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Catch and ReleaseThe Enduring Yet Vulnerable Horseshoe Crab$
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Lisa Jean Moore

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479876303

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479876303.001.0001

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(p.94) 4 Bled
Catch and Release

Lisa Jean Moore

NYU Press

In 1964, Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL), developed from horseshoe crab blood, was discovered as an effective pryogen test. Limulus blood reacts to endotoxins by forming a gel. The LAL test, constructed from horseshoe crab amoebocytes, has become the standard test in the United States, Europe, and Asia to test pharmaceutical injectables and pharmaceutical insertables for biomedical and veterinary uses. Without it, endotoxins could contaminate all of our laboratory studies, our bodies, and other nonhuman animal bodies. We’ve made horseshoe crabs indispensable to our human and veterinary biomedicine. We need their blood, and as health care demand grows, we will need more and more. I explain how blood donations are detrimental to the crabs. Furthermore, I explain how the LAL test is a not lifesaving test but is instead used for quality control. Even with all of this information and the viability of a synthetic alternative, the bureaucracy surrounding the procedure for switching to the synthetic alternative will prevent the switch from happening until most of the crabs have died. They are not valued like humans are; they are instead valued for their use to humans and will be valued that way until they are used up.

Keywords:   Limulus amoebocyte lysate, LAL, pyrogen test, endotoxins, pharmaceutical injectables, pharmaceutical insertables, blood donation, horseshoe crabs, synthetic alternative, biomedicine

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