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Thousands of Lab Mice Lost In Sandy Flooding 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the george-bush-doesn't-care-about-mouse-people dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While New York University's Langone Medical Center in lower Manhattan was the site of heroism as 260 patients were evacuated from flooded floors and a nearly complete loss of power, similar floods at NYU's nearby Smilow Research Building killed thousands of laboratory mice, including genetically altered specimens in-bred over many generations as research subjects for melanoma and other diseases. Other laboratory animals, cells, and living tissue used in medical research were also lost; because of the gestation period involved, some projects were likely set back a number of years. Past experience with storms such as Allison in Houston and Katrina in New Orleans has shown that keeping laboratory animals in basements is not good practice, but research institutions keep doing it anyway."
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Thousands of Lab Mice Lost In Sandy Flooding

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  • I pity them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @05:47PM (#41859037)

    Poor mice. I love rodents. I really do. Must have been horrible for them to see and feel the influx of water without being able to escape or do anything.

  • by Phrogman (80473) on Friday November 02, 2012 @05:49PM (#41859057) Homepage

    Its stupid to keep the lab animals in the basement obviously, if only from the perspective of setting research back years as was pointed out, let alone the needless killing of thousands of animals. The basements should be kept for the adminstration staff, or at least the lawyers...

  • by guttentag (313541) on Friday November 02, 2012 @05:55PM (#41859135) Journal

    ...keeping laboratory animals in basements is not good practice, but research institutions keep doing it anyway.

    The point of keeping them in the basement is to isolate them from outside influences that might affect your results. For instance, if you put them in the building lobby, they might get malenoma from the sun, or PETA might steal them and eat them ("People Eating Tasty Animals"). Basements are better.

  • by westlake (615356) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:53PM (#41860585)

    Its stupid to keep the lab animals in the basement obviously, if only from the perspective of setting research back years, let alone the needless killing of thousands of animals.

    Manhattan real estate is expensive.

    The hospital board can put income generating wards, clinics, operating rooms, cafeterias, restaurants, shops and other services on an upper floor or they can chose to house the animals there.

    Research centers often stash their animal labs underground. That makes it easier to store heavy animal equipment like cage washers, autoclaves, and giant tanks of fish, and the lack of windows helps technicians control the light-dark cycle. Labs in California use basement cages to keep them safe from earthquakes, and other building managers like to have the excrement and waste sequestered down below.

    Institutions like to keep their animals from public view. After all, even with the basements dry, these research centers are the site of massive rodent slaughter: The several thousand mice that drowned in Monday's flood represent just a tiny fractionâ"0.002 percent, perhapsâ"of all the mice and rats that die for research every year. It's ugly work, even when it's useful and important. Ken Kornberg, an architect who's worked on more than 400 biomedical research projects, points out that basements are more secure from activists and protesters.

    Sandy's Toll on Medical Research [slate.com]

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