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The 9 Most Tested Lab Animals 235

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-a-list-you-want-to-be-on dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Discover Magazine has this odd photo gallery in which they explain why certain animals are used in scientific research. Why are high-tech contact lenses always tried out in rabbits? Why do we study monogamy in prairie voles? Etc. They say of the 9 animals: 'Taken (or stitched) together, they form a kind of laboratory doppelganger for humans.'"
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The 9 Most Tested Lab Animals

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:25AM (#30690862)

    College students.

    • Re:They forgot one (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:47AM (#30690962)

      This list is terrible. I'm a molecular biologist, and one glaring omission is C. Elegans [wikipedia.org] , a tiny little worm that is heavily used in fields such as developmental biology and genetics research. Also missing is the zebrafish [wikipedia.org], which is also really popular for genetics and developmental biology. While I've seen occasional tanks of frogs around the school, I don't think anyone researches caterpillars. I imagine if I told our (quite reputable) immunology department that they should switch to moths, they'd laugh me out of the school. How can the insect immune system be so similar considering they have an open circulatory system?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wizardforce (1005805)

        Indeed. C. Elegans is one organism that should never ever be forgotten in terms of medical research. Sea urchins also deserve some mention as they are very important to our understanding of developmental biology.

      • Re:They forgot one (Score:4, Interesting)

        by reverseengineer (580922) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:39AM (#30691134)
        To be fair, I don't think that list was meant to be comprehensive. In addition to the issues the parent mentions, it's a list of model organisms that includes naked mole rats, but not plain vanilla laboratory rats (they are mentioned in passing, I guess), so contrary to the /. article title, there's no attempt at a ranking here. In terms of a broader list of what sort of organisms are used for biological research, the Wikipedia page for model organism [wikipedia.org] has a lot of examples.

        While not on either list, my own work depends on an assist from horseshoe crabs. Horseshoe crabs have a very simple but effective immune system which produces clots upon contact with bacterial endotoxins; blood is extracted from horseshoe crabs (they are caught and released) and a substance called Limulus amebocyte lysate [wikipedia.org] is extracted and is used extensively to test the sterility of drugs and medical devices.
      • Re:They forgot one (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jackchance (947926) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:56AM (#30691202) Homepage

        mod parent up!

        The gallery is terrible. And the slashdot title is totally wrong. It is not 'The 9 Most Used Animals'. It was more like 9 animals that have been used to make interesting discoveries.

        I work at Princeton University in Molecular Biology. The most studied animals are fruit flies (drosophila), c. elegans, zebrafish, mice, and rats. Frog embryos are commonly used, because they are massive. Songbirds are studied quiet a bit in neuroscience.

        The vole research is interesting and well known, but it is niche. There are very few vole labs.

        I do not know any lab at Princeton or NYU (my alma mater) that studies naked mole rats, moths, rabbits, pigs or dogs.

        I also found it offensive that Discovery, a site supposedly dedicated to science, seem to be pandering to animal rights activists. Why mention some rare case of abuse? You want to talk animal abuse? Look at the food industry. You want to talk abuse? Look at how humans treat each other.

        • by icepick72 (834363)
          Songbirds are studied quiet
          That's irony, to study something quiet that's naturally not quiet.
          • Songbirds are studied quiet
            That's irony, to study something quiet that's naturally not quiet.

            ooops. my bad. quite.

        • Re:They forgot one (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 08, 2010 @02:19AM (#30691304) Journal
          I've never understood why people seem to freak out so much more over lab animals than they do over agricultural ones.

          For anybody supported by contemporary agricultural techniques eating animals is optional. All the suffering of animals in agricultural situations is basically inflicted because they are delicious.

          By contrast, until we come up with some truly amazing advances in tissue culture and computer modelling, animals are non optional for medical research. You can either stop research, and accept massive additional morbidity and mortality, or you can kill a whole lot of animals.

