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Animals as Cold Warriors: Missiles, Medicine, and Man's Best Friend banner written in red lettering.

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Atomic Animals

During the Second World War, medical researchers and antivivisectionists drafted animals, primarily dogs, as partisans in the struggle over animal experimentation. With the rise of Cold War, pervasive anticommunism and fears of atomic annihilation moved animals and animal experimentation to center stage, mediating fierce conflicts over medical research and international politics.

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A newspaper article from the Los Angeles Times with the title: Animals Used in Bikini A-Bomb Test Reported to Be 'Dying Like Flies'.

Animals Used in Bikini A-Bomb Test Reported to Be 'Dying Like Flies'
(Los Angeles Times, July 15, 1946)

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Two microfilmed half-tone photos. On the left is Pig 311 being fed by seaman. On the right a seaman holds Goat 315 up by its front hooves.

Arriving in the Washington Navy Yard in September 1946, Pig 311 and Goat 315--both rare survivors of the Bikini explosion--are readied for transfer to the National Zoo.
(Washington Post, September 25, 1946; microfilmed half-tone photos)


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Three scenes from the United States Air Force Film: Operation Plumbob Military Effects Studies. The top scene is of military scientific personnel wearing protective gear and masks are corralling and gauging atomic blast and radiation burned pigs. The center scene is a close up of a military scientific perso wearing protective gear and a mask crouching on the ground holding a pig while a gauge tests the pig. The bottom scene is of two military scientific personnel wearing protective gear and masks loading pigs onto a truck.

As part of the 1957 Operation Plumbbob atomic tests in the Nevada desert, military scientific personnel corral and gauge atomic blast and radiation burned pigs before loading them onto trucks for further research.
(United States Air Force Film: Operation Plumbbob Military Effects Studies.
Declassified January 14, 1997)

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A 1952 advertisement created by the National Society for Medical Research and sponsored by Pitman Moore Pharmaceuticals showing a dog in the fore-front of an illustration of the atomic bomb exploding. Below is text featuring the title We must thank animals if Good Comes from the Atomic Bomb.

"We must thank animals if Good Comes from the Atomic Bomb." While military officials used animal experimentation to secure greater public support for atomic weaponry, scientists routinely highlighted military utility to garner popular support for animal experimentation, as can be seen in this 1952 advertisement created by the National Society for Medical Research and sponsored by Pitman Moore Pharmaceuticals.
(NLM, MS C 417, Box 73)