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By Lisa Yount

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The cages, few of which contain nesting material, slant downward slightly so that the hens’ eggs can roll onto a conveyor belt for easy removal. The cages are stacked in rows and tiers to make a huge battery that may hold thousands or even tens of thousands of birds. A layer house, or warehouse full of such batteries, may contain 80,000 hens. Once a year the hens are forced to begin molting, or dropping their feathers, usually by being deprived of food, water, and sometimes light for several days.

This test, invented in Britain in 1927, produced numerical data from which the toxic dose of a substance could be computed. It was popular because it was easy to carry out and produced the kind of quantitative data that regulatory agencies liked. However, its critics 44 I s s u e s i n A n i m a l We l f a r e a n d A n i m a l R i g h t s have said that it not only causes great suffering in the animals but is too crude to provide much useful information. The two standard irritancy tests were called Draize tests, after their inventor, John Draize of the FDA, who created them in the 1940s.

On September 11 the police searched the laboratory, confiscated 17 monkeys, and charged Taub with 17 counts of animal cruelty, one for each monkey—the first time a federally funded researcher had been charged under a state animal cruelty law. 66 The second scandal, revealed in a similar way, took place at the University of Pennsylvania’s Head Injury Clinical Research Laboratory in Philadelphia in 1984. In this case the incriminating videotape was made by the researchers themselves. Members of the Animal Liberation Front stole 60 hours of it when they broke into the laboratory in May, and PETA edited the footage into a half-hour documentary, which it distributed widely.

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