Now They Know How Many Moles It Takes To Fill The Albert Hall

Intellectually, I am against vivisection. I am also, intellectually, a pacifist and a vegetarian. Sadly, in practice, I am a carnivore who believes in using all possible means to neutralise anyone who dares to attack "my people" and who would raise not a whimper in protest if researchers needed to sacrifice a whole load of animals in order to discover a cure for COVID-19. However, I do not start fights and I do not knowingly buy anything that has been tested on animals that definitely does not need to be. It makes me very cross when I read about scientists hurting animals without an extremely good reason. When I was driving a lorry for a living, I occasionally delivered goods into Huntingdon Life Sciences near Peterborough in England, a research establishment infamous for its experimentation on animals; I can still hear clearly inside my head the howls of the dogs kenneled there. Therefore, an article I read in last week's "New Scientist" magazine really made my blood boil.

Evidently, some mammals have the ability to detect magnetic fields, but where this sense originates has long remained elusive. Kai Caspar and his colleagues at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany had a suspicion that with the nearly blind, Ansell's mole-rat, the ability to sense magnetic fields was due to the creature having magnetoreceptors in its eyes. To test this hypothesis they clinically removed the eyes of twenty-two mole-rats and then watched them and eighteen still sighted mole-rats build nests. Those that had eyes built their nests aligned to the earth's magnetic field whilst the eyeless critters built theirs facing all over the place. Now the world knows how Ansell's mole-rats detect magnetic fields.

For the life of me, I cannot think of any possible reason why we had to know this other than cruel curiosity. Furthermore and again for the life of me, I cannot imagine what sort of mind would exist in the head of a person who could stand there gouging the eyes out of twenty-two sentient creatures just to assuage that curiosity. I am, however, certain of one thing; this abuse of the creatures we share our planet is not in line with God's desire that we should care for his creation.

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