schrodingerr

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So I am participating in some animal research at school. It's a neuroscience lab and we are testing rats on a maze and how they learn to reach the food yadda yadda. The only problem is at the end of the experiment (~12weeks) we kill the rats and remove the brain, study it etc.

As a prevet student I am not sure how I feel about this...I know this is how its always been done but I cant help but feeling a bit conflicted....any thoughts? thanks all!
 

BomberCanoe

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I recently interviewed for a research position, also for a mouse lab, studying genetics instead. The interviewer assumed that, as a "pre-vet"/"vet" student (did we ever resolve that whole debate?), I would have a problem with the euthanasia of the animals, in order to do more extensive testing.
I guess I'm not like the typical vet student. I believe that animals/pets are great, they deserve the best care, and it really grinds my nerves when someone doesn't take care of their pet well (no heartworm prevention, or flea/tick, etc). But I also understand the necessity of animals for science. As long as it's not science for science's sake. If a lab is going to use a mammal or primate (assuming it's in no way endangered), and treat the creature ethically, I'm fine with that. If the animal is euthanized, as long as it is humanely, and the creature's life was for some good goal (ie: understanding the brain to help people with conditions or defects) then I'm also fine about that.

I don't think we should go out, breed a bunch of mice, and then kill them for sport. That's just wrong to me. But I liken it to anyone that has even owned a snake that eats mice. Mice are bred for the purpose of the snake eating it. In this case, the mice are being used in order to further our knowledge, and help people. As long as its not wasted, essentially.
 

Electrophile

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Like BomberCanoe said, it's like any animal bred for a human purpose. I had to kill many, MANY mice in undergrad/grad for experiments for organ collections, but I always made sure they were treated as humanely and kindly as possible. I taught the undergrads how to pick them up by the base of the tail and scoop them up so they sat on your hand instead of dangling. Once I also had a water bottle leak and flood a cage. I spent nearly half an hour towel drying the mice with paper towels (they looked like cute little white fuzz balls afterwards :D) so they wouldn't get chilled. So respect them for the service they are providing and treat them as kindly as possible so you honor their sacrifice.
 

MonkeyLove

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Like BomberCanoe said, it's like any animal bred for a human purpose. I had to kill many, MANY mice in undergrad/grad for experiments for organ collections, but I always made sure they were treated as humanely and kindly as possible. I taught the undergrads how to pick them up by the base of the tail and scoop them up so they sat on your hand instead of dangling. Once I also had a water bottle leak and flood a cage. I spent nearly half an hour towel drying the mice with paper towels (they looked like cute little white fuzz balls afterwards :D) so they wouldn't get chilled. So respect them for the service they are providing and treat them as kindly as possible so you honor their sacrifice.
I couldn't have said it better myself...
I think that for as long as you have a heart, euthanizing animals is never easy. The best you can do is treat them with as much respect as possible for their sacrifice and remember that they are being euthanized for a greater purpose, not being mindlessly killed. I hope that helps a bit :oops:
 

GellaBella

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I guess I'm not like the typical vet student.

Hmm maybe I'm wrong in my assumption, but I think/thought most biology/life science majors understand the importance of using animals in research. I think its more of a public misperception that we are becoming vets because we "loooooove animals" and so we would never be comfortable with using them in research.

Personally I have no problems with the use of animal models in research. Even at an undergraduate level. All of your protocols are approved by IACUC before they can even acquire the animals for use. Do terrible things sometimes happen? (improper anesthesia/euthanasia/etc) yes. and no one condones that. But properly followed protocols are approved for good reason. Everything from the type of animal being used, to the way it will be used, to how it will be handles after the experiment is done must be justified and is scrutinized by a panel including a veterinarian. and unfortunately a lot of the time these animals HAVE to be euthanized if they have been used in an experiment in any way...(not always the case, I have a bunny I adopted from a commercial research lab but this lab no longer allows adoptions post-experimentation)

