Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Harvard Law School Blather

You'd think they'd think a bit more clearly, but then, Harvard has a history of being completely wrong about the use of animals in its labs.

Read this: "Are Human Research Participants Deserving of Research Animals’ Rights?" It was posted on Harvard Law School's Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics' blog, The Bill of Health, on November 20, 2012 by Suzanne M. Rivera, Ph.D.

It's pure tripe. The only reason I'm calling attention to it is because of the awesome response by Jessica Sandler which I am reposting here in it's entirety. It's not unlikely that it be disappeared.

Jessica Sandler, Class of '78 on November 26, 2012 at 2:44 PM said:

While reading Suzanne Rivera’s blog, “Are Human Research Participants Deserving of Research Animals’ Rights,” I had to do a double-take to ensure that I was reading Harvard Law’s Bill of Health, and not The Onion. If she were not so well-credentialed I would chalk the silliness of the article up to pure ignorance, but because Rivera must know better it appears she used the blog to spout pro-animal experimentation propaganda that plays fast and loose with even the few facts that were included.

There is only one federal law in the U.S.—the Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—designed to offer some modicum of protection to animals in laboratories. As Rivera implicitly acknowledges, the AWA is primarily focused on issues of animal husbandry: the size of the cages in which the imprisoned animals will spend the duration of their lives; the temperature of the rooms in which the animals are kept; the frequency of cleaning, feeding, watering; and so on. Rivera misleadingly paints life for an animal in a laboratory as resort-like and does not acknowledge that the law permits animals to be used in all manner of cruel, painful, and trivial experiments. Animals are poisoned, burned, shocked, and paralyzed. They are deprived of food and water to force them to “cooperate” with the experimenters and are even completely deprived of pain relief should the experiments wish to do so. Infant monkeys are taken from their mothers days after birth—often as a matter of operating procedure. They are cut open in experimental surgeries in which their eyes are removed, their spines are mutilated, and their brains are exposed. Even today, cosmetics, household products, and caustic chemicals are dripped into the eyes of rabbits and rubbed onto the shaved, abraded skin of guinea pigs who are not given pain killers. It is perfectly legal to do ANYTHING to animals in U.S. laboratories as long as the right paperwork is filled out. Even when alternatives to the use of animals are available, U.S. law—unlike that in the EU—does not require that they be used.

Furthermore, thanks to vigorous lobbying on the part of the well-heeled animal experimentation industry—a group that claims to be pro-science—99 percent of animals used in experimentation, including mice of the genus Mus, rats of the genus Rattus, birds bred for experimentation, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and agricultural animals used in agricultural experiments are excluded from the definition of “animal” in the AWA and are deprived even of the meager protections of the Act. While there are guidelines that govern the treatment of these animals when they are used in federally-funded studies, these animals have no legal protections whatsoever at the federal level.

This means that when mice are subjected to painful and invasive surgeries, but are deprived of post-operative pain relief—as happens 50 to 80 percent of the time according to recent literature surveys conducted by researchers at Newcastle University (http://www.oc.lm.ehu.es/Fundamentos/doctorado/cursos/CirExp/Tecnicas%5CF-078.PDF, http://www.frame.org.uk/atla_article.php?art_id=114&abstract=true)—the experimenters are not legally liable for such egregious cruelty. Likewise, when living rats are thrown into a freezer intended for the bodies of dead animals, when mice drown or dehydrate to death as a result of employees failing to check water systems, and when rats are left in their cages and run through the mechanical cage washer where they are boiled alive – there are no legal repercussions for the responsible parties. If they are federally-funded, they just get a letter that effectively asks them not to do it again. If they are not receiving government money, there is no external government oversight at all.

At the institutional level, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) system is also failing to protect animals. Repeated audits by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and observations by USDA inspectors stretching back more than a decade, as well as evidence gathered by PETA through whistleblowers and undercover investigations, have documented ongoing failures in the IACUC system. In September 2005, the USDA OIG published a scathing audit report describing a climate in which laboratories view fines for AWA violations as a “cost of conducting business.” The report noted that at almost one-third of facilities, IACUCs failed to ensure that experimenters considered alternatives to painful procedures. The report further documented the failure of IACUCs to ensure that animals receive adequate veterinary care and to ensure that unnecessary or repetitive experiments were not performed on animals. These problems persist today.

