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Feb 13, 2017 08:08 AM EST

Animal Rights Advocates Urge University Of Montana To Stop Animal Experiments

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The University of Montana is known for its animal research. The school's laboratory has a wide array of animals from Siberian hamsters to the degus, a Chilean rodent. The Missoulian reported that the University of Montana has 24 active animal research projects. Moreover, Kathryn Mariucci, head of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and UM biosafety officer, said that these projects would require researchers to euthanize most of the test subjects for science.

There was a proposal for UM to open a pig research facility off-campus. However, critics had called out the faculty to find alternative experimentation methods. Faculty researchers did admit that they are using more computer modeling and cell cultures but acknowledged that there are still scientific questions that can only be answered by testing on live animals.

The animals are housed in the University of Montana Laboratory Animal Resources unit. There are three labs in total and it was estimated that it had an annual budget of $94,000.

These laboratories include surgical suites, quarantine spaces, wash rooms as well as the rooms where animals are housed. The animals' cages also contain toys.

Animal facility manager Kelly Carrick noted that the staff also trains students on how to properly handle the animals. In University of Montana's official website, it stated that the Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR) is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International since 1967.

According to the Independent Record, protesters gathered at the University of Montana to speak out against the proposed pig research facility. There was a petition that urged the school to stop animal testing and opt for digital dissection as well as simulators instead.

Back in November, University of Montana officials announced that a proposal to hire a porcine researcher was being considered. The same proposal includes the likelihood that a research facility that will focus on spinal cord testing on pigs may be developed.

PETA noted that over 100 million animals "suffer and die" in the United States every year for experiments. The tests are for various products such as drug, food and cosmetics.

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