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A day in the life of an animal technologist

One of those pink gowns very fetching just through here through there before we have a look around, what do you do in a normal day? The staff have got different rotas to do. So, some will go and do the rats, some will go and do the monkeys and some will go and do the rabbits.They are all checked first thing in the morning, all the cages are looked into to make sure that everything is healthy. and then we check their food and their water. and then all the cages have to be scraped out and they have to be washed and saw dusted and put back into the rooms ready for us to use again. What changes have you seen since you have been working with animals? Has there been a reduction? There has been a big reduction since I have been here. We used to years ago use many larger animals, We used to have baboons. and macaques. Cats and dogs we don’t have anymore. So there has been a change like that over the years. and also within the actual use of rodents, there has been a decline in the number of animals because the licencees have refined experiments, there is new technology out now sometimes the computers can take over where we used to use our live animals before, we are now using computerized images.

So things have changed over the years, definately. In this room we have roughly 400 mice and we have got 2 rooms like that so, 800 mice in this unit at the moment. and what you want to use them for? These are destined to be used by the dental group they are looking at salivary glands. So, apart from cleaning out the animals, we also need to check to see if they are pregnant.

In this box we think that we have a pregnant animal, so we will just see if she is allright. We can see that she has got a nice big round tummy. and so therefore she is definately pregnant. She is probably about 2 weeks pregnant, so she has another week to go because mice are three weeks before they have their babies, 3 weeks gestension. Having been happy that she is still ok we can put her back nicely in her box and leave them to it. The male stays with the female he won’t attack the babies, these are quite amiable, mice.

So, who are these fellows then? This is our rat room and these are couple of friendly rats which we use for training purposes. We use the animals quite a bit and they are friendly and I thought they might like to say hello to you today. If you are not too frightened to handle them? You are happy for that? Jolly good.

Okay, they are up for it. There you go. I have got both of them. Not sure if I can handle this. Allright There you go, these are Lister Hooded rats. They have got a black hood that’s why they are called Lister Hooded just another strain of a typical laboratory animal that we use here. They are very friendly Is he very calm with being held? A lot of people give rats a bad press.

A lot of people don’t like these tails but, it’s going to go in your hair. If you just move to the cage, she will jump in. There you go, well trained. Amazing. So, what is what is the difference in terms of how often you feed them? No difference at all. They are fed exactly the same as the mice are, 2 or 3 times a week we top up the food. Their water is topped up 2 or 3 times a week. They have the same sort of bedding, materials, except their tunnels are obviously a lot bigger than the mouse tunnels, but other than that they are treated very much the same as the mice. If we lift this off, just take it off you might see a big fat guinea pig. and what what do you use these for? These are being used for respiratory work.

They find out they are studying Asthma. All the years we have had guinea pigs we have had one escape. and it spent all its time sitting in the food offer and it didn’t go anywhere at all They are not the brightest of animals but nevertheless they do do us a favour again because they are good for research. These guys are being used for heart work. They are looking at making them as if they got heart trouble. They are on high fat diet at the moment their diet is a normal diet but it has got a high cholestral in it, mixed in it. What made you want to go into this kind of work? I didn’t really want to do this work to start with. I wanted to work in the zoo or be a Vet, but I saw this advertised and I came along to give it a try. When I first started I didn’t really think that I’m going to stay here It was admittedly 40 years ago that I started and in them days we used to have quite a lot of dogs and there was chap that used to look after the dogs and he never bothered cleaning them up or anything like this and they were in their own muck and mess and I said to him, why don’t you clean the dogs out? His answer to me was why bother they are going to die anyway.

I thought that was a very terrible thing to say and I thought I can’t abandon these animals now, they need people here unlike him. They need people here that are going to care for these animals and I’ve stayed here ever since, doing that very job looking after these animals. I feel as if I’m doing my bit for these animals. If I was really pushed to answer; do I believe in animal research, no I don’t. I don’t like it. I understand why it has to be done, I accept why it has to be done. I’m hoping in the years and years to come, there will be no research and animals won’t have to be used. That would be great but all the time they are being used Lets have people in charge of them who care. At the end of the day, all these animals are doing us a big favour.

If they have got a white bit showing there that is their tummy They have got milk in their tummy so therefore we know that the mums are feeding them. milk in that tummy. All the babies are being fed nicely. .

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