Rivera’s implicit contention that animals used in experiments are better protected than human research participants flies in the face of common sense as well as peer-reviewed research on the subject. The most comprehensive analysis of IACUC reviews of proposed animal research protocols conducted to date concluded that IACUCs rarely disapprove of proposed animal research protocols, approving in-house protocols 98% of the time (http://www.socialpsychology.org/pdf/science2001-07-27.pdf?logged=true). When the same protocols were evaluated by IACUCs from other institutions, 61% were found to be substantially lacking. A recent study conducted by my colleagues found that at leading research institutions an average of 67% of IACUC members were animal experimenters; an additional 15% were institutional veterinarians who conducted or facilitated experiments on animals; and 93% of IACUC chairpersons were animal experimenters (http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/2/1/68). These stacked committees no doubt contribute to the approval bias expressed by IACUCs. Moreover, the paltry representation of unaffiliated members on U.S. IACUCs, intended to represent the general community and its concern for animal welfare—particularly in comparison to membership requirements in the EU and elsewhere for animal experimentation oversight bodies—contributes to public distrust of animal experimenters and does not reflect the mounting opposition among the general public (http://ctx.sagepub.com/content/11/2/68.full.pdf+html) that largely funds the practice.

An article published in the journal Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine further suggests that institutional review boards (IRBs, which oversee human-based research) place a “tremendous burden” on clinical researchers, while IACUCs (which oversee animal-based experimentation) are much easier to work with, approving “essentially everything they consider” (http://www.peh-med.com/content/6/1/12). The author argues that this “discrepancy in regulatory ease between the two types of research” has pushed scientists to use animals in investigations even when they believe the studies should be performed with humans or human tissue. A recent article published in the British Medical Journal argues that IACUCs are in need of reform: “IACUCs have chosen not to make such ethical judgments [of conducting cost-benefit analyses of proposed animal research protocols] but, rather, restrict themselves to an advisory role, often tweaking the details of animal-use protocols, but eventually approving all of them” (http://m.jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/11/06/medethics-2012-100982.full.pdf?papetoc).

Fundamentally, Rivera has performed some hand-waving to perpetuate myths to further her own agenda and has intentionally failed to discuss the elephant in the room (or more appropriately, the monkey in the isolation chamber, the dog in a metal box, and the rat in the inhalation chamber). Animals in laboratories are imprisoned for the entirety of their lives in tiny cages where they are used, abused, and killed. The regulations that govern the treatment of animals in these circumstances—stipulating minimum cage sizes that confine animals to taking one or two steps in any direction for their entire lives—simply do not apply to humans research subjects who give informed consent, do not spend their lives imprisoned in laboratories and in the overwhelming majority of cases are not caused any harm beyond losing a few hours of their day or having to complete a boring experiment. Even when there are serious harms involved, human participants and IRBs must determine whether the potential benefits outweigh the risks, and subjects must volunteer to participate. With animals, no curiosity is too trivial to justify tormenting and killing them, and they obviously are not given any choice. This is not a matter of opinion; it’s a fact.

Given the wholesale abuse suffered by animals in laboratories—and the paucity of any meaningful protections for the animals involved—it is simply astonishing that Rivera would compare the considerable rights of humans who volunteer themselves for clinical trials to the non-existent rights of animals who are unwilling participants in experiments where they are, for all intents and purposes, viewed as a means to an end and with little to no regard to their status as sentient beings capable of physical and psychological suffering.


For more on the question of whether or not animal use is more heavily and meaningfully regulated than research using humans see my essay: "The Ethics Underpinning Oversight."

Let's Make History

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Self Image

I've never heard a vivisector admit to the likelihood that they would have experimented on slaves or other non-consenting humans if they had lived in an era when such practices were allowed. Nor have I ever heard a non-researcher ACUC member admit that they would have approved such things. They think better of themselves than is warranted.

At the risk of jousting with a straw man, it appears that they believe that outlawing slavery and the defeat of Nazi Germany somehow led to the elimination of such people and such proclivities instantaneously. They deny the likelihood that the ranks of the animal experimenters are now populated with people who would have and would now experiment on humans if they were allowed to do so.

But where else would such people have gone once unbridled human experimentation was outlawed? Maybe they work in slaughterhouses, or bully elephants into dancing, or manage canned hunting ranches, but surely a goodly number have found a home in the animal labs.

But I'm not really writing about that. No, this rambling essay is about the average person's self image and their perception of who other animals are.

