Pharming has been milking rabbits experimentally for years, and recently developed a drug called Rhucin from the rabbit milk-derived C1 inhibitor protein. If the drug is approved in Europe, Pharming would start milking a herd of about a thousand rabbits.
The rabbits are milked using mini pumping machines that attach to the female rabbits' teats. The method "can roughly be compared to cow milking, but of course on a smaller scale," de Vries said. And like dairy cows, the rabbits stay relaxed and appear to suffer no discomfort during milking.
Gene Doctors Milk Mice; Yield Human Breast Milk Protein
Thanks to human genes spliced into their genome, the mice are the first genetically modified animals to produce lactoferrin. This human breast milk protein protects babies from viruses and bacteria while the infants' immune systems are still developing.
To milk mice, the research team had to anaesthetize the rodents and use specially adapted pumps fitted to their tiny teats.
So let me get this straight, some guy called de Vries is telling us about milking some weird animal? What color are his lips?
Rabbit milking apparatus. It's a tiny picture, I know.
Oh, we got a new computer, but it's quite a disappointment
'cause it always gives this same insane advice:
Oh, you need little teeny eyes for reading little teeny print
like you need little teeny hands for milking mice.
from A World Out Of Time
I think that paragraph that starts "Pharming has been milking rabbits experimentally for years, [...]" got messed up on the way to publication. The original copy says:
"Pharming has been milking rabbits 'experimentally' for years until their spouses made a surprise visit to the lab and caught them at at. A quick witted junior member of the team thought to cover their tracks by spouting off about C1 inhibters and similar nonsense. This seemed to satisfy the spouses but once the lie was in place there was no turning back. Thus began one of the longest running placebo trials in the history of the pharmaceutical industry.
Quipped one anonymous source: ``Thank God they didn't visit the hamster lab that day!''"