Speaking Up And Speaking Out
Dr. Cindy Buckmaster speaks on the importance of informing the public on the good of animal research with her presentation Stop Hiding and Change The World.
Edstrom recently had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Cindy Buckmaster, Director of the Center for Comparative Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and incoming president of the AALAS Association. Edstrom invited Dr. Buckmaster to discuss animal research as she is an inspirational speaker on this subject matter. Edstrom occasionally brings in guests to speak on different industry topics, as not everyone working at Edstrom is directly involved in the industry.
Dr. Buckmaster communicates frequently on the many benefits of animal-based research in her presentation, "Stop Hiding and Change the World." She strongly encourages individuals within the industry to communicate with those outside the industry on the importance of animal research, while providing guidance on the language of compassionate and responsible husbandry. This article reflects the views of Dr. Buckmaster as presented in her talk.
Animal-based research doesn’t always receive the respect it deserves. Some people have formed groups that spread distortions and paint inaccurate pictures of the work being done. The fabrications from these groups, without supporting data, dismantle public support for animal studies, which currently stands at about 50 percent. The truth is, animals are still necessary for research, although most people wish that was not the case.
The fear of public backlash has created a reluctance to defend animal research. But in order to shift public perception, there’s a need to challenge what they are saying. Whether a person is a lab animal technician or an employee of a third-party manufacturer, the public needs to know that the work is humane – and it positively affects people and animals all over the world. This is something that a person working in animal research, whether directly or indirectly, should be proud of.
Nearly everyone has a friend or relative with a serious illness. These are the lives that animal-based research is changing every single day, and the public needs to know that. The animal research field is filled with loving, caring, compassionate individuals who are finding cures for diseases and giving people hope. They’re the reason six-year-old children with leukemia get to be seven. They’re heroes. They hold the future in their hands, as it could be that one mouse they’re working with who happens to have the answer to Alzheimer’s disease or leukemia.
WEveryone benefits from animal-based research in many ways. From the products used to wash faces or clean homes – to the drugs taken to ease pain or treat a serious illness – to the technology utilized to evaluate bone fractures, organ function, and all kinds of internal anomalies from head to toe – they’ve all been approved safe for human use because of necessary animal-based research. And everyone, including those who object to necessary animal research, are able to enjoy these conveniences and treatments.
THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO HEAR THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
People working directly with research animals get attached to their animals. The animals are heroes to them, and the people are intensely grateful for the animals’ contributions to human and animal well-being. They develop close bonds, and it breaks their heart when the animal is gone.
"There are monkeys that I lost 12 years ago that I still can’t talk about today without crying," says Dr. Cindy Buckmaster. "One of my favorites was Dennis. I loved these animals and developed connections with them that I will never forget. These monkeys are heroes. The information that came from them is part of the ground-breaking work now happening with Alzheimer’s disease, learning disabilities and dementia. They contributed solutions to those problems."
Those who work in animal-based research believe that every life – both animal and human – has value. They do everything they can to give their animals the best quality of life possible every single day by addressing each of their needs. They provide them with clean water, food and housing; environmental enrichment to stimulate their natural behaviors; and excellent veterinary attention by specially trained vets who work with all kinds of animals – animals that naturally model certain human diseases and others that are genetically engineered to do so. These animals are treated with respect. They are loved and valued and receive highly specialized care.
Everything done in this industry is defined by love, not hate. People are doing this work because of their love and compassion for animals and people. It’s a story that must be shared – stories about the devastation a vet tech experienced following the death of a beloved monkey; or a man risking his life during a hurricane to get to the facility to make sure his baby pigs were safe and sound (even after a tree had fallen on his house), must also be told. Someone working for a manufacturer should inform people how and why their products are made. Tell people the truth. Your voice is critical in all of this. These are the stories that the rest of the world needs to see and hear.
