Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are you using "Ethical Antibodies" in your research?

Helen Shen at Nature reports on some trouble that Santa Cruz Biotechnology, a leading provider of research antibodies, has run into concerning an "unreported antibody production facility" involving 841 animals:
“The existence of the site was denied even when directly asked” of employees during previous inspections, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report finalised on 7 December, 2012. ...  The USDA, which typically inspects research and commercial animal facilities once or twice a year, inspected Santa Cruz Biotechnology operations at least nine times in 2012. A tip-off led inspectors on 31 October to the remote barn, where they found the additional goats, some of which were lame, anaemic or had protruding bones.
Several researchers I know were shocked when they heard the news about Santa Cruz.  Though apparently only 12 animals were truly sick, requiring either veterinary care or euthanasia.  I'm betting that scientists will be considering, if not requiring, proof that the antibodies they order and use in their work (at upwards of several hundred dollars each) are being produced humanely.