A little bromine is a dangerous thing

Discussions on the interactions between components of the environment and their effects on all types of organisms.

A little bromine is a dangerous thing

Postby TheVat on April 1st, 2021, 1:06 pm 

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/arc ... es/618413/

A decades-old mystery solved. Now sterile carp come to the rescue.
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Re: A little bromine is a dangerous thing

Postby charon on April 1st, 2021, 2:59 pm 

Interesting.
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Re: A little bromine is a dangerous thing

Postby Serpent on April 1st, 2021, 3:15 pm 

Not sure how to feel about the triumph of science here. I am sure those ducks and chickens didn't volunteer as test subjects, so we have to assume some birds are more equal than others. Or rather, humans value some birds but not others.
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Re: A little bromine is a dangerous thing

Postby doogles on April 1st, 2021, 6:30 pm 

I found that report by Sarah Zhang quite interesting TheVat. I didn't check out the original research, but took her report at face value. It was an amazing piece of research.

I can understand Serpent's concern at the use of chickens and ducks as test animals.

By the time I retired from the University of Queensland in 1996, every Institution in Queensland that used animals for research of any kind, was compelled to have permission from Animal Ethics Committees. These Ethics Committees were also required to have representation by a known animal welfare activist, a lawyer, a statistician (to ensure that the minimum numbers of animals were used to achieve desired results), as well as the researchers themselves, a Secretary, Chairman, and a person who would be in care of the animals. I served on at least three such committees -- our departmental committee, the University committee, as well as on the State Department of Primary Industries Committee for years.

It was my subjective observation that the people who were the strictest, and the most insistent on high standards of care, were the scientists on those committees. They could foresee effects from procedures that were non-existent in the minds of the lay representatives.

If anybody could conceive of alternatives to animal use, they were chosen.

So it was that chickens and ducklings were used in this research. The main thing would have been to ensure that none of those birds suffered in any way.

The alternative was just to allow bald eagles and other water birds to keep on dying.

The ethics of each situation becomes a matter of weighing up the pros and cons, and of a committee attempting to make a balanced choice.
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Re: A little bromine is a dangerous thing

Postby Serpent on April 1st, 2021, 8:03 pm 

The alternative was just to allow bald eagles and other water birds to keep on dying.

One known - in retrospect - alternative was to let wild birds keep dying. In fact, at the time those ducks and chickens were sacrificed, it was not at all clear that their brain-damage and death would lead to the definitive solution. The usual case is that a standard approach is taken, with the objective of eliminating one factor at a time, using as many test subjects as it takes - not necessarily with any useful results in each instance.
Another possible approach might have been to drain and clean the affected reservoires, or trace and remove all of the pollutants. I don't know whether there would have been any more ways to figure it out, and i'm not saying it wasn't worth figuring. I just can't help marvelling at human attitudes.

However, I do very much appreciate the concern expressed and care taken by Australian research institutions.
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