I think it is important to expose students who may go on to become doctors or researchers to the types of systems used in laboratories to study issues that are applicable to humans and animals alike. Its easy to not think about the animals that are used in research but we have a lot to thank these creatures for, from understanding of anatomy, progression of diseases, to development of drugs, vaccines, and treatments.
 

luplodw

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In my animal physiology lab they make us do experiments on frogs, rats, and RABBITS :( Then we have to put them down when we are finished. It's sad....the animal phys class and mammalian phys class both do it and there's no telling how many animals get killed by the students. The worst part is, we are doing surgery on these animals so they are breathing and to think we are doing this to living animals and then killing them after is sad. I'm sure i'll have to do the same thing in vet school so it's sort of nice to be able to prepare for that, but that doesn't mean I like it
 

August West

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Is there really anything left to learn from mouse in maze with food experiments?

I am all for animal research when it's purpose is noble and potentially innovative, but can you tell me exactly what your lab is expected to learn from what seems to be senseless killing?
 

StartingoverVet

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If a lab is going to use a mammal or primate (assuming it's in no way endangered), and treat the creature ethically, I'm fine with that. QUOTE]

I am going to post one slight dissenting opinion here. In general, I agree that using animals in research humanely is acceptable but I do not agree with a blanket acceptance. When you get to higher primates especially (and a few other rare exceptions) and are dealing with animals that have self-awareness, then I believe we have crossed a line. I wouldn't exclude them completely from experimentation/euthanasia but I believe they demand a higher level of consideration and demand a much higher expected benefit from the result of the experimentation to be considered to be used in any study.

Back when I was an undergrad (details are a little fuzzy from way back then)I remember the controversy I believe at the Wistar Institute at Penn that was using bamboons in head injury research and basically just bashing their skulls in to see what happens. What happens? The answer was not much scientifically useful but a whole lot of backlash from the general public. They argued they followed NIH guidelines.

That doesn't seem acceptable to me. So I am not comfortable giving a blanket endorsement to all experimentation.

ps - the study was, not surprisingly, shutdown.
 

BlacKAT33

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I agree with everyone here. A brain dissection seems like a pretty simple case to me. They are fully out by the time you dissect right? In our lab we dissect everything at the end of the experiment, you never know what you can find. I'd rather make use of what the mouse can provide us than simply kill them for nothing.

I think the problems usually occur during survival surgery or if the person in charge does not fully put the mouse out like they are supposed to. Some post-docs even forget to do cervical dislocation before they start...and dont give them enough ketamine/xylazine :mad::mad: this is cause for alarm

anyway...dont want to start a whole new long discussion lol
 

BlacKAT33

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can you tell me exactly what your lab is expected to learn from what seems to be senseless killing?

All lab animals must be euthanized at the end of the study. what do you learn by just killing them and doing nothing? when you can dissect them after wards and may find something. Where I work it is pretty standard procedure to dissect all mice at the end of the experiment because sometimes you do find something unexpected and it is better to make use of the animal while you still can because they will be going to the freezer anyway.

sry to sound so blunt, its just that im at work and i shouldnt be on the forum now lol. but i am planning on doin lab animal medicine and i feel really strongly about certain things. i am all for the welfare of the animal and i plan to stand strongly for this later in life.
 
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That doesn't seem acceptable to me. So I am not comfortable giving a blanket endorsement to all experimentation.
I don't think people should ever give blanket endorsement to anything. It's important to always be thinking and evaluating. The idea is to always make sure that we are acting ethically.

That said, the situation the OP described is, in my opinion, ethical. Animal models are necessary for research and education, and as long as they are handled humanely and according to proper protocol, their use is justifiable.

Of course, that doesn't mean that it's pleasant. I was basically in charge of euthanasia in the lab I worked in, because nobody else had the stomach to do it. It's not a pleasant feeling, killing a healthy animal. That said, the work is being done for a reason, and the animals are to be treated with reverence and respect for the lives they give.
 