I've always assumed that people generally justify eating, hurting, and killing animals with an appeal to our differences, but some people think otherwise. I've always assumed that the sentiments expressed by racial bigots were largely representative of the general opinion.

I've just finished reading Uncle Tom's Cabin. Marie St. Clare, a rich slave owner, expresses what I take to be Stowe's opinion of the general Southern beliefs about Blacks. St. Clare says that Blacks aren't very much like Whites. They don't feel things like white people. They don't miss their children the same way, or their husbands and wives; they need to be beaten regularly to keep them in line; they are a degraded race filled with lazy, dishonest, stupid beings not very much like her at all. Anything done to them in order to benefit her and her kind is fully justified.

You can find similar claims with regard to animals pretty easily. All you have to do is ask a vivisector, a rancher, a hunter, their opinion about the beings they torture and kill and they repeat much the same arguments. We are so different that anything we do to them that benefits us (or just pleases us) is more than justified.

So it came with some surprise to learn that others have a much different impression of the popular impression of animals. I've just started reading Daniel Dennett's Kinds of Minds. Dennett, in case you don't know, is a well known philosopher with a particular interest in cognition.

Dennett says that humans generally believe, as a matter of tradition, that other animals have minds like ours.

This is disturbing thought. It's one thing to think that the dog one kicks doesn't feel the pain and insult as another human might, but the belief that he does makes the kicker's behavior all the more evil.

This is similar to the subset of vivisectors who believe that the minds of the animals they hurt are so similar to ours that the insults heaped upon them yield such similar results that direct claims can be made about the likely result to a human if something similar was done to them. Like Ned Kalin's hideous revival of the use of maternal deprivation to create chronically fearful highly anxious young monkeys.

The more common position, in spite of Dennett's misperception, is more in line with Marie St. Clare's I think. But her's and the average vivisector's are largely faith-based. They actually have little knowledge of that about which they feel so strongly. In St. Clare's case, the ignorance is willful. She could have learned more about the people she controlled, but she didn't; she simply relied on her prejudices.

In the case of vivisectors, they base their claims on things they can't know. Consider the minds of dogs and humans.

There are things dog and human minds have in common. There are things they don't. Vivisector's imply that they know the characteristics in each region, and that those unique to humans are sufficient to justify our complete control of their lives. Likewise, they imply that they have full knowledge of the characteristics in the region unique to dogs, but this is absurd and matter-of-factly false. We have no way of knowing things about characteristics we can't imagine. They are a black box to us. But the vivisectors imply that they know that none of the unknown and unknowable characteristics could justify a requirement of kindness and respect from us.

And, they imply that the similarities we share are also not sufficient. The ability to suffer, to be sad and lonely, to be frightened, to be thrilled, to be joyful, hopeful, curious, brave, playful, and loyal. None of these things, either alone or taken together, they say, are enough.

In this way, they are just like Marie St. Clare. Their self image is a distorted, bloated, self-serving illusion that supports their prejudices.

The Suffering is the Same Everywhere

Larry Carbone, DVM, PhD, is the Associate Director of the University of California San Francisco's Laboratory Animal Research Center. He is the author of What Animals Want, (Oxford, 2004). See my review here.

When I was working at In Defense of Animals, a small national animal rights organization based in (at the time) San Rafael, just north of San Francisco, UCSF may have been the most cited facility in the country for its repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act. USDA continued to make unannounced inspections because employees continued to contact us with concerns that we passed on the feds. Every visit resulted in more citations. Larry Carbone was working there at the time.

As I pointed out in my review, this bodes darkly for animals in the other labs around the country. Carbone claims to care and is responsible for the care of the animals at his institution. And yet, the suffering there, the violations, and overall disregard for the animals is again in the news.

UCSF lapses mean research animals suffer USDA cites research lab lapses over many years SF GATE. November 25, 2012.

The details are chilling, even gruesome.

Due to negligence or errors, laboratory mice at UCSF had toes removed without anesthesia. Several animals, including birds and a squirrel monkey, received little or no pain medication after surgical procedures. In one instance, a primate starved for weeks. In another, mice died of thirst. And for nearly two years, a rhesus monkey remained in a brain study despite chronic and painful complications...


At the University of Wisconsin Madison, animals dying of thirst seems almost routine. Monkeys remained in what the vivisector herself claimed to be the most invasive brain experiments on monkeys in the country even though the oversight committee tried to close her lab because of the brain infections and her slipshod methods.

