Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dog Shortage

Pet overpopulation? What pet overpopulation? On the contrary, it seems like the shortages are already beginning.

A new report from the National Academy of Sciences says there is a serious shortage of dogs and cats required for medical research.

New suppliers of random-source cats and dogs for medical research are needed to replace Class B dealers, according to a report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

"Immediate action" is needed to identify and develop new suppliers of these animals to avoid disruptions in research activity, according to the American Physiological Society (APS) in an Oct. 26 statement endorsing the NAS report.

"These animals remain critical for health research to alleviate serious and life-threatening conditions that afflict humans and animals," the APS says.

Well, I'm not going to suggest that anyone run out and volunteer, though, perhaps some of the dedicated environmentalists could see this as the opportune solution for their carbon-hogs?

I have no objections to animal research, if it is done humanely, but this post is more about the interesting fact that there is a lack of available animals. It sounds like they used to be able to source animals from shelters, but now some states have passed laws against that. Hmm. Does that mean unwanted dogs and cats just go straight to fertilizer in those states, without any other contributions to society? Or do the laws reflect a reality in which the numbers of unwanted pets has fallen off dramatically? It's hard to say. I certainly couldn't put it past a peta-tic to prefer killing a dog or cat to doing anything else with it.

What about the vast colonies of feral cats we still hear about? Are none of the 100 million available for research?

The shortage could simply be a sign of the times, Class B dealers (those licensed by the USDA to sell animals they have not bred themselves)are rarities in this day and age when every breeder is a "puppymill" and pet stores are routinely harassed. Unfortunately, governments have gotten in on the act too, siding against individual freedom in favor of the latest political screamers, putting additional squeeze on animal research.

If it were societal pressures alone prompting a shortage, I would say so be it. Some of that animal research isn't worth the excrement the research dogs leave behind.

Still, one wonders. Government forces and screamers combined, is this the beginning of the end?

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