Hurricane Sandy killed thousands of lab rodents at NYU in lower Manhattan


23 Responses to “Hurricane Sandy killed thousands of lab rodents at NYU in lower Manhattan”

  1. . . . They were just left caged in a basement to be drowned?  COME ON, HUMANITY!  Animal testing is bad enough, but jeez.

  2. acerplatanoides says:

    If any escaped, could they interbreed with the street rats? There’s going to be some habitat opening up soon.

  3. snailspace says:

    Poor lab rodents.  What a terrifying way for them (or anything) to die.

    • Funk Daddy says:

      Drowning isn’t too bad IMO, on a scale of what is terrifying to the animal in terms of what bred captive mice are used for.

      When killing larger numbers in places I’ve worked I found freezing to be the least cruel, these would be food animals, not research in this case. 

  4. Sorry to be a pedant, but 1st and 30th isn’t anywhere close to “lower Manhattan.”

    • Funk Daddy says:

      That would be a strong indicator of why they were not moved, if it wasn’t in Zone A or B. … 

      checked, that was Zone A. Someone seriously fucked up, the zones were predominantly flood/surge warning.

      This should not have happened, they could have spent a few hundred grand, or really any amount moving those mice and come out way ahead, but according to the article they thought the building was safe against flooding by design. I guess my own reaction would be if the people have to go the animals should too regardless of what the facility is supposed to be able to withstand.

  5. Red Monk says:

    Oh Gee the Death of Rats is going to be working overtime this week.

  6. Steve Miller says:

    That’s going to be an interesting insurance claim.

  7. Funk Daddy says:

    This has happened before during tropical storm Allison (similar storm danger, low winds but massive, massive rain, but not such a huge storm surge as Sandy) in Houston at the TMC mouse house. Thousands of expensive mice/rats/other drowned when basements flooded.

    As for moving them, unless flooding is a certainty it would be tough to justify economically, because it would be a massive effort. 

    I once worked tending lab mice, about 500, and it might be surprising to some how much space they take up in those kinds of numbers. Especially as once they are on a research track they must be kept segregated according to the guidelines of the work being done. That can mean as much as one cage about 6″ x 8″ per mouse. 

    Allison was an awesome storm rain-wise. No one paid it much mind, just your typical Gulf coast tropical storm, until it parked on Houston and rained and rained and rained. 

    They say thousands but I would not be surprised to learn it was tens of thousands if rats/mice were also being bred there but not in any research work yet.

    • dfoic says:

      I was there at the time. It was tens of thousands of research animals — I think Baylor lost around 30,000 animals and UT Houston lost all of their animals. I think Baylor managed to get their large animals out in time, but if I remember correctly, there were a few large animals in the basement at UT Houston that were lost. It was really a tragedy. Scientists and institutions spend a lot of time trying to minimize the amount of stress and harm that they cause their research animals, and have numerous protocols in place that are standardized across institutions to ensure humane conditions. Something like this really throws a spanner in the works. This is not even mentioning the years and years it can take to construct some of these mouse lines.

      • Cocomaan says:

        “Scientists and institutions spend a lot of time trying to minimize the amount of stress and harm that they cause their research animals, and have numerous protocols in place that are standardized across institutions to ensure humane conditions.”This is an understatement. The OLAW and USDA keep a very, very close eye on research animals. Mice are one thing, but try keeping dogs for research – the USDA will be in your institution several times a year doing spot inspections that take days. Animals in research are treated much better than humans (until their demise, that is), as they cannot give informed consent. For instance, animals must have fresh air, meaning air in these spaces is changed out every minute. Yes, every minute. There’s no place of employment I can think of that has that kind of standard.

        Source: worked on an IACUC committee. 

    • crnk says:

      I think one thing to remember with the TMC disaster is that the event was specifically engineered into the building design…except that the human factor failed and someone forgot to seal flood doors.  TMC also had generators in the basement and the flooding downed back up power because these rooms flooded. 
      Contrast that with the symphony (which I think might be a closer example): they lost a lot because they used the basement as storage without a flood scenario on their minds.

  8. johnyaya says:

    Well, try to look at it scientifically  at least we know for sure now that drowning kills rats 100% of the time.

  9. Anony Mouse says:

    They were all going to develop cancer anyway.

  10. Boundegar says:

    Genetically modified rats and mice drowned?  Sure they did.  That’s what they want you to think.  I’ll bet they made a clean getaway and are telepathically linking right now into an intelligent superbeing.

    And a guy named Willard is running for President.

  11. nicholas1987 says:

    Pinky and the Brain, brain brain brain brain….

  12. JProffitt71 says:

    What a horrible unnecessary tragedy. Just horrible.

  13. elusis says:

    We’re so busy talking about mice and rats; has there been any word about how the people living in NYC subway tunnels have fared?  Or the homeless in general?

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