Half a dozen labradors lost several teeth and then their lives as part of a controversial lab experiment in Sweden—and animal rights activists are howling, the Local reports. "These dogs could have been able to live their lives," says Malin Gustafsson of the Animal Rights Alliance. "It is impossible to understand and completely unforgivable in all ways." Gothenburg University's Sahlgrenska Academy ran the study, in which labradors Lotus, Luna, Milia, Mimosa, Venus, and Zuri had a third of their teeth taken out and were then given implants. Veterinarians at the school say they had to put the dogs down to take biopsies and samples and perform tests.
The goal was to study how implants fuse with tissue, since humans and dogs have similar oral bacteria and saliva, per the Times of London. "We do understand how animal testing can arouse strong emotions, but we also would like to stress the fact that periodontitis is still a major public health issue, and the research conducted here is crucial to many people," the university says in a statement. Celebrity activists for animal rights like Ricky Gervais and actor Peter Egan helped spearhead a campaign against the study, resulting in a petition with over 80,000 signatures. "I would rather have no teeth in the future than for you to torture labradors," says a campaigner on social media, per the Local. The trial is ongoing. (Read more animal rights stories.)