BlacKAT33

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Careful with this statement. I think I know what you mean, but the wording isn't exactly correct. Not all studies have euthanasia as an endpoint.
no no i dont mean death as an endpoint that is actually very very rarely seen. maybe it is the use of words that is confusing. but i just mean in general, all our lab animals at my institute must be euthanized at the end of the study...they can not be kept as pets or used for another different study.
 

lei325

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I'll add my two cents in here. I agree with most of you guys. I volunteered/worked part-time at a lab for a little over six months. The research they do involves the role of toxicants in testicular cancer and their effects on spermatogenesis. Anyway, they get preggo mice and rats and euthanise in order to get embyonic gonads from the fetuses. The first time I did this I went into mild shock because I never thought I'd be doing it in the first place. I remember sitting down and the lab coordinator asked me what was wrong and I said "Nothing, just thinking about how I got involved with animals to preserve life, not end it." She responded by telling me how this research would help cancer research and help figure out ways to cure, etc. Which I knew, but to reiterate it was my first time and didn't realize how my body would react. But yeah, I won't ever truly be comfortable with euthanising research animals, but I do understand that it is necessary in some cases.

By the way, I talked about this for my RVC interview (also about the fact that I'm a vegetarian). So if you haven't applied yet, know that if/when you get an interview, they'll most likely talk to you about the ethics of animal testing because of your experience. I ended up having a wonderful discussion with my RVC interviewers about it. Maybe that's why I got accepted... :)
 

August West

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All lab animals must be euthanized at the end of the study. what do you learn by just killing them and doing nothing? when you can dissect them after wards and may find something. Where I work it is pretty standard procedure to dissect all mice at the end of the experiment because sometimes you do find something unexpected and it is better to make use of the animal while you still can because they will be going to the freezer anyway.

sry to sound so blunt, its just that im at work and i shouldnt be on the forum now lol. but i am planning on doin lab animal medicine and i feel really strongly about certain things. i am all for the welfare of the animal and i plan to stand strongly for this later in life.
I understand what you are saying and I am a proponent for animal research. However, I was referring specifically to the rat in the food maze experiment. What are they hoping to learn that makes it justifiable?
 
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I understand what you are saying and I am a proponent for animal research. However, I was referring specifically to the rat in the food maze experiment. What are they hoping to learn that makes it justifiable?
One of my friends did similar work for her research - the brain dissections in her project were to determine whether the process of learning had caused any morphological changes in the brain.
 

BlacKAT33

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I understand what you are saying and I am a proponent for animal research. However, I was referring specifically to the rat in the food maze experiment. What are they hoping to learn that makes it justifiable?
well, i dont do brain research. but i do help others who do and we dissect the hypothalamus or a certain cortex. I guess since they are looking into memory they would look at the hippocampus or amygdala?? I'm sure someone who is more competent in neuro-anatomy could give a better answer lol
 

August West

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One of my friends did similar work for her research - the brain dissections in her project were to determine whether the process of learning had caused any morphological changes in the brain.
They've been running these same experiments since the 30s and 40s. Perhaps it is time to preserve these lives for something more ambitious and potentially far-reaching. Taking of any life should not be taken so lightly, in my opinion. If I were the original poster, I too might have problems with justifying such an experiment. Unless I am missing something here. It do try to keep an open mind.
 

MonkeyLove

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One of my friends did similar work for her research - the brain dissections in her project were to determine whether the process of learning had caused any morphological changes in the brain.
I don't know a huge amount about learning, memory, or location maps, but I do know there are is a huge number of questions yet to be answered within these overarching categories. So yes, there most likely is a lot still to be learned from a mouse in a maze ;)
 
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They've been running these same experiments since the 30s and 40s. Perhaps it is time to preserve these lives for something more ambitious and potentially far-reaching. Taking of any life should not be taken so lightly, in my opinion. If I were the original poster, I too might have problems with justifying such an experiment. Unless I am missing something here. It do try to keep an open mind.
You haven't seen the protocol, and my one-line summary of someone else's experiment is hardly the whole experiment.
 