          And yet, for whatever strange reason, medical researchers are a whole lot more likely to get a firebomb through their mail slot. Even fur farming seems to get off more lightly. I don't understand it.
          • Re:They forgot one (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jackchance (947926) on Friday January 08, 2010 @02:40AM (#30691402) Homepage

            Exactly. Thanks for articulating what I was thinking but too pissed off to explain.

            I propose that every time anyone goes to the doctor/hospital, they have to sign a consent form acknowledging that their treatment was developed using animals.

            I think that would wake people up to the reality of the situation.

            Although, i think this is changing. People are becoming more educated about the food industry. At least were I live in the north east US, there are tons of vegetarians.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Wyatt Earp (1029)

              How about a form that consents to animal testing or they don't get treated with anything that was developed with animals?

              In a generation the absurd notion that animal testing is bad will die out.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by sznupi (719324)

                In a generation the absurd notion that animal testing is bad will die out.

                Don't count on it. It doesn't matter if it happens after reproductive period. And such people are among those who usually reproduce, well, like rabbits.

            • Re:They forgot one (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Idiomatick (976696) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:36AM (#30691966)
              Warning: Not totally ontopic.

              I want to have people saved by doctors/hospitals to sign a form saying that they were saved by science, research and hard-work, entirely without the assistance of God.

              I imagine the researchers get a bit frustrated when they spend 3 years of their life figuring out a cure to something using scientific research... The doctor spends hours applying the vast quantities of knowledge he's gained through school. In the end, GOD gets the thanks??? The doctor gets a nod, and the researchers get ZERO recognition. How the fuck does that work?
              • by TheLink (130905)
                > In the end, GOD gets the thanks?

                But don't some doctors think they are God? ;)

                So if you said "Thank God", he/she will just grunt in acknowledgment.
              • by sznupi (719324)

                Humans are easier to blame than gods if something goes wrong. When everything is over (and ended good), humans can be ignored while gods "require" constant attention.

                And most importantly, people actively search for confirmations of the influence coming from their chosen / ingrained in childhood deity. And only the kind of influence they would like, the "good" one.

              • That's not very fair. What if a fundamentalist, creationist Christian doctor who thought he was "doing God's work" wanted you to sign a form acknowledging his God as the creator of all life and master of the universe, the one who allowed you to be saved, and denouncing the theory of evolution as "incomplete and only partially correct" or something like that? (And yes there are creationist MDs. I can put you in contact with one if you don't believe me).

                You could ask a patient to sign a contract, based tot
                • by sznupi (719324)

                  You simply try very hard to go to another doctor in such case, if circumstances permit it.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Bakkster (1529253)

                To be fair, I think God gets a lot of the blame when things don't work out, too. And how many atheists do you think thank the researchers instead of just the doctor?

                That said, most people I know thank God for providing a good doctor who performs their treatment effectively, as well as for putting them in the 80% (for example) of people for whom the treatment works. I don't know anyone who doesn't thank the doctor as well.

                • Re:They forgot one (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by sznupi (719324) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:15AM (#30694654) Homepage

                  Uhm, no. There's this "Satan"/etc. safety valve that stops people from blaming gods too much. And even if gods are held responsible, it's always: "I wasn't good enough, I wasn't praying enough, gods are testing me, it is beyond our understanding" - they always have some excuse

                  And please, religious folks understanding medical statistics? Where on Earth have you seen that?

                  Consider: if they would understand statistics, there would be no miracles. But you hear about one from time to time, when the patient simply managed to be in the very small group that survives serious condition. But...why it's not a miracle when somebody dies from flu? Why? The mechanism is the same.

              • The doctor spends hours applying the vast quantities of knowledge he's gained through school. In the end, GOD gets the thanks??? The doctor gets a nod, and the researchers get ZERO recognition. How the fuck does that work?

                The same way God is blamed every time a natural disaster or other huge and horrible thing happens.

            • by bjourne (1034822)

              I propose that every time anyone goes to the doctor/hospital, they have to sign a consent form acknowledging that their treatment was developed using animals.