The use of animals at every large university I've take the time to learn about has been very much the same. Lots of suffering, multiple USDA violations, trivial justifications, calloused vivisectors, and a protective administration claiming that everyone using animals at their university loves and respects animals and that there are more laws protecting animals used in research than there are laws protecting humans participating in research.

The only difference I can see between the large universities is a willingness of local reporters to investigate and write about what's going on in the labs.

In Madison, there have been a couple of reporters willing to write about the issue. Right now, there are none; and so, the public takes no notice. In San Francisco, the interested reporters have come and gone as well, and in Portland, OR., Seattle, and Boston, and Atlanta, just about everywhere a large university exists. The waste of tax dollars is the same everywhere. The coverups are the same everywhere. The suffering in the labs is the same everywhere.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ned Kalin's Deep Understanding

The University of Wisconsin, Madison’s PR machine recently issued a news release that was then dutifully reprinted by media outlets across the country. You can read a local iteration here.

A few excerpts:
Stressed family affects baby girls later in life, UW study says

November 12, 2012. BILL NOVAK | The Capital Times

Stress shown in the family can have an adverse effect on infant girls as they grow older, according to new results from a long-running population study by UW-Madison scientists.

... Young men studied did not show the same pattern.

The study showed baby girls who lived in homes with stressed mothers were more likely to grow into preschoolers with higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

The study also showed girls with higher levels of cortisol showed less communication between brain areas associated with emotion regulation 14 years later.

Those two combined factors predicted higher levels of adolescent anxiety at age 18.

... "Our findings raise questions on how boys and girls differ in the life impact of early stress," Davidson said. "We do know that women report higher levels of mood and anxiety disorders, and these sex-based differences are very pronounced, especially in adolescence."

Others involved in the study include Drs. Rasmus Birn, Paula Ruttle, Johathan Oler and Ned Kalin, and Diane Stodola, Andrea Hayes, Michelle Fox, Erin Molloy and Jeffrey Armstrong.
The key finding, according to the university, is that girls in stress-filled homes suffer greater and more long lasting negative effects than boys. More specifically, it was girls with stressed mothers.

Undoubtedly, all the people named as having been involved in the study knew the results many months ago. The publication pipeline is a little sluggish.

So, what did they do with the new knowledge that girls raised in stress-filled homes or with stressed mothers can suffer significant and perhaps permanent deleterious effect?

Ned Kalin designed and launched a project, controversial for its cruelty and lack of applicability to humans, to examine brain development in chronically stressed motherless infant male monkeys.

Kalin's response to the discovery that girls suffer the greatest harm from stressful environments was to resurrect cruel maternal deprivation methods developed by Harry Harlow and make the lives of motherless infant male rhesus monkeys a living hell.

Logic like this goes a long way to explaining how he became the Chair of the UW-Madison Psychiatry Department.

People who don’t understand science might have guessed that the results of the study would have been communicated to social workers in order to help them understand the need to be particularly vigilant and supportive of families with girls in them. But that would just show how little you understand science.

It takes a clear thinking senior scientist supported at all levels by an adoring university to see more deeply into the meaning of the results and understand that harm to human girls is best prevented by experimenting on motherless male monkeys.

For much more on the Kalin study see: UW-Not In Our Name.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vivisection Lobby Frantic: Wants to derail Budget Control Act of 2011

Experimental biology is a euphemism for vivisection of the worse sort. The possibility of a significant reduction in the amount of taxpayer funded harm to animals has the vivisection community very worried.

Contact your elected representatives today and tell them that you strongly support the reduction in federal programs required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Tell them not to compromise; tell them to do the right thing and move the country back toward a balanced budget. Tell them not to be swayed by the many special interest groups who want to drive up the public debt.

Sequestration is the term being used for the required cuts to the federal budget if the Budget Control Act of 2011 is allowed to go into effect.

Read what the vivisectors are saying:
November 12, 2012
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
9650 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814-3998
www.FASEB.org
Contact: Lawrence Green Office of Public Affairs 301.634.7335 lgreen@faseb.org

FASEB URGES BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH COMMUNITY TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST SEQUESTRATION
Bethesda, MD – The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is rallying the biomedical research community to advocate against devastating funding cuts facing the nation’s research agencies unless Congress acts before the end of the year. Under sequestration, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) could lose $2.8 billion and would fund 25 percent (2,300) fewer grants. [Yeah! My happy emphasis!] The National Science Foundation (NSF) could be cut by nearly $600 million. More than 5,800 emails have been sent to Congress in response to a FASEB e-action alert urging individuals to let their Senators and Representatives know why federal funding for NIH, NSF, and other agencies is critical to local research institutions and state economies. “Labs will be forced to close, [Hooray!] resulting in layoffs of tens of thousands of researchers. [That's a euphemism for vivisectors.] It will take generations to recover the lost talent, as dedicated young scientists and engineers will be driven from science by the disruption of their training and lack of jobs,” said FASEB President Judith S. Bond, PhD.

