The university has pathetically defended its blatant abuse of cats in this experiment -- which nets nearly $300,000 in federal grant money every year -- by saying that it hasn't broken any laws. If this hideous experiment is legal, then that just means that our laws governing what happens to animals in laboratories are too weak -- not that cutting into cats' skulls and screwing things to their heads is appropriate or ethical. This would clearly be illegal if it happened anywhere else.
Being mean to animals in laboratories isn't just stupid -- it's wrong, especially when there are better options that are actually relevant to humans, as there are in this case. But don't take my word for it. UW medical school alumni and other scientists say that the school's cat abuse is not improving human health and that the time has come to end these anachronistic experiments in favor of modern brain imaging and other ethical research with human volunteers.
It strikes me that it's not the cats who need their heads examined -- it's the people who choose to go to work and purposely mutilate, deafen, starve and decapitate cats and those who fund and defend them.