Consumers of LAL/TAL and their Role in Conservation

Horseshoe crabs have inhabited the earth for approximately 470 million years.  It is only in their most recent history that they have encountered a species that has threatened their existence... humans.  To be good stewards and protect the horseshoe crab, there are things the consumers of horseshoe crab blood can do. 

Who are the consumers?

Consumers of horseshoe crab blood are not just the fisherman who use them as bait or the LAL and TAL manufacturers.  The consumers also include companies who use LAL and TAL to test products for endotoxin content, including pharmaceutical, medical device, dialysis and similar companies. 

But there is another group of consumers that may not be as obvious. If you've received a vaccine, used insulin injections, or had an IV in the hospital, you are a consumer of horseshoe crab blood. If you've ever vaccinated a pet, or had a pace maker, stent, or joint replacement implanted, you were also dependent on horseshoe crab blood. In one way or another, we are all consumers of horseshoe crab blood and all of us can play a role in conservation.

What we can do

  • LAL and TAL Manufacturers
    LAL and TAL manufacturers can use best practices in the collection and handling of the horseshoe crabs in their care.  They can also develop innovative alternative methods for endotoxin detection that can reduce or eliminate the need to bleed horseshoe crabs. 

  • Regulators and Fisheries Management Organizations
    Fisheries management and compliance with their recommendations has helped to stabilize the U.S. horseshoe crab population.  Similar regulations and the sharing of best practices can help the Asian horseshoe crab population.

  • LAL and TAL Users
    Companies required to conduct endotoxin testing on their products can support conservation by using LAL and TAL from manufacturers who use best practices in collecting and handling the horseshoe crabs.  In addition, companies can adopt alternative methods for their testing to reduce their need for LAL and TAL.

  • All of us
    We can all participate in the protection and conservation of the horseshoe crab. When we see a horseshoe crab on its back, we can simply flip it over: Just flip ‘em!™.  We can help keep beaches clean for spawning and to help maintain nursery grounds.  During the spawning season, volunteer opportunities are available to help survey the horseshoe crabs coming ashore. Learning about our neighbor the horseshoe crab and its important role in our health and the health of our pets, and sharing that knowledge, supports the sustainability of the horseshoe crab.

Learn more

See our list of companies that purchase their endotoxin detection materials from sustainable and responsible manufacturers.

Looking for more on the science? Visit our Research section.