Remembering Animals Drowned at NYU Labs

April 25th, 2013 by Barbara Stagno


Six months after Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast in October 2012, we must not forget the 10,000 rats and mice who died in laboratories at New York University Medical Center in New York City, where they were left to drown as floodwaters surged into the basement, trapped in cages with no means of escape.

IDA believes that NYU Medical Center did not do everything possible to protect the lives of the many thousands of animals who died a miserable death, drowned in kerosene and sewage tainted icy waters from the East River. Warnings of the storm’s huge size and arrival were given as early as five days before it hit NYC.

In contrast, we were moved by the account from John’s Hopkins Medical Center, also struck by Superstorm Sandy, where the dean and senior staff formed a human chain on Monday night, October 27, as floodwaters poured into the Koch Cancer Research Building, to painstakingly move cages with mice to safety.

Since 2001, an estimated 52,000 animals have reportedly drowned when basement-located animal facilities were flooded by severe storms. These staggering numbers of animals drowned while trapped in lab cages are inexcusable. It’s time to demand that research facilities keep their animal laboratories out of the basement. Animals confined in laboratories need to be protected from horrible death by drowning.

This should also be an advantageous time NYU to cut down on the use of animals and employ more modern, humane and effective methods to continue their research, including cell cultures, computer models and human-based studies. Rather than acquire more animals, NYU should shift from archaic animal experiments to updated non-animal technologies.

Speak out to help stop more tragedies in the future:

1) Send emails to NYU asking that they prevent such an event from ever happening again and rebuild their labs, incorporating non-animal research methods.

2) Then demand that the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) immediately promulgate a policy requiring research facilities to house animals on higher elevations, especially in flood prone areas.