Sorry, the title probably doesn’t help, does it? But it’s an intriguing question.
Recently a group of Japanese scientists published some fascinating results. Click here to read. They housed lab mice in basic accommodations. Let’s call this the Motel 3 group (just bedding, food, and water). Then they injected the mice with cancer cells. 100 days later, almost 80% of them developed cancer growths. So far nothing unusual, right? Well, they had a second group of mice, that got a very modest upgrade of one “furniture” item – an igloo-shaped shelter. These slightly better treated guests were called the “Minimum Environmental Enrichment” group. These mice also were injected with cancer cells, but this time, 100 days later, less than 10% of them developed cancer growths. Unbelievable! I’ll take an igloo-shaped shelter over chemotherapy and surgery in a heartbeat. Further investigation suggested that the less stressed mice had a stronger immune system and were therefore able to defeat the injected cancer cells better.
Just prior to encountering this publication, I had attended two eye-opening webinars by a small, well reputed company in New Jersey called Bio-Serv, about creative ways to reduce stress in lab mice. Since then, they’ve sent me so many samples to try on the mice, and the mice are super happy. They have all kinds of “toys” and receive all kinds of treats and rewards.
It’s been said, “Happy mice make happy scientists,” because the experimental results are more robust and of higher quality. I also love my mice! They are the heroes in Daniel 2:28, Inc.
If you are interested in reading more about animal welfare, read an earlier post, “Genesis and the use of animals in research.”
I also want to say, “Thank you,” to Bio-Serv.