I’m outraged that NIH and OLAW have not called for a ban on breeding animals as the coronavirus rapidly spreads throughout the United States, resulting in widespread laboratory closures.
With minimal animal care staff across the country, labs are being ordered to “cull” significant portions of their animals, resulting in mass killings. Mice are most impacted by these directives, but other species could be as well, especially as the pandemic extends. In addition, there are serious concerns about animal welfare under these dire conditions.
To prepare for extreme staff shortages universities have ordered labs to begin reevaluating which animals are “extraneous” and to eliminate “unnecessary animals.”
Universities like Yale and Johns Hopkins have requested that labs eliminate animals, yet they disturbingly continue to breed mice. The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine sent an email stating “mouse/rodent users should cull their colonies as much as possible.” Reports in the press describe a researcher there forced to kill three-quarters of her animals. Likewise, the world’s largest mouse breeder, Jackson Laboratory, has not halted its breeding program.
This complete disregard for the lives of animals is outrageous. During the pandemic in which research is paused, labs are closed down, and staff shortages are imminent, it is imperative that breeding come to a halt. It is unconscionable to continue to breed animals when thousands are being massacred.
OLAW must immediately ban all breeding of mice and other lab animals, during this pandemic.