BlacKAT33

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it would be nice for the OP to respond again. we have no idea if these rats are transgenic, KO, knockdown, treated with something, drug, etc etc. Maybe they will respond later tonight.

I do know though that the IACUC committee is very strict. If it were just a simple rat/maze expt from 50 years ago it would not pass. I'm sure there is another reason, w/e their goal is. Our committee takes their job very seriously, and I would hope all the other ones do too. They never pass something just for the hell of it, there has to be a significant reason, especially when using rats instead of mice.
 

August West

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You haven't seen the protocol, and my one-line summary of someone else's experiment is hardly the whole experiment.
Hence, my inquiry regarding such. No need to get defensive. We all have different views on such matters.
 
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Hence, my inquiry regarding such. No need to get defensive. We all have different views on such matters.
I'm not being defensive, I just think it's inappropriate to speak in such strong terms on the matter when you don't have all the facts in front of you.
 

August West

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it would be nice for the OP to respond again. we have no idea if these rats are transgenic, KO, knockdown, treated with something, drug, etc etc. Maybe they will respond later tonight.

I do know though that the IACUC committee is very strict. If it were just a simple rat/maze expt from 50 years ago it would not pass. I'm sure there is another reason, w/e their goal is. Our committee takes their job very seriously, and I would hope all the other ones do too. They never pass something just for the hell of it, there has to be a significant reason, especially when using rats instead of mice.
I completely agree. That is why these issues require case-by-case scrutiny. More information would be useful.
 

MonkeyLove

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They've been running these same experiments since the 30s and 40s. Perhaps it is time to preserve these lives for something more ambitious and potentially far-reaching. Taking of any life should not be taken so lightly, in my opinion. If I were the original poster, I too might have problems with justifying such an experiment. Unless I am missing something here. It do try to keep an open mind.

Keep in mind also that for this research to be approved and funded it goes through several very rigorous reviews, and there is no way a finding organization would fund research if there wasn't a very specific goal of the study with important results and implications for whatever system they are working on.
Similarly, the school's IACUC would not approve the protocol to use and euthanize these mice if it wasn't justified. I know we are all very critical thinkers, but there is a point where you have to have faith in the animal use regulatory committees.

edit: sorry, i think i am a slow responder, when I first started replying my post wasn't quite redundant yet :)
 

August West

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Keep in mind also that for this research to be approved and funded it goes through several very rigorous reviews, and there is no way a finding organization would fund research if there wasn't a very specific goal of the study with important results and implications for whatever system they are working on.
Similarly, the school's IACUC would not approve the protocol to use and euthanize these mice if it wasn't justified. I know we are all very critical thinkers, but there is a point where you have to have faith in the animal use regulatory committees.

edit: sorry, i think i am a slow responder, when I first started replying my post wasn't quite redundant yet :)
Fair enough and thanks for your insights.

I think it was this phrasing that bothered me a bit:

"It's a neuroscience lab and we are testing rats on a maze and how they learn to reach the food yadda yadda."

Such a dismissive tone probably touched a nerve. I will withhold any further judgment.
 

BlacKAT33

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Fair enough and thanks for your insights.

I think it was this phrasing that bothered me a bit:

"It's a neuroscience lab and we are testing rats on a maze and how they learn to reach the food yadda yadda."

Such a dismissive tone probably touched a nerve. I will withhold any further judgment.
Ya i can see how that would bug you. IMO the OP sounds young/inexperienced butttttt i wont judge lol im waiting to hear from them later. It drives me crazy when a new person writes something controversial on the forum and it starts a crazy long thread and then they never follow up.
 

