The Michigan Daily reports on the “adjustment process” for a student at the U. of Michigan who is learning how to experiment on live animals. [readon]
“I think everyone finds that they enjoy and are comfortable with some kinds of experiments and that you don’t want to do other kinds of experiments,” [associate professor Joshua] Berke said. “People find their natural niche.”
Moreover, students are given full warning about what they’re getting into during the interview process, Berke said. He added that if a student was uncomfortable or unable to deal with animals, there are always other positions available in the lab.
The university spends $1.24 billion an year of research.
But no matter how mentally prepared you are, the first time you watch an animal die can be shocking.
“You just kind of have to deal with it,” said University alum Steven Kiss, who induced heart attacks in dogs and rabbits while working in a cardiovascular pharmacology lab that tested new drugs for people with heart conditions. “Definitely the first few times were really surprising.”
Kiss’s lab observed dogs and rabbits that had been given an oral medication. Some animals were given the drug for a seven-day period, while others for a 14-day period. The goal, Kiss said, is to determine how well a drug protects the animal from a heart attack, similar to how a person taking heart medicine might react.
He explained the initial difficulty of seeing an animal being put to death.
“Some of the dogs are so nice,” he said. “You’d be with them for two weeks and you’d have to walk them and play with them, and then on that fourteenth day it’s like, damn.”
Yet Kiss emphasized he never dwelt on this aspect. “You’ve got to understand that you’re doing it for a good cause,” he said. “It feels worth it.”
And that’s how your moral instincts are quietly eroded away to the point where you can become part of a vast industry, per our previous post, that experiments, in this country alone, on more than 25 million animals a year.