The Ohio State University continues in its efforts to separate the public's views of animals it uses for research into the "lower" and "higher" animals, the "higher" animals being primates, dogs, cats, and rabbits; the "lower" animals being rats and mice.

OSU distributed a press release April 3, 2003, which stated , "The university is constantly working to reduce the number of animals required to conduct its research projects and uses alternative approaches to animal use when and where they are feasible"

Not true. In 1989, OSU used 36,432 animals. In 2002, the number of animals used has increased to 77,056. Since 1999, the numbers of rats and mice used for research has more than doubled going from 31,014 in 1999 to 71,960 in 2002. Rats and mice are also more likely to fall into the category of "E" experiments. "E" category experiments are those where the animal can experience pain or distress that is NOT relieved. Because the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not recognize rats and mice as animals, their numbers are not reported to USDA and a justification for such animals in an "E" category does not have to be reviewed by USDA. OSU noted that the numbers of primates had been reduced from 185 in 1989 to 21 at the end of 2002. The reduction in primates usage is primarily due to the loss of an NIH grant which was funding a cotton-top tamarin colony. The goals of the research were apparently not being met, so NIH decided to stop funding the research.

Another primate study which has since been halted, due to a loss of funding, was for xenotransplantation experiments. The criteria for survival of the primates was never met and private funding stopped.

So the reduction in primates is only due to lack of funding, not because of any higher motivation. As a side note, since December 2002, the Institutional Laboratory Animal Care and Use Committee (ILACUC) has approved for use in research projects an additional 66 primates over the next three years.

The reduction of dogs is in part due to an increase in the numbers of pigs being used for research. While the number of dogs was reduced from 1,501 in 1989 to 524 in 2002, the numbers of pigs being used increased from 272 in 1989 to 620 in 2002.

Rats and mice are considered by the research community as "test tubes with tails." They are not. Rats and mice are highly intelligent, inquisitive animals with well-developed social behaviors. Researchers do not want the general public to see mice and rats sympathetically.

The numbers of animals used for experimentation continues to increase. OSU is currently adding structures which will provide the capability to house an additional 40,000 rats and mice. POET will continue to speak out against this increase and the approval of research projects by the ILACUC. We are the voice of the voiceless. If we do not speak for them, it is obvious no one else will.