To the Editors:

It is shocking that Bowdoin undergraduate students are performing invasive neurosurgery on rats ("Lab rats find a home in Kanbar, enrich student research," October 15). Federal law requires animal research personnel to be appropriately trained and qualified to perform any proposed procedures on animals—the procedures described are complex and could involve immense animal suffering, especially when performed by inexperienced students.

Unfortunately, current federal laws do not specifically prohibit any type of research. That is why The Humane Society of the United States has asked Bowdoin College on multiple occasions to adopt their own, internal policy preventing severe and unrelieved pain and distress. To date, Bowdoin has declined to join the 63 schools that have adopted policies. At this point, the only step in the right direction is for Bowdoin to eliminate this unethical research from their undergraduate program and show its commitment to animal welfare by adopting a policy preventing all severe animal suffering.


Kathleen Conlee Director of Program Management Animal Research Issues The Humane Society of the United States Washington, DC