Larry Farrell farrlarr at isu.edu
Tue Nov 13 16:36:03 EST 2001

JEDilworth wrote:

> This was at Bowling Green State University in BG, Ohio.  Perhaps he knew
> George.  I can't remember my profs name, but he was probably in his 50's
> when I had him in 1970 (maybe he was younger, but when you're 21,
> everyone who's older looks like they're 50 :-)).
> I'm sure the S. pneumo thing worked well, but it's just so gross!  I
> remember in one of our labs we were supposed to inject the mice with
> something - possibly the S. pneumo.  I remember holding the little mouse
> with my fingers.  He squeaked when I touched him with the tip of the
> needle.  That did it for me!  I decided then and there I would never
> have anything to do with animal research.  I put the mouse down, and
> left the lab in tears.  I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  If I had
> to fail the lab, so be it.  I got an A in the course anyway, but it was
> probably because the Kent State thing happened that spring, and after
> that, we lost about a week of classes.  The curriculum went out the
> window and many kids never even attended classes after that. Our campus
> closed down for a week after May 4, 1970.  It was a very scary time.
> Yes, I'm sure those films would be difficult to show now.  These were
> all government issue movies, and they weren't staged.  They were very
> realistic and pointed out to me what a miracle antibiotics and vaccines
> were, and the definite advantages of having a clean water supply (in the
> case of the cholera movie).  Perhaps kids today could use a reminder of
> this in light of the current anthrax scare.

Lots of things that used to be done to animals would be considered gross today
(they really were considered gross then, too, but nobody dared complain about
them).  I can vividly remember doing intraorbital bleedings of mice (stick a
Pasteur pipette in the corner of the eye and exert a little negative pressure to
pull out a small amount of blood), intracranial inoculations of mice with
Cryptococcus (you had to use the old time steel needles since the disposables
wouldn't hold up to drilling through their little skulls) and cardiac punctures on
rabbits to get larger amount of blood than could be obtained from the marginal ear
vein (and if you want to talk about squeaks, you should hear a rabbit when a
student goes too far and pierces both sides of the heart and pericardium).  I can
also remember when the first day of the lab for Immunology and Pathogenic
Microbiology involved each student doing a venipuncture on his/her partner!  Talk
about ashen faces!!

Sorry, didn't mean to make anyone sick, but those were standard procedures in "the
old days."  Those procedures are still used but certainly not in the vast majority
of teaching labs.

Larry D. Farrell, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology
Idaho State University

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