FASEB has also released additional factsheets in the Federation’s series describing the amount of NIH funding in congressional districts across the country and examples of how research conducted at local institutions has improved health, increased innovation, strengthened the economy, and trained the next generation of scientists. More than 90 factsheets covering 138 congressional districts are now available on the FASEB website. These factsheets were designed to complement an earlier series focusing on the benefit of NIH funding in each state. FASEB has asked scientists to use both sets of factsheets when communicating and meeting with members of Congress. In addition, FASEB is sponsoring a contest offering $25,000 in prize money for the most creative exhibits, events, and other public outreach activities that highlight the value of federally funded research.

FASEB is composed of 26 societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. Celebrating 100 Years of Advancing the Life Sciences in 2012, FASEB is rededicating its efforts to advance health and well-being by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Oh! Those poor vivisectors...

Help for Sandy-Stricken Scientists
The Scientist. November 9, 2012

In the aftermath of the floods brought on by super storm Sandy that killed thousands of genetically engineered mice at a New York University (NYU) research center, the wider research community is rallying to help the scientists worst affected by the losses.

Once the storm had passed and it was clear that scores of important mice strains developed at NYU’s Smilow Research Center had been lost, several researchers offered to help restart colonies....
Meanwhile...

NY University faces growing criticism after Sandy kills lab mice
Reuters. November 7, 2012

... All told, said NYU spokeswoman Jessica Guenzel, the biomedical facility lost 7,660 cages of mice and 22 cages of rats. Each cage houses between one and seven animals, she said.

"This happens again and again and (research labs) never learn," said Fran Sharples, director of the Board on Life Sciences at the congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

"Anybody with half a brain knows you do a site-specific analysis" to understand the risk of disasters, she said, "and it's really stupid to put your animals in the basement if you're in a flood zone."

It's not as if scientists didn't have recent lessons in the risk of natural disasters to biomedical research, she said. In 2001, tens of thousands of mice and scores of monkeys and dogs were lost when Hurricane Allison struck Houston; and in 2005, some 10,000 lab animals drowned when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans....

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fiscal Cliff's Silver Lining for Animals

If you care about the millions of animals tortured every year in our publicly funded university and military laboratories, I urge you to contact your U.S. legislators today and ask them to do everything in their power to make sure that cost reductions and tax increases required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 be allow to take affect on January 1.

The Budget Control Act of 2011, unless derailed, will result in tax increases, spending cuts, and a corresponding reduction in the budget deficit beginning in 2013.

The year-over-year changes for fiscal years 2012–2013 include a 19.63% increase in taxes and 0.25% reduction in spending. Almost all the increased tax burden will be borne by the very wealthiest Americans who will still be able to fly to Monte Carlo on a whim. Their lavish lifestyles will not be affected.

Social Security, federal pensions and veterans' benefits, are exempted from the spending cuts.

The big winners will be literally millions of animals.

If the laws resulting from the Act are allowed to go into effect on Jan. 1, NIH will immediately see an 8.2 percent — or $2.5 billion — cut, which would disrupt more than 2,300 grants.

It is likely that the Republicans will resist compromises put forward by the Democrats. Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent. We need to contact them and even the Dems who will be trying to avert the fiscal cliff, and tell them we support allowing the Budget Control Act of 2011 to go into full effect.

If the grants that are disrupted are representative of NIH grants generally, then between 40% and 50% of them involve hurting and killing animals. Cutting more than $1 billion from NIH's support for vivisection would be a windfall of reduced suffering.

If you care about animals, there may be nothing else you can do that has such great potential to save so many animals so immediately from such unimaginable suffering.

Call or write to your U.S. Representatives today. Tell them you support the additional taxation and federal program cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

This is a rare opportunity.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's a spade.

