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Rutgers Spent Over a Million Dollars Euthanizing Mice During the Pandemic

Rutgers Spent Over a Million Dollars Euthanizing Mice During the Pandemic

“were euthanized in early 2020, as the campus closed due to the coronavirus pandemic”

I have never been happier to not work in a university lab.

The College Fix reports:

Euthanizing mice during the pandemic shutdown cost Rutgers over $1 million

Putting up to 23,000 laboratory mice to death during the COVID-19 shutdown cost Rutgers University over $1 million, according to The Daily Targum.

The mice, which resided at the Rutgers Biological and Health Science laboratories, were euthanized in early 2020, as the campus closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On August 28 of 2020, Rutgers applied for a COVID-19 aid grant from the State of New Jersey. In the application document, the school itemized $30.8 million in pandemic-related losses that it was asking the state to reimburse.

Among these losses were $1.15 million in losses associated with euthanizing mice.

“Loss of research animals required for student/postdoc training,” the request reads. “RBHS was forced to eliminate 4,600 cages of mice, each containing an average of five mice. Assuming an average cost of $50/mice.”

It is unclear whether the loss is associated with the cost of killing and disposing of the mice or whether it reflects the value of the mice lost as an asset.

Initially the school’s Office of Research denied any mice were euthanized.

“In line with peer research universities across the nation, we prepared for multiple contingencies as part of our emergency pandemic response plan,” the office wrote to the Targum.

“This planning included a worse-case scenario that may have led to the euthanization of animals should the food and other critical supply chains have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Fortunately, there were no such disruptions and we never reached this stage of the emergency plan.”

But a Rutgers spokesperson later confirmed that mice had been euthanized and the school would be receiving $1.15 million in taxpayer-funded aid to compensate for the loss.

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Comments

Those must have been some pretty tough mice! The average cat kills them for free.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to irv. | November 11, 2021 at 10:10 am

    I was thinking the very same thing. Get a pride of cats and chip them all. Then, turn them loose.

    My reason for chipping the cats is to make tracking them an easy task.

    Rutgers can make arrangements to rent the Cat Detector Van from the UK’s Ministry of Housynge.

$150 gets you a Have-A-Heart cage and a horse trough at Tractor Supply. Best part is that you can use them over and over. We do.

Now they should kill rats in NYC, since the City won’t. (Politicians protecting kindred spirits)

It sounds funny to read this on the surface, but without details, we don’t know how the money was itemized. They are not always the generic garden variety white mice. Many labs now run with specific lines of designer mice where genes have been previously inserted or deleted. We had a line where the beta-endorphin gene had been knocked-out. We eliminated an entire chemical transmitter from their system, and yet things went on as normal, such are functions that are so important that multiple redundancies have been built in via natural selection. Another popular manipulation is to attach a fluorescent protein to a “gene of interest.” That way, under a microscope, one can study only those cells which produce a specific hormone or other product. It really is a bit of science fiction these days.

So the cost of euthanizing can either be the cost of the process (a 5lb block of dry ice and a big garbage can works for me) or the cost of the animals which were destroyed, and a cost of a custom mouse that glows green can be hundreds of $$ per specimen.

I expect the cost is to replace the mice, rather than the actual euthanizing process. Like MajorWood, my department uses mice and rats for research and the cost of them is not cheap. These are not wharf rats or church mice, but are specifically bred for genetic characteristics. The money for them comes from grants and those giving the grants want results before more money is given. Thankfully, our facility was able to keep our animals alive and researchers who could justify it to the University Provost were able to continue their research, but no new research was started for about 6 months.

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