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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title Unnecessary Animal Use
Long Title Unnecessary Animal Use
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD? (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD?
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided Some years ago, while I was still an undergraduate, I worked in a lab that did research on topics pertaining to cardiothoracic surgery. Most of the projects in the lab used animal subjects.
Our project required us to put mice to sleep by injecting chemicals, and then cannulating their hearts while the hearts were still beating. This was quite difficult because their aortas are very tiny and it was hard to insert the cannula without puncturing the vessel. Initially, the plan was to perfect the cannulation procedure on normal mice, and then perform the procedure on genetically mutant mice that would be provided to us by collaborators.
In retrospect, neither the other student nor myself had the experience to be able to perform this intricate surgical procedure. We ended up sacrificing many mice, without ever being able to establish a working model. I believe we sacrificed these mice needlessly due to our inexperience and, in fact, the inexperience of our research team. Ironically, a week after we stopped doing the procedure, a surgical fellow visiting from a foreign country took over the project and after sacrificing only a few mice was able to develop a working model within a week.
It might be expected that researchers become desensitized given the frequency with which animals are sacrificed for experiments, but I continue to feel poorly about the unnecessary sacrifice and suffering of animals.
What kinds of ethical recommendations might this situation invite in order to diminish harm to laboratory animals?
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics No Data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership Topics
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics No mentor and trainee responsibilities topics
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics No publication practices and responsible authorship topics
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics No research misconduct topics
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics No conflicts of interest_law_and policy topics
Human Subjects No human subjects

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword Students
Other RCR Keywords Aortas; Cannulating; Cannulation Procedure; Cardiothoracic Surgery; Desensitized; Experiments; Hearts; Injecting; Laboratory Animals; Mice; Sacrifice; Student; Surgical Procedure; Undergraduate
Type of Case

Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.
References Russell W M S, Burch RL. The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, 2011, Johns Hopkins University. http://altweb.jhsph.edu/pubs/books/humane_exp/het-toc

Topic revision: r1 - 31 Oct 2011 - 17:38:10 - MarkYarborough
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