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Mice in Flight

A Spanish military flight has transported some two dozen transgenic mice to the Canary Islands that commercial carriers declined to ship, ScienceInsider reports.

The 29 US-bred mice became stuck in Madrid for two months, as both Iberia and Air Europa no longer fly laboratory animals, it adds. ScienceInsider previously reported that Iberia pointed to international regulations and the possibility the mice might escape en route and cause damage as their reason for halting such shipments. However, the European Animal Research Association told ScienceInsider at the time that regulations don't prohibit animal shipments and that there have been no instances of animal-caused damage. The association added that both airlines fly pets and that it suspects that animal rights activists have influenced the carriers' decisions.

The mice have now hitched a ride on a military plane to Gran Canaria, where they then boarded a commercial ship to the island of Tenerife and onto the island's only animal facility at University of La Laguna, ScienceInsider now reports.

Javier Castro Hernández, the postdoc at the University Hospital of the Canary Islands who ordered the animals, tells ScienceInsider he is relieved that they've arrive and is looking forward to getting on with his researchers.

While the mice have now made it to their destination, ScienceInsider notes that no permanent solution is in place, and that the university and the Spanish civil aviation authority are trying to hammer out a deal with the airlines.

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