California: My Neighbor The Rat

My Neighbor The Rat

When the Buck Center for Research in Aging proposed to conduct research on rats and other rodents at the $30 million facility it plans to build in suburban Marin County, some residents sounded the alarm. Animal-rights activists warned that studying the beasts would lead to unnecessary cruelty and that the laboratory could be a source of dangerous medical wastes. But another ominous potential threat, opponents argued, was that living near the center might make people feel bad about themselves.

Faced with rising protests last week, the county planning department warned in a letter to Mary McEachron, administrative director of the center,...

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