August West

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Ya i can see how that would bug you. IMO the OP sounds young/inexperienced butttttt i wont judge lol im waiting to hear from them later. It drives me crazy when a new person writes something controversial on the forum and it starts a crazy long thread and then they never follow up.
A few vet students I recently met during an open house told me that this is sometimes the antics of other vet students who take great satisfaction in watching pre-vets get worked up about certain matters, especially application processes, stats, interviews and such. Not sure if it is true. Just what I was told. Funny, though, if true. Yet also sad and pathetic. Even if there is some truth there, I am sure those described are few and far between. Who knows. Take care.
 

AbbyNormal

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It is not clear to me what research methods are being used with the animals that might affect their brains so I don't know the value of dissecting the brains. Perhaps it may be valid. I am just wondering what kinds of things are you doing that would produce a change in the brain that could be seen using dissection. I think it would be interesting to use MRI or fMRI to assess changes in brain pre and post intervention. I don't know what the cost would be but depending on the particular study it might show changes in brain activity not visible by dissection. Not a vet, I'm just wondering...
 
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A few vet students I recently met during an open house told me that this is sometimes the antics of other vet students who take great satisfaction in watching pre-vets get worked up about certain matters, especially application processes, stats, interviews and such. Not sure if it is true. Just what I was told. Funny, though, if true. Yet also sad and pathetic. Even if there is some truth there, I am sure those described are few and far between. Who knows. Take care.
They be trollin'?

C'est possible.
 

sumstorm

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no no i dont mean death as an endpoint that is actually very very rarely seen. maybe it is the use of words that is confusing. but i just mean in general, all our lab animals at my institute must be euthanized at the end of the study...they can not be kept as pets or used for another different study.
Here, that is true for rodents and some domesic livestock, but our dogs (healthy or conrol) are adopted out, as are the cats, rabbits, ferrets. Some animals are used in multiple, non-painful studies (pallas cats, red wolves, etc.) However, reuse is challenging & requires a lot of consideration & thought.
 

schrodingerr

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Sorry for taking a long time to respond, I am an undergrad (not a vet student looking to get others agitated), applying to vet school this summer. I posted this before I went to work yesterday and spend most of the night doing homework (hence the lag in response time). I am inexperienced at this forum but felt like I could get some decent feedback from fellow prevet/vet students. I appreciate the insight, sorry if I ruffled any feathers.

This is a research experiment I am just starting on, and the "dismissive" tone you may have assumed was just to save the details of habitual vs. spatial learning in rats that I am sure many of you already know. Once the research is complete we examine the inactivation of the hippocampus compared to caudate nucleus and its role in place and response learning.
 

VeganSoprano

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If you believe that the information that will be gained will make a sufficient contribution to science that justifies the animals' deaths, there is your decision. It does sound like the experiment itself is humane.

My question is, how much of the practice of sacrificing animals at the end of studies is really, truly necessary and how much is done mainly because it's how it has historically been done and we haven't questioned it enough to develop alternatives?
 
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My question is, how much of the practice of sacrificing animals at the end of studies is really, truly necessary and how much is done mainly because it's how it has historically been done and we haven't questioned it enough to develop alternatives?
Hopefully not much anymore, seeing as it's questioned all the time now (to the point of death threats) and committees have been developed at every institution that does this work for the sole purpose of thinking about this issue whenever it comes up.

This is not to say that it's impossible for something to slip through, and I agree that we should constantly be re-evaluating the value of what we do as students and researchers, but I think that unnecessary animal use is very much not the norm.
 

sumstorm

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Hopefully not much anymore, seeing as it's questioned all the time now (to the point of death threats) and committees have been developed at every institution that does this work for the sole purpose of thinking about this issue whenever it comes up.

This is not to say that it's impossible for something to slip through, and I agree that we should constantly be re-evaluating the value of what we do as students and researchers, but I think that unnecessary animal use is very much not the norm.
Also, in a country with an overabundance of pets and a lack of homes, it can be very difficult to arrange an alternative to euth. rehoming controls/healthy common pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) is hard enough, but it gets tougher with rabbits, pigs, & rodents. We are rehoming Maltese-beagles from allergy research....allergy free, and finding homes isn't easy.
 

