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Let’s Name Our Lab Rats

This is a thought experiment and little more.

cute rat


Let us require that every lab rat or test animal we ever use for any reason whatsoever be named, and then catalog those names in a public database for anyone who might want to see.

No other change to be made; just name every animal used for scientific experimentation and write that name in the database. No naming conventions either. You can give them human names, adorable house pet names like “Mitten Tickles” or even bar codes if that’s what’s in your heart.

No other information would be retained about these animals. No description of their use, their fate or even their species. Just one big database of just… names.


 Who would have any interest in looking at this database?

How many names would it hold in a year? A decade? A century?

Would there be any trends in the way the animals were named?

How big would the database get before we finally stopped expanding it?

How long until the weight of this record became too great to bear?

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