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Animal rights advocates want more space for lab animals

Revisions to The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals have caused an uproar among scientists and animal rights advocates. The one that has most scientists worried is the recommendations for the space allotted to female rodents and their young, National Public Radio reports.

It says that a female mouse and her litter should get at least 51 square inches, and a female rat and her young should get no less than 124 square inches.

According to The Huffington Post, many animal rights advocates believe it is not much to ask to help animals that have been responsible for a number of improvements to humanity - from treatments for diabetes to cancer.

However, scientists worry that these regulations would hinder their research. All research funded by the National Institutes of Health must comply with the Guide, which means that if research organizations cannot replace the cages, they will not be able to go forth with their work.

Joseph Thulin, director of the Medical College of Wisconsin's biomedical resource center, is quick to defend the values of his colleagues. It is not that those in the research community do not care about the animals' well-being, he told NPR. Rather, he believes there has not been enough research to prove that the increases - which would be a great trouble for  many research institutions - would have a "measurable positive impact on the animals."
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