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The Animals that Played a Role

How to honour and remember them

I remember when I worked at Yokohama City University once a year in autumn all of us who carried out experiments with or on animals had to go to the temple and pray for the souls of these animals. Our boss used to joke and say we don’t have to pray too hard because our work involved crabs and insects, but those in sports medicine using dogs, they have to pray much harder. It’s actually a tradition that came to Japan from India via China to think of animals or free some during the festival of Hojyoe. There are, of course, other ways to show one’s appreciation of an animal that has played a major role in someone’s life and “Cher Ami”, a pigeon, was awarded “le Croix de Guerre” by the French Government for having been a successful war spy. Recently a cat named Choupette inherited millions after its owner, the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, had passed away. Another fashion designer (Alexander McQueen) left 50,000 British pounds to his pet dogs when he died in 2010 and the American TV personality Oprah Winfree is said to have plans to leave millions to her dogs. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brigitte Bardot has similar plans. —>—>

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Fashions in biology

Fashions come and go

Hairstyles, music we listen to, travel destinations, even words and expressions that we use are subject to fashion. Biology has its fashions, too. Right now it is fashionable to specialize in Molecular Genetics or Biotechnology. And who wouldn’t be fascinated by reports on unravelling the genome of Neanderthal man or by prospects of re-creating extinct species like mammoths or Tasmanian tigers. Genetically engineered food stuffs and cloned animals, after all, are already part of our lives. Continue reading