MonkeyLove

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A couple theories on the purpose of the study:
Maybe they are injecting tracers before the rat does the task and then looking at the developing pattern of cortical connectivity at the neuronal level? Or maybe they are looking at differential levels of activation depending on what types of maze cues the rat uses? (scans wouldn't be delicate enough for this level of detail).
Now I am just interested in what exactly they are doing... can you fill us in a bit more?
 
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Also, in a country with an overabundance of pets and a lack of homes, it can be very difficult to arrange an alternative to euth. rehoming controls/healthy common pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) is hard enough, but it gets tougher with rabbits, pigs, & rodents. We are rehoming Maltese-beagles from allergy research....allergy free, and finding homes isn't easy.
Not to mention sacrifice is often essential because rehoming is not an option - many animals after research have been altered in ways that make their care needs impossible for private owners to accomodate.
 
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In my animal physiology lab they make us do experiments on frogs, rats, and RABBITS :( Then we have to put them down when we are finished. It's sad....the animal phys class and mammalian phys class both do it and there's no telling how many animals get killed by the students. The worst part is, we are doing surgery on these animals so they are breathing and to think we are doing this to living animals and then killing them after is sad. I'm sure i'll have to do the same thing in vet school so it's sort of nice to be able to prepare for that, but that doesn't mean I like it
I think this has been discussed previously on this forum, which may be why nobody responded to it. But I think the use of these animals for one undergraduate teaching lab is a waste and very different from using these animals in research. Most vet schools will provide alternatives to invasive terminal labs like this for those who request them (correct me if I'm wrong).
 
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VeganSoprano

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That's my concern too. I am skeptical that an undergrad lab would make enough of a contribution to science to justify the lives and deaths of these animals. Most undergraduate labs are about verifying things that are already known to be true, not about adding to the existing body of knowledge.
 

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I worked in a research lab after graduation as an assistant, and while I understand the importance of research, some practices within the lab itself bothered me. On my second or third day, I accidentally killed a rat. It was a complete accident, but a horrible experience nonetheless, and I never want to go through it again. Of course, I got called to the PI's office, and he wasn't even mad that I killed off one of his test subjects. He was yelling at me about the COST of obtaining a new one. The lab also works with Rhesus monkeys, and he said, "Imagine if this had happened in a monkey. That would have cost the lab $6,000 to replace!" I feel that these particular researchers (and please don't assume I'm making a blanket statement here) did not care about the welfare of these animals whatsoever, and it was more about the money and churning out good results for them. Well, what they don't understand, is that a comfortable animal is going to be a more cooperative animal, especially in behavior research. I spent my entire time frustrated with their approach with these animals. They just had NO clue, and weren't willing to listen.

And within that same lab, of course we had to euthanize rats that were no longer "useful" to them (their exact words). I was asked to do it on my second or third week, and I declined. I just didn't feel comfortable. And I got scolded, "But you want to be a vet! How can you not do this!?" Well for one, euthanasia in clinical veterinary medicine and in biomedical research are two ENTIRELY separate worlds. As a veterinarian (someday), I'll be euthanizing animals to end suffering..as a research assistant in a lab, I'm euthanizing an animal because there's no longer space for it on the shelves. So, I had to explain this to these people, once again..clueless. :confused:

However, working in a research lab DID open my eyes, and actually made me more excited about my interests in lab animal medicine. I would love to work with PI's someday on their research protocols, and help them to understand a little more about the animals they're working with to obtain the information they're seeking.
 

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I think this has been discussed previously on this forum, which may be why nobody responded to it. But I think the use of these animals for one undergraduate teaching lab is a waste and very different from using these animals in research. Most vet schools will provide alternatives to invasive terminal labs like this for those who request them (correct me if I'm wrong).
This was my concern as well. Thanks you for articulating it better than I was able to. I know that Western University has a "reverance for life" philosophy that they apply to such matters and no animals will be killed in the name of teaching such things to their students.

