Rats in space

Rogene Eichler [mf12801] eichler at i3.msi.umn.edu
Fri May 21 11:58:56 EST 1993

Hello, all!

I am NOT an animal rights activist, but I am looking for more 
information on an article that was forwarded to me from the 
A.R. newsgroup. It was originally printed in the Wednesday, 
May 19, 1993 Chicago Sun-Times. Can anyone provide me with 
the other side of the arguement? I am NOT interested in 
starting a thread on animal rights. (You would be preaching 
to the choir as I am an animal research advocate.)


1) Why can we assume that an experiment of this nature with mice
is adequate to model the effects of weightlessness on humans?

2) What is the question being asked in these experiments? (Is 
anyone reading this involved with those experiments?)

3) Under what conditions would I consider the n = 5 to be too
small to generate any statitically significant information? (There
are many experiments, such as work in systems neuroscience, where
the number of animals is almost always less than 5.) 





While biomedical researchers scream that their image is unfarily tarnished
by allegations from animal rights organizations, they blithely set about
concocting other bizarre experiments.  The latest:  beheading rats in space.

The claims that this experiment will advance the treatment of diseases such
as nuscular dystrophy and osteoporiss are simply false.  There is something
to be learned about bone loss in space, but the astronauts themselves are
the subjects of this experiment, as they have been since extended space
flight became possible.  As a scientist who carried out many experiments
with animals before joining the staff of the National Anti-Vivisection
Society, I can state without reservation that a tiny white mouse, weighing
only a few grams, simply cannot model the effects of weightlessness on
humans.  Besides, any experiment with a subject group of five mice has
absolutely no chance of "proving" anything because the number of samples is
too small for statistical evaluation.

- Donald J. Barnes, director of education, National Anti-Vivisection Society

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