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What do mice dream about?

When I lived in a sad, pokey apartment in Pawtucket, I kept pet mice. I soon came to appreciate what sweet, clean — and above all, individual — little creatures they are.

It didn’t make me rethink what we do to mice in the name of science – I am firmly on Team Human – but it made me distinctly uncomfortable about it.

Also, when I wrote this, it had long since been proven true:

“Alone in clear acrylic boxes with a handful of cedar shavings in a brightly-lit laboratory eating pellets is about as antithetical to a mouse’s happy inclinations as you can get. If, indeed, emotional well-being turns out to play a significant role in health, all our medical studies using mice are gefukt.”

There was a famous addiction experiment where mice were kept in lab boxes and given a choice of plain water or cocaine water. They all chose cocaine water until they OD’ed and died.

Then in the Seventies came psychologist Dr Bruce Alexander, who wondered if mice drank the coke because their lives were so shit. He designed an experiment that has come to be called “Rat Park” – a fun, happy rodent environment with friends and toys and sex. These rats seldom chose the coke-water, seemed to use it recreationally when they did and never, ever OD’ed.

What do mice dream about?

May 6, 2024 — 6:00 pm
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