A series of buildings at New City, New York, USA, houses a family enterprise believed to be the world's largest producer of laboratory mice.
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Background: A series of buildings at New City, New York, USA, houses a family enterprise believed to be the world's largest producer of laboratory mice. Three million mice are bred there annually to assist scientists in their search for knowledge of space travel, medicine and radioactivity.
Leaders of this enterprise is C.N. Wentworth Cummings, a former cadet at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, U.K. His wife, Edith, is his assistant, and his son, John, is Executive Vice President. Mr. Cummings' aim is to produce mice as nearly identical as possible. They must not only have an environment uniformity, but also a genetic one.
At any given time the population of Carworth Farms, as the enterprise is known, is about 300,000, or more than twice that of the human population of surrounding Rockland County. They eighty-member staff are proud of the fact that strains developed by them used by the thousands in the early experimental stages of Dr Jonas Salk's anti-poliomyelitis vaccine. Mice from the Farms are being used in the war against Cancer, tests of radioactivity fall-out, and in the development of antibiotics.
The food bill is huge. Each year the mice - and rats at another enterprise 40 miles away - eat more than 500 tons of special rations, each batch prepared to meet their particular nutritional requirements. Care is also taken to see that the mice are rewards reared in the most sanitary conditions possible.
Although the fate of many of the mice is to be infected with a disease, strict precautions ensure that they are free from any casual infection before they leave the Farms. No visitors are permitted in any part of the buildings, and only the expert responsible for the care of a particular group of mice is allowed into the room where they are kept. Quarters are air-conditioned and temperature is closely controlled. Every day sterile uniforms and special shoes are issued to staff. The Farms train their own experts. Required skills are rare.