The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Research Facility Goes Underground

Animal facility goes underground
Posted by Bob Grant of

The University of Iowa has gotten the green light to build a subterranean vivarium that will house experimental animals to be used in biomedical research and offer an extra measure of protection from animal rights extremists.

The Iowa Bard of Regents approved $11.2 million for the roughly 35,000 square foot facility -- which will lie under a grassy courtyard bordered by three research buildings -- last week. "Security is a huge issue with regard to biomedical research," the university's vice president for research, Jordan Cohen, told the regents, according to the Des Moines Register.

Image: By Aaron Logan
Paul Cooper, director of the university's Office of Animal Resources, told The Scientist that while protecting the facility against attacks from animal rights groups wasn't the primary impetus for putting the lab underground, its underground location "is an extra measure of security." In 2004, animal rights activists broke into animal research laboratories on the University of Iowa campus, destroying computers and laboratory equipment and stealing experimental animals. Damages sustained during the attack, for which the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility, cost the university about $425,000.

Cooper noted that the vivarium will house mainly mice but that other species, such as sheep, pigs, rabbits, and non-human primates, will also reside there. He added that its centralized location will aid biomedical researchers. "It's something that a large research institution would prefer," said Cooper, who is also the university's attending veterinarian, "instead of having a facility here and a facility there."

The university decided to add the underground vivarium to a $122.5 million plan to build the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Discovery (IIBD) on the campus, which the board approved last year. The shell space for the animal housing facility will be completed before the IIBD is fully constructed to allow builders access to the courtyard.

Construction crews have not yet broken ground on either the IIBD or the vivarium, but Cooper said that both construction projects are slated to begin within the next six to twelve months. The IIBD will likely be completed by 2013 and the vivarium shell will be outfitted with animal housing facilities, cage washing facilities, an aseptic surgery space, and other features at some later date. "


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