Anniversary of a TragedyIDA Works to Prevent Lab Drownings
On October 27, 2012, floodwaters surged the basement laboratories of NYU Medical Center as a consequence of Hurricane Sandy drowning approximately 10,000 animals trapped in their cages.
As a result, IDA has initiated a campaign to pressure the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), to prohibit the housing of animals in basement laboratories in flood-prone areas. The problem is very real; since 2001, at least 60,000 animals in basement labs in the U.S. have drowned due to flooding from severe storm surges.
While IDA opposes the use of animals in research and works toward that end, we believe that animals confined in laboratories are vulnerable and need to be protected from the horrific outcomes of such events. Death by drowning is painful and protracted, taking place over several minutes at least, as the brain and body slowly shut down from oxygen starvation.
IDA has sent a series of letters to OLAW, making it clear that further action is essential to prevent potential mass drownings from recurring. Climate changes have resulted in increasingly destructive storms, causing unprecedented flooding. A report issued by the World Bank in August 2013 identified the top 20 cities around the world most prone to flooding as sea levels rise. Five of those cities are in the US: Miami, New York, New Orleans, Tampa and Boston, all areas with universities and hospitals housing tens of thousands of animals in labs.
In response to IDA’s letters and emails from thousands of our members, OLAW updated its website in June to advise facilities to relocate animals in storm prone areas. While this is a positive step, it is not enough to truly protect animals. IDA will continue to push for a federal policy prohibiting the housing of animals in flood-prone basement laboratories.
Please join us in speaking up to make sure this tragedy never happens again. Please use form below to send a letter to NIH and OLAW officials.
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