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6 Use of Pound Animals Much of the controversy surrounding animal experunentation is related to the use of anunals from pounds. This subject has become a major political issue ~ recent years. SUPPLY OF POUND ANIMALS A pound Is a facility established by local ordinance in which stray, abandoned, lost, or donated animals are held Impounded for some period, so that owners can claim lost pets or new homes can be found for the animate. A shelter is a privately established facility for such animus. In pounds and most shelters, over 90 percent of the unclaimed animals must eventually be kiDed. In the United States, more than 10 minion dogs and cats from pounds and shelters are killed each year. The annual cost of control of stray flogs and cats in the United States is over $500 million, which includes the costs of euthanasia and disposal of these 10 milBion animals. Approximately 138,000 dogs and 5(),000 cats are obtained from pounds and shelters each year for use in research and testing (Foundation for Biomedical Research, 1987), and most of these are used in acute, nonsurvival research under full anesthesia. Dogs and cats obtained Tom pounds and shelters are described as random-source animals the term used for any animal not bred specifically for research. Random-source animate are obtained from 64
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USE OF POUND ANIMALS 65 pounds and shelters or from USDA-licensed dealers that obtain them from pounds, shelters, farms, ~d other such sources. In 1983, am prox~nately IS2,000 dogs were used in research ~d testing in the United States, including pound and other random-source anunab, wed as those bred specifically for research use (Office of Technology Assessment, 1986~. REGUIATIONt3 Forty-nine states permit the use of some pound animals in re- search. Eleven states do not allow pounds withm their jurisdiction to make ants avmIable to research facilities, but peanut animals from ou~of-state pounds to be purchased through USDA-licensed dealers. Tm Massachusetts, ~l use of pound anneals ~ prohibited. SCIENTIFIC CONSIDE}lATIONS Pound animate have varied medical histories and are seen as having varied genetic backgrounds. In many experunents, the in- vestigator may determine that this variability poses no problems or may even be of value in the experunent in that these annnab pro- vide greater diversity of genetic background and hence mimic the human situation. In other experunents it ~ necessary to know ge- netic compositions and the use of purebred animal ~ necessary. In other cases the unknown health status, physiological condition (e.g., whether they are spayed or pregnant), and age of the pound animal may introduce a chance of biological and experimental variability that could interfere not only with the results obtained but also with interpretation of the data. NTH policy is that decisions as to the kinds and sources of animals appropriate for research be made by individual scientists and msti- tutions (National Institutes of Health, 1987~. For scientists whose research is already bred on raDdom-source animally, continued ac- cess to such arsenals allows them to build on extant data. It should be noted that some commercial dealers also provide randomly bred animals, but at a greater cost than that of animals from pounds. BENEFITS Dogs and cats obtained from pounds and shelters are used and have been used in research on a wide variety of diseases, ~nclud~g di- abetes, cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular ailments. For example,
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66 USE OF LABORATORY ANIMALS pound dogs were used in the development of the counter-shock treat- ment for restarting the human heart in patients whose hearts stop beating as ~ result of electric shock, heart attacks, or other causes. These anunab were used to determine the most elective means for restoring the heartbeat. In addition, most current surgical methods for treating heart and kidney dmease have been developed through research on dogs. Cats have been extensively used ~ research on the nervous system. Cats have also been used in research on visual and auditory function and may be used as a mode] for AIDS research, as mentioned in Chapter 3. COST CONSIDERATIONS Scientists seek every legitimate way to keep their costs as low as possible. They are concerned that the progress of research might be impeded if relatively inexpensive pound animals are not available. If the approximately 13B,000 pound dogs used each year for scientific research were not available, there would be a need to breed and rape additional dogs to replace them. These animals would cost researchers a substantial additional amount of money every year at current leveb of use. CONCERNS FOR TlIE ANIMALS Obtaining an~rnals from commercial breeders rather than pounds not only increases expenditures but also increases the total number of animal liver lost each ye=. Over 10 million animals already die in pounds and shelters each year, and additional animals bred for research add to the total lom of animad life. Some people contend that pound dogs and cats should be viewed differently from those bred specially for research purposes. Pound animals are not adjusted to the confinement of the laboratory, they assert, and may experience more stress because of the change from having been pets In homes (although many animals taken to pounds are unwanted or unsuitable as household pets). Animab that had been bred for research, having never experienced the social inter- action and freedom of movement of a home environment, could be considered to be affected less by their absence. However, some breed- ers of dogs and cats for research include socialization and walks as part of their policy, so these distinctions are not always so clear-cut. To avoid the concern about long-term experiments using pound animals, some individuals and humane organizations would restrict
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USE OF POUND ANlADlLS 67 the research use of pound dogs and cats that are already scheduled for euthanasia to acute nonsurvival experiments under full anesthesia. In acute nonsurvival experiments, animate do not regain consciousness after the experunent. In chronic experiment, anunab do regain consciousness. Indeed, in such experiments, not only their survival but their Fill recovery knight be an essential part of the experiment.