WHAT TO SAY AND WHAT NOT TO SAY
Dr. Buckmaster realizes this can be a difficult conversation to have so she gives people in the industry the tools they need to effectively communicate their message. Words must be chosen carefully. It’s wise to avoid the words ‘animal research,’ as it fills a person’s mind with awful images. What is said after that won’t matter. It won’t be deemed credible; you will not be heard.
Avoid the mention of animals being ‘used.' Things get used, not animals. Instead say animals that you ‘work with’ or ‘study.’ "We make widgets for ‘XYZ’ institute where researchers are working with or studying mice to bring hope to cancer patients. Do you know someone suffering from cancer?" Connect your work with animals to their loved ones who benefit from it.
Don’t say "doing research on." Instead use "research with," and never say the word ‘experiments.’ Instead say ‘studies.’ Don’t refer to any animal as ‘the animal’ or ‘it.’ Rather, say "our animals" or "their animals" or "my animals." Saying ‘my’ or ‘our’ shows you’re protective of and accountable for your animals. Avoid repeating this harmful language in your conversation, even if it is used in refutation, as these words were designed to prompt negative imagery. Ignore these words entirely, and use those that really describe your interactions with and feelings for your animals. Talk about your relationships with your animals and educate your listener about how you address their species-typical needs to ensure their well-being. These may seem like subtle points, but they’re very important as far as public perception is concerned.
IT’S TIME TO CHANGE THE WORLD
"Let’s move it away from fear, blame, anger and arguments and move it in the direction of love, compassion and solutions. People involved in animal research need to start doing this today. Nurture a culture of compassion for animals and people. Tell people who you are, tell them what you do, and why you do it, and, mostly, tell them how you feel about all of it. Tell them how your work makes a difference in their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren every single day – the lives of everybody they love. You are the bridge to understanding. You are that reassuring kiss on the forehead that the public is begging for as they struggle in their hearts with the cost of progress. Use your head when you tell your stories, but more than anything, tell them from your heart." says Dr. Buckmaster.
Edstrom thanks Dr. Buckmaster for sharing her inspirational message with the Edstrom Update newsletter.
German Facilities Adopt Edstrom Technologies
The most populous country in the European Union with nearly 82 million residents, Germany is recognized as a pioneer in engineering and is home to companies such as Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim. Referred to as the land of poets and thinkers, Germany has produced many famous scientists such as Albert Einstein, Otto Hahn, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and Harald zur Hausen. Bordered by nine countries, Germany’s central European location makes it an ideal site for Edstrom to continue expanding its international work.
One of the facilities in Germany to make the switch from bottles to Edstrom automated watering is using the system to water 5,000 cages of mice and rats. An Edstrom customer for seven years, they refer to Edstrom automated watering as, "A much better solution than water bottles." This customer demonstrates that even facilities utilizing automated watering on a small scale can benefit from its many attributes."
"Edstrom automated watering is a time- and labor-saving system that provides very clean water to 5,000 rodent cages at our facility," notes the lab manager. "It’s much easier to use than bottles and is less work for our animal technicians as the physical demands of heavy bottle basket handling have been eliminated. The AWS also enables us to concentrate less on some of the technical aspects and devote our full attention to the animals." The facility experienced no challenges when transitioning to automated watering, which is partly attributed to fresh breeding in the new rooms as well as the staff taking ownership of the new system. "We saw our facility transform from a bottle intensive process to an automated water delivery system – it was impressive how all the staff and facility management made the transformation a smooth one."
The lab manager goes on to say, "We have had much success working with Edstrom. We enjoy the fast response we always receive from this United States-based company and appreciate their friendly and helpful nature. Furthermore, we are excited about the innovation they bring to our facility."
If your facility is in Central Europe contact Edstrom about how you can enhance the efficiency of your facility: email@example.com
The Pathway To Pure Water
Ultrafiltration and Reverse Osmosis Filtration Explained
Neutralizing variability is essential to scientific discovery. It has been said that if you were to look at tap water under a microscope, you probably wouldn’t want to drink it. The purity of incoming municipal water can not only vary by region, but often fluctuates seasonally as temperatures change. Understandably then, drawing water directly from a municipal water source without the benefit of purification will likely corrupt the integrity of the research. Achieving water purification by separating out impurities (or filtration) is a tiered process, and the level of pure water delivered to lab animals is directly related to how effective the filter is at removing smaller and smaller contaminants. The two most effective filtration methods currently available to science are Ultrafiltration and Reverse Osmosis.
The ultrafilter is positioned downstream of a large particle filter (such as the Edstrom Filter Bank Station). Ultrafiltration is able to strip impurities from water down to as little as 0.01 micron (µ). It is considered a biological filter, and is successful at removing 99% of all bacterium and viruses. Ultrafiltration will also remove undissolved particles from water down to 0.02µ, and as such, can be used for stand-alone filtration. The ultrafilter works by using thousands of hollow fiber membrane strands, each of which in turn contain billions of microscopic pores that catch impurities as incoming water pressure forces the water molecules toward the membrane. As the membrane strands catch particulate, filtered water flows past and transits from the ultrafilter onward to the animal watering system or a reverse osmosis unit.
The ultimate barrier for impurities in animal drinking water is reverse osmosis. It represents a finer level of filtration, expelling impurities as little as 0.001µ - making it an effective removal tool at the sub-molecular level. In fact, reverse osmosis filtration is so effective that it is counted on when studies require the use of highly refined models such as specific-pathogen-free, immunocompromised, transgenic, and knockout animals. The process of reverse osmosis involves water being forced through a semi-permeable membrane by pressure. Specifically, a percentage of the inlet source water is forced through the membrane as purified drinking water (the permeate), while the rest of the water which contains the shed impurities (the concentrate) is channeled away to drain. The percentage of purified drinking water produced from the process is considered percent recovery, and typically represents 50% of the water originally introduced into the system.
Oftentimes ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis work in tandem to provide purified water to laboratory animals. Using ultrafiltration as a prefilter to a reverse osmosis system extends the lifespan of the reverse osmosis membrane and increases the overall efficiency of the reverse osmosis machine. The ultrafilter can also be used as a contingency filter to back up the reverse osmosis system in the event of a facility power failure, since the ultrafilter can safely run for several days without power pending water pressure is maintained.
Removing impurities from the drinking water provided to your animals is a research imperative. There are a variety of purification systems available that can be effectively tailored to fit the demands of your facility, regardless of size or volume of need.
To learn more, go to www.edstrom.com/documents/ for white papers on water purification, reverse osmosis, and ultrafiltration. www.edstrom.com/documents/.
A Boost For Wireless Monitoring
Edstrom environmental movnitoring software incorporates 2.4 GHz wireless network devices, for a broader range of temperature and humidity monitoring options. These devices produce reliable communication between critical points and Edstrom’s PulseCMC™ system. Additional sensors can be introduced with minimal installation disruption, and are discretely mounted quickly and easily to permit greater flexibility and scalability as a facility’s monitoring needs advance.
Edstrom sensors boast open range signal delivery of up to 2,952 feet (900 meters), and have superior signal conveyance over standard transmitters. This allows for improved signal transmission through obstructions. The electronics within the body of the transmitter are protected by a polycarbonate housing that prevents wash down or the ingress of foreign matter. This allows for use in otherwise unfavorable conditions like wetted or dust prone areas.
Contact Edstrom for the latest details regarding PulseCMC™ wireless monitoring devices.
Q: We need to order more of the Edstrom A140 valves for the rodents in our facility. However we also use the A140 for rabbits. Are the Edstrom A140 animal drinking valves all the same?
A: The A140 Drinking Valves are not all the same. The valves in the A140 Series are divided into groups such as the 1400, 1410, 1420, 1430, etc. While some valves within each group may look similar, they are not. Valves are calibrated for different flow rates depending on the species they are intended for. The greater the body mass of the animal, the higher the flow rate required to properly hydrate them. For example, a valve intended for a mouse has a flow rate of 25 +/- 5, while a valve intended for a rabbit has a flow rate of 40 +/- 5.