One oxymoron promulgated by the pro animal research lobby groups is that all animals in labs are well cared for, all the way from the chimpanzees down to the rats and mice.
They want us to believe that everything is wonderful and that they have the utmost in respect for even the tiniest furry creatures in their loving care. A wonderful fairy tale.
However, the facts, as listed below, do not bear this out - 1,146 rats and mice dead through something less than negligence. Negligence implies that there is some level of care, they knew better, this was just an accident. These deaths do not speak so much of negligence as they do contempt -- contempt for living beings. A level of carelessness that is so absolute, so bald-faced as to be at least disturbing if not downright sociopathic.
But then I am forgetting the realities here. This isn't science, there is no concern for care or welfare. This is only business, and rodents are cheap. Rats and mice are the truly disposable animals, used and thrown away, or sometimes, as shown below just throw them into a trash compactor while still alive.
Maybe the worst thing, possibly the thing that is most indicative of the absolute level of carelessness, is that in many instances the labs can't even be bothered to kill the rats and mice correctly. And so, just as through their entire lives, rats and mice are considered disposable, of no concern, their welfare to be ignored, the same attitude exists at the end of their lives. We can't even be bothered to kill them properly. And so, one of the more common findings reported is that living rats and mice are found amongst the corpses in the carcass freezers.
In the eyes of the law -- in this case the Animal Welfare Act -- rats, mice, birds, amphibians, fish, etc. are actually legally excluded from the definition of the word animal. So, they have no legal protection. When we hear of the horrors that plague the larger animals who are covered by the Animal Welfare Act, we sometimes wonder how it could possibly be worse? Trust me, it can. I can't ever remember any incidents of shipping crates containing living dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, or primates, ending up in trash compactors. It can be worse, and it is, every single day. To verify this we need only look at the causes of death, the litany of agony listed below. Starvation, dehydration, suffocation, drowning, being crushed to death.
These are not isolated instances. They are spread over several years in labs from Johns Hopkins University to UCLA to Yale. And believe me, this is only a small selection of the overall atrocities. These thousand or so deaths come from 20 labs, out of 50 examined (picked at random), and this data covers less than 2 years. In the U.S. there are something over 1000 registered research facilities. So, we could postulate that incidents like this take place at over 400 labs, potentially killing 23,000 animals in a period of 1.8 years, or approximately 13,000 per year. And don't forget, that if a lab only uses unregulated species, like rats and mice, then they aren't necessarily registered. The facility may not even be part of that 1000 or so labs. Some estimates put rat and mouse use somewhere in the vicinity of 24 million annually, but I believe that it may be as much as 100,000,000, and what I discuss here is only a miniscule fraction of the barbarity. But no more numbers. After all, we can only take so much.
Is it any wonder that what spews forth from these animal labs -- the same ones that seem to be unable to feed, water, keep alive, or even remember if animals are still in shipping crates -- is junk science at best?
Remember, the labs can't be bothered to hang a water bottle. They can't remember if the animals were fed. They don't notice animals drowning in enclosures. And, they can't be bothered to check to see if living animals are being put into trash compactors.
Do you want to trust these emporiums of incompetence to test drugs? Do you want to place your personal safety in the hands of the wonderfully professional staff that can't even tell if the water bottles are empty? Are you comfortable with the staff person who can't be bothered to tell if the living rats and mice have been taken out of the containers before they are placed in the trash compactor being depended on to record data from a scientific experiment?
The most monstrous part of all of this is that the justification for using these species of animals is that they are somewhat like humans. Rats and mice are vertebrate mammals. They have central nervous systems. They feel pain; they try to avoid injury; they act as if their lives matter to them.
Those labs that are so concerned about the humane care and use of animals? They are the same ones that put them into the trash compactor.December 2013 University of Pittsburgh
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