At a time when most of us had not even thought of panic-buying toilet paper, Andreas Lengeling was stocking up on boxes of hay and aspen wood bedding, food pellets and veterinary drugs. He did not want to rely on external suppliers for the following three months. It was the end of February, and he was bracing himself for the coronavirus pandemic to hit Germany. As the animal research and welfare officer at the Max Planck Society, Lengeling’s main responsibility is to ensure that the 65 species of animals housed across its research institutes in Germany and abroad are well cared for. These include insects, rodents, fishes, clawed frogs, song birds and larger vertebrates like alpacas. In March, US-based researchers gave accounts of how lockdowns and stay-in-place orders made it difficult to take care of lab animals. Thousands of mice have been culled. This is partly due to staff shortages as older and vulnerable people resort to working from home. Most experiments have also ground to a halt. A researcher in Colombia even carried 100 turtle eggs to her house to protect them. Quick action and teamwork “I’m absolutely concerned about these reports,” says Lengeling. “It’s really heartbreaking to hear.” Read… Read full this story
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