I'm a big fan of rodents. As a kid, I had two pet mice (called Pip and Marty). As a teenager, I had four Russian dwarf hamsters (Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll) and, as a student, I had a couple of piebald rats (Chicken and Noodle). Now, as a neuroscientist at a UK university, I have a colony of rats with numbers instead of names. It's a dilemma that many researchers face: how to reconcile their empathy with animals with their desire to develop safe and effective therapies for diseases or injuries. It is ethically challenging: for 7 years, I was simultaneously a vegetarian and vivisector.

This content is only available as a PDF.