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Case Study: Fish, Frogs, and Mice

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ORI Introduction to RCR: Chapter 4. The Welfare of Laboratory Animals

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After many years using fish and frogs to study brain function, Dr. Ruth Q. encountered some problems that can be explored only using new animal models. For the near future, she plans to turn to mice or rats, but eventually may have to do some research using cats or dogs. To help prepare the way for this new research, she decides to put a note about her plans in the progress report for her current research grant, which runs out next year.
The day after she gave a draft of the progress report to her long-time research assistant, he came to her with a troubled look on his face. Although he never told her, the main reason he applied for the job in her laboratory many years ago was the fact that she did not use warm-blooded animals in her research. If she changed her animal models as planned, he would have to quit his job and had no prospects for getting another position that paid as well and was as rewarding.
  • Does Dr. Q. have any obligation to consider her research assistant's views before she redirects his research?
  • Why are objections raised to the use of some animals in research and how can those objections be answered?
  • Why are there more objections to using some animals in research compared to others?