              Then everytime an American swears their Pledge of Alliancee then he should also acknowledge that his homeland was created on the backs of a genocide of 12 million Indians? Should he sign a consent form each time he wants to buy a property/stolen Indian land?

              • by plastbox (1577037)

                Time to be a pedantic asshat!

                The Indians never owned anything. They considered themselves part of nature, and no part of nature could be owned by another.

                Asshattery aside, that was some horrible stuff that happened all those centuries ago! I wholeheartedly agree that it is vital that we bring this into a debate about lab animals and medicine, as it is wholly and fully related and relevant!

          • by timmarhy (659436)
            excuse me, but that's bullshit. your trying to say if we stopped animal research mortality rates would somehow massively increase? back that up please.

            and no one is condoning mis treatment of animals in agriculture either. the things most farmers do to pigs and chickens is disgusting. i always buy free range, for that reason, and also because they are tastier.

            the whole point i'm trying to make is it's ok to use animals, but we should always strive to be humane about it.

            • Re:They forgot one (Score:4, Informative)

              by wall0159 (881759) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:48AM (#30692014)

              No - the GP is saying that the reduction in morbidity and mortality that we enjoy is largely due to animal research. There are still many diseases that we don't understand and can't treat, so further research will help us further improve quality of life for sick people. If we cease research, then we won't get those benefits (or they will be significantly delayed, likely by decades and possibly by centuries).

              I think people _do_ condone (albeit tacitly) the mistreatment of agricultural animals, and I think it's because of the "yuck" factor of some science research. I suspect that an average dairy cow probably lives a worse life than your average lab rat (I've worked on dairy farms, and know how appallingly they're treated).

              Having said all this, there are difficult philosophical issues with animal research. For example, what's our basis of saying that it's ok to do research on animals so that people can live better? Is it because we're smarter? If so, is it therefore ok for us to do similar research on stupid or mentally retarded people? (remember that there are primate research labs, some of which use chimps - I think that is ethically very dicey).
              I hate animal-rights activists - as a group they're a bunch of ignorant Luddites - there have been cases where they've dynamited animal research labs that were doing population studies of wild animals! But I do think that some scientists are a bit nonchalant when it comes to animal research.

              For what it's worth, I'm vegetarian for ethical and environmental reasons, but I do believe there is a place for scientific animal research/testing at this point in time.

              • Well, we DO test mentally retarded people, we subject them to the horrors of I.Q. tests and whatnot, much like we subject those chimps to similar tests. I think the kind of testing done here is vitally import. Tests done on primate will mostly be of the behaviour / learning kind, not the kind where "let's inject this tumor in the brain and see of medicine X cures it", which IS done in mice.

                As mentioned above this list is horribly bad and prejudiced. I would say that in medical research the most used anim
              • Re:They forgot one (Score:5, Interesting)

                by crmarvin42 (652893) on Friday January 08, 2010 @09:34AM (#30693454)

                I think people _do_ condone (albeit tacitly) the mistreatment of agricultural animals, and I think it's because of the "yuck" factor of some science research. I suspect that an average dairy cow probably lives a worse life than your average lab rat (I've worked on dairy farms, and know how appallingly they're treated).

                As someone who has also worked on a half dozen dairy farms in the north east I have to ask you WTF are you talking about. I'm asking becuase I've seen alot of people interpret management practices that minimize stress as being abuse based on the human tendancy toward anthropomorphizing (what would I want in that situation).

                I've worked on operations that utilized rotational grazing and daily pasure access, as well as freestall barns with an 8x8 milking parlor, and one thing has been constant across all the farms I've worked on and that's the razor thin profit margins. Abused cows, or even more subtley stressed ones, produce less milk for the same amout of feed intake. Therefore, abusing or stressing your cows is a sure-fire way to end up filing for bankruptcy.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by AlexiaDeath (1616055)
                I was raised on a farm in Eastern Europe and abuse of cattle was never OK. Occasionally some became meat, but even that was handled with minimal suffering. To produce milk you need healthy cows and to manage them you cannot mistreat them. 500kg of angry cow is near impossible to stop. Getting crushed or gored is not funny. Getting accidentally stepped on during milking is bad enough. And even with the most domesticated beasts you need to watch out before doing something they are not used to. I once had to
            • "Worldwide, it is estimated that 50 to 100 million vertebrate animals are used annually, along with a great many more invertebrates." (nearly 75% being rats and mice, monkeys being ~.09%)
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_testing

              The majority of these are done in countries with ethics commissions, were the science easy to replicate without the use of animals they'd have done so. This science makes it to products/information which does save peoples lives. Therefore, by stopping animal research the number o
          • In far too many cases it's not really about animals. Which is...perfectly natural. Practically all the things we do is either to accommodate internal urges or in relation to other people

            Large parts of society can get easily suspicious about what those damned scientists are doing to lab animals. Especially if they are the cute ones. But if some group will actively fight farming in the same way, they will be much quicker to be branded as nutjobs by the same society, who won't like the much more direct connect

          • I can't decide if you are playing devils advocate, or actually believe that animal suffering is routine in animal production and research. I'm a researcher in the field of production animal science (mostly pigs and chickens, with experince in Dairy production as an undergraduate)

            Suffering implies Stress (intentionally capitalized). Stressed animals grow slower, and less efficiently (more food for the same unit increase in body weight, fetal growth, milk production, wool production, eggs layed, etc.). Th
            • by sznupi (719324)

              The factors you mention don't play much role in, say, the whole last day of farm animal life. (as a matter of fact, don't traumatic experiences release, among other things, substances that make blood "redder"? Possibly meat looking better?)

              As a side note, your place is quite exceptional on the grand scale if it treats farm animals good (even if for better profit). At the least I know how chicken farms look at my place. Plants are treated better.

          • Re:They forgot one (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Rary (566291) on Friday January 08, 2010 @10:29AM (#30694024)

            I've never understood why people seem to freak out so much more over lab animals than they do over agricultural ones.

            Because people are ignorant.

            Most people, when they think of animal research, think of animals being tortured. Those same people, when they think of agricultural practices, think of happy little family farms where animals live a wonderful life and then eventually die a quick and painless death for the greater good.

            They think this way because they are also selfish. Being opposed to animal research is easy. Being opposed to animal food, on the other hand, means actually changing the way they eat. And, hey, meat is tasty. Eating it gives pleasure. Few people are willing to give up pleasure for a little thing like ethics.

            Those same people usually can't be bothered to do a little research and boycott products that do invasive animal testing.

            Morals are okay as long as I don't have to change my ways in order to have them.

        • I also found it offensive that Discovery, a site supposedly dedicated to science, seem to be pandering to animal rights activists. Why mention some rare case of abuse? You want to talk animal abuse? Look at the food industry. You want to talk abuse? Look at how humans treat each other.

          I find it offensive that you took an opportunity to make a valid critisizm of the summary (TFA does not indicate that they are the most used), and instead used it as an opportunity to attack animal agriculture. As a researcher in the field of animal agriculture I often run into this mistaken impression. I've probably contributed 100,000 words to this topic on /. alone.

          Stressed animals grow slower and put on more fat when they do grow. Animal abuse causes stress. Producers are paid a premium for lean

      • This really just seems to be "9 interesting animal models" or maybe "I spent 10 minutes reading about animal models."

        Along those lines, I study development in chickens because they're easy to study live as embryos. I've seen a lab that studied owl optical lobes, if I remember correctly because owls can't turn their eyes, and I guess the other eye's region expands to compensate. Songbirds have been used to prove that neurons are produced in adult animals, females treated with testosterone gain neurons thei

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by clong83 (1468431)
        I did meet a group that did a LOT of experiments with moths, but it had nothing to do with the immune system. They were studying the moth's neurology during flight and subjecting them to all kinds of interesting flight tests.

        Interesting tidbit: They chopped off the moth's antennae and it lost the ability to fly. They glued on artificial antennae to the remaining stubs, and the power of flight was restored...
  • Ok, new plan... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:28AM (#30690876) Journal
    I say that we cease research on whatever animals in that gallery are cutest, and start testing on web developers who use Flash to do things that could easily have been done without.

