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Animal Research Under Attack

Over Veteran's Day weekend, an incident pointed out how vulnerable reseachers are and how important it is to raise public awareness of the value and importance of animal research.

Break-in at University of Iowa Lab Animal Facilities

Those who do animal research are sensitized to the political nature of their work -- almost each year at convention there are demonstrators at research talks about work using non-human subjects, and there are PETA ads decrying the use of animals in national magazines and newsletters. Most typically, the worst a researcher needs to contend with is disruption. However, over Veteran's Day weekend, another incident pointed out how vulnerable reseachers are and how important it is to raise public awareness of the value and importance of animal research.

Over the weekend vandals caused extensive damage to laboratory animal facilities, faculty and graduate student offices at the University of Iowa (UI). According to a news release from UI, it looks as though the damage was in two buildings, both of which are home to the behavioral and cognitive science program, in the Department of Psychology. Vandals released lab rats and mice, spilled hazardous materials, and destroyed computers and other equipment. The consequences for the researchers affected are substantial -- the University has closed the building while authorities, including the FBI, National Guard, and local HAZMAT officials assess the chemical spills, and to conduct a criminal investigation -- which means that all research work has stopped for an unknown period of time.

APA is monitoring the situation and will issue a statement about the value and importance of animal research. For more information, see the press release.