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NIMALS HAVE BEEN USED as subjects in
biomedical research for decades. But moral
concerns over animal experimentation have led
to the formation of several hundred anti-
vivisectionist groups opposed to animal use,
many of them begun in the 1970s.
Most scientists at Michigan say they haven't been targets
of actions by research opponents in defense of animals. They
are concerned, however, that objections to their work may
some day interrupt it.
That work involves a tremendous number of specimens.
According to statistics provided by the office of the vice
president for research, University researchers used 98,710
animals between October 1, 1985 and September 30, 1986.
Over 70,000 of these were mice and rats, and another 11,000
were fish. Scientists also used more than 2,300 dogs, over
500 cats, 3,012 rabbits, 108 chickens, one goat, and 57
assorted reptiles, including at least one alligator.
Experimentation is conducted under guidelines, relatively
new proceedures at the University.
Dr. Bennett Cohen, a veterinarian with a background in
physiology, came to Michigan in 1962 to create a
University-wide program regarding research involving
animals. He was confronted by researchers who feared outside
interference with their projects. At that time, individual
scientists ran their own labs, hired their own staffs, bought
their own animals - and worked largely without regulations.
In the early 1960s, Cohen developed comprehensive rules
for the use of animals in the Medical School and
subsequently for the rest of the University, and then helped
write national guidelines. The result was the Unit for.
Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM), a department of the
Medical School responsible for administering the use of
animals throughout the University.
Those efforts also led to the creation to the University
Committee on the Use and Care of Animals (UCUCA).
Now all projects that involve animals in research must be
approved by UCUCA. Last year, the committe approved 725
proposals involving animal research. Dr. Daniel Ringler,
Lustig is a Daily staff reporter; Schreiber is Photo Editor.
By Michael Lustig
who succeeded Cohen as director of ULAM in 1985 and who
is an member of the committee, said only one-third to one-
half of the proposals approved are carried out, largely because
the National Institutes of Health (NIH) does not provide
funding for all approved projects.
Researchers must submit a 10-page form describing their
experiment, purpose, whether the experiment can be done by
artificial means, why the number of animals proposed is
necessary for the experiment, and what the fate of the animals
being used might be..
Most proposals are reviewed quickly, but projects using
"dogs, cats, or monkeys are looked at the hardest," said Alan
Price, associate vice president for research. Researchers who
submit applications that are vague and unclear are questioned
by UCUCA, he said.
The Humane Use category asks researchers to describe
what level of pain an animal might be subjected to. Category
A indicates little or no pain. Category B means animal will
experience some pain, and Category C experiments have the
potential for severe pain or permanant injury.
Dr. Jill Becker, an assistant research scientist in
psychology and UCUCA member, said the division between
B and C is fuZzy. She favors classifying experiments in
category C if a chance for pain exists. "I don't think anyone
wants to see animals suffer," she said.
About two-thirds of all research involving animals is done
in the Medical School, Ringler said. LSA research is done in
natural science departments like biology and chemistry.
Animals are also used in research projects in the School of
Dentistry and the School of Public Health, among others.
Animal research is done in 23 buildings on campusat a total
cost of about $35 million in 1984-85.
Most Medical School research is administered through
ULAM, a department which now has five full veterinarians
and seven more veterinary assistants. ULAM's offices offices
are hidden deep in the basement of the Medical Science I
Building. Many doors have special locks, but while security
is tight, Ringler says neither he nor the University have
anything to hide.
"We will give tours to any responsible person and take
them wherever they want to go," he said.
Ringler said animals are used in a wide range of research
activities. The development of diseases is studied and new
One of the most remar
the "nude mouse," so nam
in an area of ULAM whe
sterile. The mice are use
tumors from humans impl
then be tested on the ti
conditions cause the care fc
he said, adding, "We just
Ringler showed a pig t
pressure studies. A cath
pressure. He said inducing
which can't be done in hu
farm, and it "would have
instead, it's helping in rese;
Dr. Stevo Julius is hea
the department of internal
pressure in dogs for brief p
out whether the condition c
there is any influence by d
"In this way, we hope t
system does," Julius said.
like this in humans."
behavior and lo
She induces the
adrenal gland ti
brain to try and
Newspapers reported la:
has been performing on n
successfully on two men
Researchers in biologys
about beginnings. Yocum
cell division. Fish are used
visual systems. Zebra fish a
of spinal cord developmer
central nervous system is
Like Ringler, Yocum ir
trying to hide its animal
rooms on the ground floor
with blackened windows ar
not completely true. Som
guidelines recommend they
But other animals are held i
face the Diag and N. Univer
The ULAM facilities are
Science I and II Buildings. (
third floor to accomadate n
guidelines. The animals li
environment, light, and wa
Ringler says animals u
treated as if they were hum
the anesthesia used on anim
at University Hospitals.
"Our X-ray machine is
Health Services," he added.
The cost of the animal
much per square foot as la
dog pens, required by the Ni
Price added that because
University will have to spe
add one inch to the size of r
Much of the research d
monitored by ULAM, Yoci
involving animals is not e
experiments are being run ri
emphasis on animal experin
In some institutions on
labs have been broken int
and animals have been stole
"It's really silly," Pric
broken in to steal animal
themselves. Some animals
Ducklings like these are immunized, and then antibodies are taken to develop new immunizations. Dr. Ringler (above, left) holds a dog used in cardiovascular studies.
ways to combat them are tested in animals. Researchers also
study animals with internal systems similar to humans to get
a better understanding of the human nervous and
cardiovascular structures. Many animals are used to obtain
cells or to make anti-bodies, proteins in the blood that
combat diseases, to try and develop immunizations and cures.
Animals are obtained from a variety of places, but "the
vast majority are bred specifically for research" in the labs,
Ringler said. Prof. Charles Yocum, head of the biology
department, said researchers in his department "breed their
own rats to maintain a constant genetic pool. A slight
difference in genetic makeup can ruin an experiment."
Other animals are purchased from companies that
specialize in breeding animals for research. Some dogs and
cats used by researchers come from pounds and shelters.
Animal dealers, who must be federally licensed, buy them
from pounds after they've been held for a minimum of four
or five days. Shelters sell them for $2 to $4; dealers check
their health, condition them for research, and sell them to the
University for about $35 each.
Ringler said the number of animals the University uses
from pounds is miniscule compared to over 500,000 animals
killed in animal shelters statewide every year.
We willgive tours
to any responsible
person and take
them wherever they
want to go.'-
- Dr. Daniel Ringler (left, in his office
at the Medical School), director of the
Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine
PAGE 6 WEEKEND/APRIL 10, 1987
WEEKEND/APRIL 10, 1987