I am interested in learning about how other programs deal with such matters.
 

sumstorm

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That's my concern too. I am skeptical that an undergrad lab would make enough of a contribution to science to justify the lives and deaths of these animals. Most undergraduate labs are about verifying things that are already known to be true, not about adding to the existing body of knowledge.
I obviously don't know about anyone else's labs, but at the undergrad I attended, research was a huge focus. We used animals in neuro lab for learning procedures; you don't want your fist needle placement into a perkinje cell to be your expensive cuttlefish when a $0.25 feeder fish will do. We still had to obtain approval, still compiled data, and still followed strict procedures, but developing skills may involve sacrificing some animals humanely.
 
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(great personal account that's too long to quote)
Totally!

There's also another safeguard in place that most people are unaware of - my peeps, the animal care technicians. Most schools have a separate staff whose job it is to pamper and care for the research animals and monitor them when they are not in use. These techs also have the secondary function of being advocates for the animals - if they see practices or conditions that are inhumane, it's part of their job to resolve these problems and report them back to their supervisor. The supervisor is usually a non-researching administrative staff member like the lab director, and our supervisor was actually also part of the IACUC.

So even if some researchers or profs may have crappy attitudes, they don't get to do whatever they want unchecked - if they were to get by the IACUC and then try treat the animals poorly, they wouldn't get away with it for long.


Also, I don't know about other schools, but at my school a lot of our labs didn't have known answers. The profs would typically re-write the labs each semester to investigate new questions while keeping the same general theme (so, for example, every year would do a "photosynthesis lab," but one year would do a lab that focused on how phenomena associated with global warming might affect photosynthesis, while another year would investigate the differences between native and non-native species or something). The profs would then keep all the data from the classes and scan through it to find things that might require more serious research. This was true even in the basic classes, and students in the upper level classes were actually doing some grunt work for research in progress.
 

August West

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I can't imagine finding homes for all of those mice.
How about us providing a small habitat for these creatures to live out the rest of their lives in return for their use in these studies? A small inconvenience I would think in return for such sacrifice. Can you imagine...?
 
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How about us providing a small habitat for these creatures to live out the rest of their lives in return for their use in these studies? A small inconvenience I would think in return for such sacrifice. Can you imagine...?
It's a nice idea, but with the sample sizes needed to get statistically significant results, the logistics of this would be a nightmare.

As it is, one small study takes a single room about the size of a large walk-in closet. Animals are typically housed in cages with a same-sex buddy so that they have companionship but do not reproduce. The cages are large enough to give animals room to stretch and exercise. Each experiment requires a separate room from the others so that they do not contaminate one another (in terms of conditions, pathogens, sounds, smells, whatever).

The most space-efficient way to maintain humane conditions while continuing to keep the animals and preventing further reproduction is to keep them in this configuration.

Let's take rats as an example. The average life span of a rat is 2-3 years. The average amount of time studying a single cohort of rats might be a semester. Young rats are typically used because they are healthy. For each experiment requiring rats, we will need to move these rats to a new room after the experiment is over to live out their ratty lives, and make room for the new rats.

Suppose 1 researcher is doing animal research with rats. Say he works at the average rate, about one cohort a semester. In semester one, we will need one room.

S2, we need 2.
S3, we need 3.
S4, 4
S5, 5 (Over this semester, we will lose the rats from semester 1)
S6, 5 (Here we are losing semester 2's rats, and 1's were replaced by 5's)

So for each researcher, we will need 5-ish rooms.

Now say we run a school like the one I went to. We had 3 people working with rats, and each one used 60, usually. If we let them live out their lives, this number would balloon to 15 rooms, and from 180 rats at a time to 900. My school would not have been able to afford a facility that big.

