Friday Shutdown Reader: The Impending Meaningless Deaths Of Lab Animals

James Fallows | Atlantic | October 11, 2013

The prospect for research animals is grim at best. The shutdown removes all purpose from their sacrifice.  

Because I have many friends who work in medical research institutes, including several family members who have been or are involved in this field, I've been hearing all along about the precarious situation of research animals, mainly mice and rats, in federally affiliated laboratories.

Under shutdown rules, the animals still get food and water and are kept alive.  But because most researchers are forbidden to work with them, the crucial moments for tests and measurements may pass; experimental conditions may change; and in other ways projects that had been months or years in preparation may be interrupted or completely ruined. Yes, I realize that lab animals' situation is precarious in the best of circumstances. But their lives and deaths have more purpose as part of biomedical discovery than in their current pointless captivity.