Israeli vegan activists to protest animal 'Holocaust' by tattooing livestock numbers

Protesters expected to participate in a mass-tattooing display at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, one month after group members branded themselves with a white-hot branding iron to mark World Farm Animals Day.

Haaretz Nov.01, 2012
....

"Most of the tattoos will be inked on the outer part of the forearm so as to openly declare that we are representing the present Holocaust, as harsh as that may sound," said Gilboa. "We are sick of the language laundering. The Holocaust had a clear beginning and end, but the end of the current Holocaust is not in sight. It is time to take the gloves off, for the sake of the greatest atrocity in the history of humanity."

....

Play it again Sam: "Research set back for years...."

Researchers can't seem to get it through their swollen heads that water, like shit, as every plumber and homeowner is well aware, flows downhill.

Every few years a large storm comes along and floods a basement filled with animals at some university, and on cue, the dickheads and the dickheads' bosses start crying about how they were right on the brink of a cure for cancer and how sad they are for the animals, who were just like family to them.

It's all crocodile tears of course. No cures come out of the labs, nothing has ever been lost in the way of medical progress, and they don't really care about the animals. If they did, they wouldn't keep them locked in basements or torture them. But they do. And they lie about it and their real motives. What tools.

Storm kills NYU lab mice, crippling medical research
It takes years to grow them as needed, and student projects could run out of time
NBC News and news services 2012

One of New York University's medical research facilities has lost thousands of laboratory mice to Hurricane Sandy's storm surge, a research setback that could take years to correct, according to scientists.

The NYU Langone Medical Center confirmed on Wednesday that the Smilow Research Center, one of three animal research facilities on campus, "was adversely impacted by the severity of the flood surge and the speed with which it came on."

"Animal resource staff was on site continuously to mitigate the damage from the storm, but due to the speed and force of the surge, animal rescue attempts were unsuccessful," the medical center said in a statement. "This facility is a barrier facility that is 'super clean,' which restricts the movement of animals in and out of the facility."

NYU said it was "deeply saddened by the loss of these animals' lives and the impact this has on the many years of important work conducted by our researchers." blah, blah, blah...

South Australia battered by extreme weather
AdelaideNow September 22, 2009

MORE rain is falling across many parts of the state, a day after thunderstorms caused chaos on Adelaide's roads and floods that drowned university lab animals. ...

Water believed to be overflow from a stormwater inlet at the nearby Botanic Garden was 2m deep in the University of SA's Reid Building....

In an emailed statement, the University of SA confirmed some rats and guinea pigs inside the basement had died.

Most of the frozen research samples stored in the basement were retrieved either last night or early this morning, but the flooding has set back research students projects, the statement said. blah, blah, blah...

New Orleans researchers fight to salvage work from submerged labs
Nature September, 2005

Full extent of damage unclear as scientists question preparations for storm.

Hurricane Katrina has apparently devastated research laboratories in New Orleans. Rescue teams last week discovered that many frozen specimens and cell cultures had thawed, making them useless, and laboratory animals had drowned.... blah, blah, blah...

Lab animals drown; medical research lost
Houston Chronicle. June 12, 2001

Weekend flooding in labs beneath the Texas Medical Center killed more than 30,000 animals and destroyed what one official called an "incalculable" amount of scientific research.

Rising water in Medical Center basements and local universities wiped out federally funded research worth millions of dollars. Meticulously kept computer data were fried into electronic oblivion. And some students lost years' worth of their doctorate work.

It may be years, researchers said, before they know how devastating such setbacks will be to their efforts to discover new treatments for cancer, heart disease and other ailments.

"It's a serious situation," said Dr. Ralph Feigin, president of Baylor College of Medicine. "All of our faculty are here today trying to salvage what they can."

The college has about 500 labs, an annual research budget of $310 million and thousands of scientists experimenting at the cutting edge of a broad spectrum of diseases.

Although larger research animals, such as dogs and pigs, were saved, the college's most populous mouse facility, where some 30,000 animals were trapped, was entirely submerged. Specially bred mice often take years to perfect and can be worth thousands of dollars apiece.

"You can't get these animals back again quickly at any price," said Dr. Arthur Beaudet, chairman of the college's department of molecular and human genetics. blah, blah, blah...

Six Deaths, Great Damage Result From Heavy Rainfall
Herald-Journal 1976

 ... The new building of the University of Texas Medical School also had its basement flooded. In it was a large number of laboratory animals. We don't know what the situation is down there," a spokesman said.... blah, blah, blah...