Moreover, it took 4 animal care techs to maintain the 3 rat rooms an ensure everything was humane, and they were spread thin. If we just scale up and pretend that people would work the same as they did before, it would take 20 techs. Our department was already operating over budget - if we had to deal with this situation, we would never have been able to do any research at all. We were straining at the edges of our animal care budget with 3 rooms, and as I showed, a single researcher would exceed that.

So, yes, it would be great to let the animals live their lives out, but it would make animal research prohibitively expensive. Besides, the animals would hardly have full, happy lives in this situation - it would require even more expense to make sure that they actually got mentally stimulating habitats, tasty food, and regular interaction.
 

BlacKAT33

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How about us providing a small habitat for these creatures to live out the rest of their lives in return for their use in these studies? A small inconvenience I would think in return for such sacrifice. Can you imagine...?

really? i can just imagine the trillion++++ mice. also, they must be separated by sex or else i can't imagine the exponential growth. If you get one male mixed in....nitemare. i can't imagine. Also, not to mention the trillions of dollars spent to maintain their habitat. It would be our new national debt from mice lol I understand what you're saying, its a sweet idea, i wish it were possible...but there is no way we could do this. And this doesnt even take into account all the different genotypes yikes! you'd need a mouse planet :laugh:
 

August West

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It's a nice idea, but with the sample sizes needed to get statistically significant results, the logistics of this would be a nightmare.

As it is, one small study takes a single room about the size of a large walk-in closet. Animals are typically housed in cages with a same-sex buddy so that they have companionship but do not reproduce. The cages are large enough to give animals room to stretch and exercise. Each experiment requires a separate room from the others so that they do not contaminate one another (in terms of conditions, pathogens, sounds, smells, whatever).

The most space-efficient way to maintain humane conditions while continuing to keep the animals and preventing further reproduction is to keep them in this configuration.

Let's take rats as an example. The average life span of a rat is 2-3 years. The average amount of time studying a single cohort of rats might be a semester. Young rats are typically used because they are healthy. For each experiment requiring rats, we will need to move these rats to a new room after the experiment is over to live out their ratty lives, and make room for the new rats.

Suppose 1 researcher is doing animal research with rats. Say he works at the average rate, about one cohort a semester. In semester one, we will need one room.

S2, we need 2.
S3, we need 3.
S4, 4
S5, 5 (Over this semester, we will lose the rats from semester 1)
S6, 5 (Here we are losing semester 2's rats, and 1's were replaced by 5's)

So for each researcher, we will need 5-ish rooms.

Now say we run a school like the one I went to. We had 3 people working with rats, and each one used 60, usually. If we let them live out their lives, this number would balloon to 15 rooms, and from 180 rats at a time to 900. My school would not have been able to afford a facility that big.

Moreover, it took 4 animal care techs to maintain the 3 rat rooms an ensure everything was humane, and they were spread thin. If we just scale up and pretend that people would work the same as they did before, it would take 20 techs. Our department was already operating over budget - if we had to deal with this situation, we would never have been able to do any research at all. We were straining at the edges of our animal care budget with 3 rooms, and as I showed, a single researcher would exceed that.

So, yes, it would be great to let the animals live their lives out, but it would make animal research prohibitively expensive. Besides, the animals would hardly have full, happy lives in this situation - it would require even more expense to make sure that they actually got mentally stimulating habitats, tasty food, and regular interaction.
I was thinking more along the lines of turning some of the those old run-down, vacant airfields into mouse paradise. Think Hangar 18 with cheese. :laugh:
 

August West

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really? i can just imagine the trillion++++ mice. also, they must be separated by sex or else i can't imagine the exponential growth. If you get one male mixed in....nitemare. i can't imagine. Also, not to mention the trillions of dollars spent to maintain their habitat. It would be our new national debt from mice lol I understand what you're saying, its a sweet idea, i wish it were possible...but there is no way we could do this. And this doesnt even take into account all the different genotypes yikes! you'd need a mouse planet :laugh:
How about just the healthy ones, not the immunodeficient mice or the ones with induced genetic defects? Where do they go after they find the cheese in the maze? :confused: