Friday, 28 February 2014

Are horseshoe crabs being bled to death?

Are horseshoe crabs being bled to death?
Blood from horseshoe crabs is an essential part of the biomedical industry. The unique blue blood that comes from the crabs help to ensure that vaccines and medical supplies remain free from bacterial contamination. But a new study raises fears that the method of bleeding wild horseshoe crabs could be affecting the population as numbers fall along parts of the US east coast.

With as much as 30% of blood taken from a crab during the bleeding process and as many as 30% dying during the process researchers from the Plymouth State University (PSU) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) think that a better way needs to be found to make sure the industry is sustainable.

“The crabs are very heavily bled — about 30 percent or more of their blood is taken, and that’s a fair amount,” says Chris Chabot, professor of neurobiology at PSU and a co-author on the study.

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