    Lest I be accused of being inhumane, any such web developer who can show that his boss forced him to do so may personally perform the experiments on his boss.
    • Amen. I was actually going to RTFA, but my NoScript just showed a big blocked element on that page, with nothing to read.
      Why did that abomination even get to the /. frontpage?

    • by jbengt (874751)
      I agree.
      I refuse to read thru something as "pretty" and content-sparse as that. Much worse than a regular text article with a couple of page clicks.
  • humane testing (Score:4, Informative)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:42AM (#30690924)
    I'm all for testing as long as it doesn't cause apprechiable suffering for the animal. limited tempary discomformt i can live with, but making another living thing which feels pain live or die in agony is as evil an act as i can imagine.

    especially when it's for something shallow like cosmetic testing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      The thing is though, I'd much rather a dog, mouse, or even a monkey suffer compared to a human. Plus, how the hell does cosmetic testing make something feel pain? Unless you are putting acid in your mascara or something in which case I'd rather something live in agony then that make it to store shelves!
      • by timmarhy (659436)
        it's no common now, but in the past they tested chemicals on animals that would burn their skin or give them ulcers. i put it to you that no animal should suffer a single day so that some teenage emo can wear a new eye liner.
        • If making eyeliner burns skin or gives ulcers, I'd say the cosmetic company is doing something seriously, terribly wrong.
          • cosmetics (Score:3, Informative)

            by astar (203020)

            I am kind of an old guy, so I sort of remember when animal cosmetic testing was something of an issue. Here is what I sort of remember. First of all, it is not quite about testing cosmetics, but testing the components of cosmetics. So if you have just a little of something in a cosmetic, the test animal gets a lot of the pure thing on them. Also, suppose a cosmetic was to be applied to the skin. Well it needs to be tested ingested and in the eyes and its pure components too. I hope this is helpful.

      • The thing is though, I'd much rather a dog, mouse, or even a monkey suffer compared to a human.

        Violent Criminals.

        FLAME ON!!

      • It is now demonstrated that all monkeys develop cultures and technology.

        It is utterly immoral to do any testing on them.

    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      What about if it may save many human lives? Cosmetic testing is probably not as bad as drug/vaccine/antibiotic testing or general research, which can be pretty horrific and is pretty much guaranteed to cause great sufferring, but all those things are fundamental to our ability to save many people.

      The world would be much worse for us without medical research, but it does create what might as well be factories of suffering for lab animals. They even breed lab animals specifically with the worst genetic dis
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tigersmind (1549183)

        What about if it may save many human lives? Cosmetic testing is probably not as bad as drug/vaccine/antibiotic testing or general research, which can be pretty horrific and is pretty much guaranteed to cause great sufferring, but all those things are fundamental to our ability to save many people.

        The world would be much worse for us without medical research, but it does create what might as well be factories of suffering for lab animals. They even breed lab animals specifically with the worst genetic diseases, which would be the ultimate cruelty if it didn't bring the possibility of future cures.

        Hard not to be conflicted about it I think.

        Better them than me.

        See how easy that was :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        I'm not naive about it, i do understand many treatments that keep people alive to do were born out of some pretty horrific animal testing. But what i do think is that we SHOULD feel bad about it, and it should motovate us to find alternatives that get the same result with less cruelty. too often in labs this is glossed over and researchers don't stop to think about it.

        I will qualify this with the fact i don't think all animals are equal. an ant for example doesn't feel the same pain as an animal with a mor

        • Re:humane testing (Score:4, Insightful)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:49AM (#30691168) Journal
          I'd be curious to see that researched(or, if it already has been, the numbers).

          It is definitely the case that people who take up animal cruelty, for its own sake, are Seriously Bad News. It also wouldn't surprise me if 40 hours/week of slaughterhouse or animal tech work lends one a certain detachment.

          However, it is also the case that people are really good at compartmentalizing what they do. It isn't obvious that people whose motive is research, rather than animal cruelty for its own sake, are especially disposed to be cruel in other areas. Indeed, it isn't even necessarily the case that they are placing a low value on life. Medical research does tend to imply minimum ratios between the values of various lives(how many test animals used vs. how many lives saved) which can be uncomfortable; but assigning ratios is not necessarily the same as devaluing.
          • by timmarhy (659436)
            http://vetmed.illinois.edu/petcolumns/showarticle.cfm?id=413 [illinois.edu] if you google around you'll see the links are very clear, especially with young children. once they become comfortable abusing animals, when they grow up abusing people become 2nd nature to them. Obviously people performing research aren't going to suddenly become killers, but i think as a society the attitude that it's ok to hurt animals needs to be fought, since it rubs off on the next generation. you don't want people to be detached from the su
        • it invariably leads to cruelty to humans

          i think you need to back up that claim. [wikipedia.org] Invariably is quite a strong word.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by crmarvin42 (652893)
          As someone with 8 years animal research experience, preceeded by 4 years of animal husbandry experience, I have to disagree with the entire premis upon which your post is based. While it is true that there was no oversight on early research with animals, that has not been the case for a long time.

          Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) are required by federal law in any research institution that gets any federal funding. Their role is in the approval of any research protocol that involves
      • by afabbro (33948)

        The world would be much worse for us without medical research,

        Ah, no, actually it would be the same as of 2009.

      • I feel confident, based on my own 1st had research experience and the collection of FUD that is your post, that you have no idea WTF you are talking about. Any research institution in the US that recieves federal funding (ie all of them) requires approval of all research protocols by the Institutions Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC). These committees are required by law to contain both experienced animal researchers and members of the local community with no connection to the institution (laymen).
    • especially when it's for something shallow like cosmetic testing.

      ...or like cheaper hamburgers?

      Sorry. As a vegetarian biologist, this is just an inconsistency that I see constantly. "How can you be vegetarian and use antibodies that came from lab rabbits in your research?!" Easy: the cost/benefit ratio is wildly different. I don't understand how McDonald's-eating folks complain about animal testing.

      • And as a Botanist I don't see how you gain any moral high ground by killing plants. Stating a "cost/benefit ratio" tells me that you are veg that isn't internally comfortable with being a veg. I am a veg also, yet I have problems with plant testing - namely Monsanto (and you should too). Substitute 'meat' 'omnivore' and 'McDs' at your leisure. I gues the point I am after is that you can consume a product and still protest it. And FWIW I have zero issues with animal testing. I have known many good dogs in my
        • And as a Botanist I don't see how you gain any moral high ground by killing plants.

          Because plants can't suffer. It's not the killing that bothers me, it's the suffering.

          I'd say capacity for suffering goes something like:
          humans > cows > fish > bivalves > tomato plants > sand

          • And you say you are a biologist?? Go do a bit of research. Plants know when other local plants die. Sure - it works at plant speed - but it does work. And though I understand your scale, You have decided that you draw a line at tomatoes. Why not bivalves or fish? Because plants cant move when you kill them? Don't get me wrong here, I said before I am a veg also and I meant it. But you have to give me more than a level of suffering.

            Sera
            • by timmarhy (659436)
              plants can't feel pain, they have no nervous system buddy. like we said, it's not the killing, it's the suffering. i'm pro right to die as well btw, i don't think you should let humans suffer either.
              • They react to being hurt. Pain as you know it? No. They bleed, they will hurry and scatter their young when they are hurt. Many give their entire lives so that their young may live. And I would be careful about saying they have no nervous system. Certainly not as we know one I agree, but you can trauma a plant and it's neighbors will respond.
    • making another living thing which feels pain live or die in agony is as evil an act as i can imagine.

      We kill animals and plants to eat them. Is this evil? Should we stop? Then we die...

      If we can test new medicine, making n animals suffer but allowing us to make m fewer humans suffer, for what values of m and n is that a good trade in your mind? 1 and any? m equals n? any and 0?

