Animal Factory

Sat, 04 Feb 2017 11:10:57 +0000


Last week, I took some time to read about some protocols, procedures and methodologies that are used to breed rats (lab mice) in some advanced laboratory that I am not going to name but based in the USA…


I would like to share some of the highlights that I picked from the study…but I will not delve into the details of the study and I will leave out certain advanced aspects such as CRISPR-case (for genetic engineering enthusiasts)…..The idea behind the disclosure is simple and is basically to motivate African governments in general and the Zambian Government in particular to begin having interest in promoting laboratory science even if it is on very simple and basic protocols in areas such as human-human, animal-human viral infections, testing of water reticulations, testing chemical components in vaccines, atmospheric chemical contents and all edibles. We may not get to the levels of some of these advanced laboratories but with political will we can slightly go beyond screening for pathogens, bacteria and viruses etc. Where we have difficulties with particular aspects we can still network with other advanced and more “friendlier’ laboratories. Everything is possible. That is what responsible governments do…Our defence forces with this reservoir of peace around could accommodate these labs because of the order and discipline in the armies but the biggest challenge would be meeting challenges that border on “innovations” especially if they are government controlled…The challenge with commercially run laboratories among others would be lack of funding, prone to both internal and external influences…

Here are some of the technical highlights….

Historically, for decades European and Japanese mouse ‘fanciers” had been breeding animals with interesting behaviours or particular coat colours. Mouse genetics was not a science, but it was a well-practiced art……

At this particular laboratory and similar advanced Labs mice are used to study cancer, immunology, diet, neuropathology and more…..

From this laboratory you can buy a mouse that is given to something like depression, or to something like Alzheimer’s disease, or that just sits around like a couch potato, growing unhealthier by the day…..

A study published in 2014 showed that mice in pain studies experienced extreme levels of stress if the researchers handling them were men, but not if they were women… a difference no one had thought to look for or report….

In 2016, a furious debate erupted about how studies might be affected by the labs mouse’s micro-biome, the bacteria that live on it. These microscopic fellow travellers differ among strains of mice. Otherwise, identical mice bred in different places or even in the same mouse from one season to the next. Science is just now figuring out how much difference these bugs make to human health…


Some of us that have been brought up in villages will agree that basic genetic engineering as an art has been practiced among cattle herders. Cattle herders will always seek a male bull from another Kraal to cross breed with their animals to produce stronger animals with stronger immunity. That is the basis of CRISPR-Cas9 (for as long as genetic engineers stick to agreed international protocols that are based on morality)…

If micro-biome and pathogens have an effect on the health of mice in laboratories why is attention placed on the prevention of such only during surgery and yet pathogens have an effect on patients whether being carried by medical personnel or patients themselves. And when do such discoveries trickle down to third-world countries such as Zambia?

The effect on stress levels if a mice is being attended by a male or a female is also an interesting development worth pursuing besides the fact that even the type of music in one’s environment will have an influence on the recovery process of both mice and humans. Quite some interesting things out there.

John Noel Lungu


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