mellowtigger: (dna mouse)
[personal profile] mellowtigger
They say that man's best friend is the dog, but another creature has suffered on our behalf and contributed more to our well being than all the canines ever have. The lowly mouse is so very similar to us in genes and health and disease. This similarity costs it a great deal of ill treatment. I'm not opposed to learning from animal experimentation, but I would like to believe that the usefulness of a particular animal test has been appropriately reviewed and validated.

In 2006, Daniel Hackam of the University of Toronto looked at how many animal-based experiments had been later verified by successful human trials. Out of 76 studies published between 1980 and 2000, 28 were successfully replicated in human randomised trials, 14 were contradicted in trials, and 34 remained untested. ... None of this should put a negative spin, however, on the importance of mice in research. So far, 26 Nobel prizes have gone to discoveries where research on mice has been key, including work on vitamins, the discovery of penicillin, the development of numerous vaccines and understanding the role of viruses.

So, we use them.

We freeze them for 16 years, thaw their carcass, then extract cells to clone them into new mice. (Japanese or English)
To A Mouse;
On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough
by Robert Burns in November 1785

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!
But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

We inspire creativity by encouraging people to build a better mouse trap.

We use them as hosts for our parasitic additions to their bodies, like this cow cartilage shaped into a human ear configuration.

In the interest of science, of course, we even levitate them by lifting magnetically every molecule of water in their body.

And yet... and yet... every once in a while, this timid relative of ours (who looks more like the first mammal than we ourselves do) can surprise us when it's driven by bravery or curiosity or plain old-fashioned hunger.

I hope that we can accumulate sufficient knowledge to eventually make live animal testing unnecessary. I hope we reach a point where we can turn the animals loose and thank them for their generations of service. Although they'd likely not understand the gesture (Rats of NIMH excepted?), perhaps we could still hold a small ceremony to commemorate that their descendants are finally free from such poor treatment. I hope we can keep an accounting and someday provide to them the same medical benefits that they have provided to us.

It was 5 years ago (2004 September 13) that I found a story about researchers at Columbia University (City of New York) producing mice with autistic behaviors by injecting them with thimerosal.   I suspected that the mice in such experiments would be killed in order to examine their brains post mortem. Just in case, though, I emailed the researcher to offer my services to coordinate a "mouse relocation program". If any mice survived their experiments and were no longer of use to the scientists, I would pay to ship them to new adoptive homes. I was willing to adopt the autistic mice similar to the way that used greyhound dogs are rescued from their industries too. Patricia Clark offered to adopt a pair of them, if I ever got my relocation program running. I never heard back from the researcher, unfortunately.

I make no apologies for myself having descended from omnivores. My diet already leaves me short of appropriate B12 resources. I will continue to eat animals, although I'd rather pick genetically engineered berries that alone can meet all of my nutritional needs. Even if someone finally engineers such a plant, how will we determine the safety of these berries in the human diet?

Before any human, of course, we will feed such berries to a mouse.


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