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Pigs die in avalanche research
Saturday January 16, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

Scientists in Austria sedated and then buried pigs in the snow for an experiment to understand the effects of being buried in an avalanche. They have called off their work after protests from animal rights groups and widespread media coverage.

The work was carried out in the region of the Tyrol in the Austrian Alps.

The scientists were trying to understand the effects of oxygen deprivation on the human brain and why some people were able to survive under the snow in air pockets with little impact on the brain. They also wanted to study the timescale of death.

It was hope this would lead to less people dieing in avalanches.

For the past 2 weeks the researchers have been sedating and giving anaesthetic to the pigs before burying them under the snow and observing the effects.  Around 30 animals were being used in the trials.

Animal rights groups launched loud protests accusing the scientists of cruelty and causing unnecessary suffering to the animals.

The scientists said what they were doing was entirely legal and that animal experiments are carried out every day in laboratories but this just caught people's attention because it was outside.

They said the animals experienced no unnecessary suffering as they were sedated.

However, they have now called off the experiments following the protests.

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