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Laboratory Rabbit
Rabbits have been and continue to be used in laboratory work such as production of antibodies for vaccines and research of human male reproductive system toxicology. Experiments with rabbits date back to Louis Pausture's work in France in the 1800s. In 1972, around 450 000 rabbits were used for experiments in the United States, decreasing to around 240 000 in 2006.[1] The Environmental Health Perspective, published by the National Institute of Health, states, "The rabbit [is] an extremely valuable model for studying the effects of chemicals or other stimuli on the male reproductive system."[2] According to the Humane Society of the United States, rabbits are also used extensively in the study of bronchial asthma, stroke prevention treatments, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and cancer.[3]

Rabbit cultivation intersects with research in two ways: first, the keeping and raising of animals for testing of scientific principles. Some experiments require the keeping of several generations of animals treated with a particular drug, in order to fully appreciate the side effects of that drug. There is also the matter of breeding and raising animals for experiments. The New Zealand White is one of the most commonly used breeds for research and testing. Specific strains of the NZW have been developed, with differing resistance to disease and cancers. Additionally, some experiments call for the use of 'specific pathogen free' animals, which require specific husbandry and intensive hygiene.[3]

Animal rights activists generally oppose animal experimentation for all purposes, and rabbits are no exception. The use of rabbits for the Draize test,[48] which is used for, amongst other things, testing cosmetics on animals, has been cited as an example of cruelty in animal research. Albino rabbits are typically used in the Draize tests because they have less tear flow than other animals and the lack of eye pigment make the effects easier to visualize. Rabbits in captivity are uniquely subject to rabbitpox, a condition that has not been observed in the wild.[3]

External Links


  1. A review of trends in animal use in the United States (1972–2006) -
  2. The use of rabbits in male reproductive toxicology -
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 WikiPedia-Domestic_rabbit-Laboratory_rabbits ~

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