Another “unknown” victim of the pharmaceutical industries; the horseshoe crab. The horseshoe crab is used to anyone who has received an injectable medication. An extract of the horseshoe crab’s blood is used by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to ensure that their products, e.g., intravenous drugs, vaccines, and medical devices, are free of bacterial contamination.
amielle, is this true????
This is to be true. However, if you read the link the companies (and there are only five of them licensed to do this, and it is EXTREMELY regulated) that bleed crabs take every precaution to not be assholes about it — they don’t use injured or weak crabs so they don’t risk hurting or killing them, they take the bare minimum (like donating a pint at the blood bank) and they return the crabs far enough away from the site they were harvested at so they don’t risk getting re-caught for bleeding.
Thaaats right. The crabs are returned to the open ocean. In the meantime, researchers are attempting to produce the necessary element to the blood without having to bleed the crabs.
Is it ideal? Not really. Crabs can’t talk to us and give consent to donate their blood, and it’s probably really scary and a bit painful. That’s why we’re working on finding a way to take the crabs out of the equation entirely.
Why is their blood so necessary? Because an ingredient in it is a superclotter that works around contaminants.
The FDA requires testing with that ingredient - LAL - because it’s the safest and most effective way to ensure that your medicines and medical devices (pacemakers, implants, stints, prosthetics) are clean and safe for human use.
There is no other safe means of determining that that are as effective. If you want possibly not-sterile pacemakers, then by all means, quit bleeding the crabs.
Personally, I’m just going to lobby for more science funding so we can get that synthetic LAL as soon as possible.
talk about being on the horn of a dilemma.
These are among the oldest animals on the face of the earth, if they aren’t the oldest. It makes me a little queasy to know they’re being kidnapped and milked and dumped someplace that’s not their home.