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Alison Hopkins worked for Pfizer
Pharmaceuticals from 1996 until 2011.
Beginning as an animal technician, she
later worked as a senior associate scientist
and a research quality assurance manager.
Since 2013, Alison has been a part time
coach and trainer with Monkey Puzzle
Training & Consultancy.
pdf. n.d. 31 12 2013.
research.htm. n.d. 30 12 2013.
20 12 2013.
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jindex/g/ jameslange.htm. n.d. 20
tive workforce, organizations can:
• Reduce costs of absence, including
sick pay, sickness cover, overtime,
• Improve workplace morale, have
better working relationships, and
increased employee satisfaction.
• Increase productivity, through
employees being healthier, happier,
and better motivated.
• Have protection from reputational
damage and financial costs of prosecution or litigation.
As a by-product of improved staff
well-being, institutions may also see
improvements in animal welfare and
ultimately the 3Rs.
Requirement or Option?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
in the UK already publish research and
statistics on work related stress and
have a dedicated area on their Web site
focusing on this.
Employers have a duty of care for their
employees for work-related stress, which
is set out in both statutory and common
law. The HSE guide Work-Related Stress
and What the Law Says specifies that it is
the duty of an organization to consider
any physical or mental impairment that
has a substantial or long-term effect on
an individual’s ability to work.
As a former animal technician, now
working as a trainer and facilitator, I believe we have no option but to act now. I
would strongly advocate for employing the
techniques and training that are available
to enhance the emotional well-being of
our talented individuals working with
animals in a laboratory environment.
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3. Arluke, A and Sanders, C.R.
Regarding Animals. Philadelphia:
Temple University press, 1996.
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Emotional Labour in service roles: The
influence of identity.” Academy of
management review (1993): 86-115.
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K. “Inability to express intense
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depression and pain.” Journal of
consulting and Clinical Psychology
(1986): 54, 752-759.
6. Chang, F. T & Hart, L.A. “
Human-Animal bonds in the laboratory:
How the animal behaviour affects
the perspectives of caregivers.” Institute of laboratory animal research
journal vol. 43 (2002): 1-- 18.
7. Davies, Keith & Lewis, Duncan. “Can
Mazer Guild Twelve Imperative Concepts
Adapted for Those Working with Animals
The Mazer Guild is a U.S. not-for-profit association for euthanasia tech- nicians. In 2001, it published 12 supportive concepts for its members. Here they are, adapted for animal research personnel
i. I am a research technician. Part of my job involves euthanasia. This does not
mean that I kill animals. It does mean that I have accepted the duty of releasing
animals once they have made a valued contribution to scientific research.
ii. I am in this place because I care. Accepting the death of animals about
which I care is difficult; having a part in affecting that death is even harder.
I care enough to be here. I know that I perform my tasks with perfection
and professionalism. Instead of turning my back on research, I contribute to
making a difference.
iii. I confirm that death occurs in some instances to alleviate unnecessary
suffering. All animal experimentation is strictly governed. Any animal in my
care that is found to be exceeding its severity limit will be given a gentle
exit to minimize any distress.
iv. I am not guilty of anything except understanding the necessity of using
animals in scientific research which has the ability to make a difference to
the lives of fellow humans and animals.
v. I cannot save them all. I must euthanize animals that fall ill or exceed
their scientific severity to minimize pain, suffering, distress, and lasting
harm. I must also euthanize animals that have made their valid contribution
to scientific research.
vi. I acknowledge that there is a substantial difference between the sorrow
that I feel and the guilt some public would have me feel, and I will not be
tricked into confusing the two. My sorrow is not my guilt.
vii. I will not be overcome by public ignorance. My mission is not to highlight my sorrow but rather to accent the understanding. I cannot hate society for my feeling isolated or afraid to openly discuss what I do. I cannot
hate them for not understanding that I do my job because I care. I cannot
hate them for not seeing both sides of the debate.
viii. I will, in a non-judgmental manner, encourage discussion with those who
are curious about the work that I do. I will talk about the strict regulations that
govern my work and make it necessary for now. I will point out that within
the research community there are many organizations working hard to minimize the numbers of animals used in research, a mission that I fully support.
ix. I will admit the pain and the sorrow. I know that I cannot cry over each
animal. I confront my pain, however, I will not deny it. I am not ashamed to
x. I will identify my role, my responsibility, and the reality of animal research
at any opportunity. I will not be isolated by this matter. It is better to help
people understand the necessity of what I do than to allow the ignorance to
xi. I will find something or someone to laugh at! Sick, or graveyard humor,
is acceptable when properly expressed around comrades. No person
laughs at death, or at those dying, but laughs to keep from being overcome
by the seriousness of the event. To laugh is healthy. To be overheard by
those who do not walk in our shoes is not clever, nor is it fair. They simply
cannot know our pain, and must not be subjected to our therapy.
xii. I will be there to prepare others who choose the same career path.
Those in my company will not have to face this trauma alone. I owe support because I received support.