Guinea pigs in medical research
The video shows typical guinea-pig housing. Guinea pigs are social animals and therefore should never be housed alone unless there are exceptional circumstances. The opaque sides to the housing means that they cannot see out, they are therefore less likely to become startled by events going on around them. Because guinea pigs are of a timid nature there should always be a refuge in their enclosure for resting, hiding, sleeping and giving birth, such as the wooden box in this example, and also plenty of nesting material such as straw in which to hide and burrow. This video has no sound.
Guinea pigs fall into the category of small mammals, along with rabbits and ferrets. This group makes up 0.7% of the total number of animals used in research. Guinea pigs have been used as experimental animals for centuries; their use is where the term 'guinea pig' for a human experimental subject originated. The use of guinea pigs has fallen by over three-quarters since 1988, mostly due to a reduction in their use in safety testing. The guinea pig is also widely used to provide tissues and organs for research. Such tissue preparations were important in the discovery and early development of beta blockers to treat high blood pressure.