be applied to development of non-lethal, non-animal methods of research.’Dr Catherine Tiplady BVSc B App Sci (Hons 1), veterinarian

Supporting Humane Research Australia

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Humane Research Australia as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

How you can help

Support Humane Research Australia in their efforts to stop cruel testing on animals by writing 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 NHMRC
GPO Box 1421
Canberra, ACT 2601
Lodge a complaint form at

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