Bino the albino alligator lives at the Sao Paulo Aquarium, where he’s been since 2007. Veterinarians said Wednesday that he was born eight years ago with his ailments, and nothing seemed to alleviate them.
So, in early 2011 veterinarians decided to see if acupuncture might help Bino, as it has other animals living at the aquarium.
“The acupuncture will … alleviate his pain and keep all his vital functions going,” said Rafael Gutierrez, a biologist at the aquarium of Sao Paulo, adding that the 30-minute weekly treatments would continue indefinitely, as long as they kept showing solid results.
Why should we be both doubtful and appalled by this piece? Let us count the ways.
Acupuncture does not work in the way it is described. There are no such things as “meridians” that control the flow of “qi”. There is no “qi”. There is no evidence that sticking needles into anyone for any reason produces a positive health effect. The small effect may be a placebo response (which includes everything not related to the test including calculation errors and experimenter bias).
Acupuncture is a pre-scientific notion (busted by science), has no plausible mechanism to work and trials have shown that it doesn’t. [Source]
How can you measure animals response? Are they using precise measurements? It sounds like they are just observing. Bias. Subjective. No good.
They need to explain exactly how sticking needles into an animal will help with his musculo-skeletal problems. They have not done that. At all.
Finally, this is stressful for the animal to be caught and subjected to this. The risk to his health is greater than the possible positive effect (none has been demonstrated). So I would go so far as to say the intentions are good but this is unethical treatment of animals.