      See, absolutist statements have a tendency to blow up when you have to trade off things as you often have to in the real world constrained by the finiteness of resources.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:43AM (#30690928) Journal

    I would think it would be obvious why they put contacts on rabbits. They tried it on cats, but they gave up after they had to amputate a scientist's arm from the claw damage.

  • Pigs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by humphrm (18130) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:09AM (#30691052) Homepage

    It's interesting that they don't mention pig skin grafts for burn victims. I guess today, those are considered sub-par to human grafts.

    I owe a lot to a pig - 25 years ago or so, I suffered a major burn on my head. I was rushed to UW/Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, which besides being a welfare hospital, is one of the premier burn units in the U.S. So, I was lucky that I was only a few miles away from it. After the "scrubbing" (which you do not want me to describe here) they had to come up with a graft that would act like human skin, but not be rejected by my immune system. Pig skin grafts were the hot (if you'll excuse the pun) medicine at the time, because pig skin actually has a lower rejection rate than donor human skin (the only other alternative being, removing and grafting skin from another part of the victim's body, which I'm told is very unpleasant, albeit less than "scrubbing".)

    So after a third degree burn, and a successful pig skin graft, I was released after about a week or so. Without the pig skin graft, I'm told I would have spent months in the hospital dealing with the effects of anti-rejection drugs.

    P'raps the pre-graft typing of human skin tissue has improved, reducing rejection. That's great. But I still owe a lot to a pig.

    • by dlanod (979538)

      And when you get sunburnt, the smell of sizzling bacon is just a delicious bonus!

  • Title is wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bueller_007 (535588) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:41AM (#30691142)

    These are not the nine most tested lab animals, as they admit on the first page. It's a list of "some of the animals that stand in for humans in medical research", and it excludes mice for god's sake. How could anyone who read this list think that it represents "the most tested lab animals" if it doesn't include mice or rats? There aren't even any fish on the list.

    The list is:
    1) Fruit flies
    2) Moths
    3) Frogs
    4) Naked mole rats
    5) Prairie voles
    6) Rabbits
    7) Beagles
    8) Pigs
    9) Monkeys

    • 4) Naked mole rats

      They first violate the rats dignity before doing testing on it!!

      What are they testing here anyway - Viagra & stuff like that?

  • I'm reminded of a poster that I saw hanging in a fellow teacher's room. It shows young people protesting animal testing. The caption under it reads (I forget the exact number used) "That's to animal testing, they will have 28.5 more years to protest" and then gives brief commentary about how animal testing has increased the average human life span. Next to it, there is another poster showing adorable little animals and their names, along with which diseases they were cured of, which makes the statement "ani
    • by oudzeeman (684485)
      those posters came from fbresearch.org, but I'm not sure if they are still available.

      We have one hanging in one of the hallways here at work (I work at the laboratory founded by C.C. Little, who was mentioned in this article...)

  • by nyri (132206)

    E. Coli [wikipedia.org]. Ok, it's not an animal but still. It ushered in the age of biotechnology [nature.com] and have not left since and take part in most of the research.

  • Appears to be a case of lost technology or grant padding.

    Have they not heard of Manimal?

  • Animal Testing doesn't work. These quotes are from a very *SHORT* article that describes the issue well:

    More than 90 percent of all new drugs which proved effective in animals end up not working for humans. It's because animals -- however similar they are to us -- have different physiological systems. What works in a mouse usually doesn't work in a human.

    History is filled with stories of drugs that didn't work in animals -- Aspirin, for example -- that ended up working in humans. And the obituary pages are

    • by oudzeeman (684485)
      trust me, we're far better off with animal testing... without the genetics work done with Mice we would know far less about genetics than we do now. Almost every human gene identified was discovered after a homolog was found in a model animal first. There is no way to perform the conrolled breeding experiments we can do with model organisms in humans...
  • Not, say, rats, zebrafish, yeast, or C. freakin elegans. Labs are just full of moths.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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