Despite the fact that I spent my graduate school years studying a pathogen, I never participated in any animal work. For the most part this is because my lab did not house animals since the type of work we did really didn't warrant animal work until very far down the line. When the time did come, a collaborator would swoop in and handle the animal experiments for us. However, toward the end graduate school, the lab needed to do more and more work with animals and eventually got set up to perform the experiments "in-house." Fortunately for me, I never got involved.
My post-doc lab also studies pathogens and some of the researchers use an experimental animal model. I knew going into this job that there was a decent chance that I would get involved with animal work, but I decided I would deal with the possibility when it crossed my path.
Unfortunately, It crossed my path last week.
I do NOT want to do this. Not one tiny bit.
I am not against the use of animals, and I feel like the lab I am in uses them responsibly, but I just don't want to infect cute little mice with deadly bacteria and I don't want to sacrifice them.
Let me use a personal story to illustrate why I think this is going to be a nightmare from hell.
When grad. school lab decided to start using mice, I enrolled in the animal handling class. The class was fine and I learned how to handle the mice perform some injections. Things continued to go well until the woman helping me told me that all of the mice I injected with ketamine (I think that was the drug) were going to get euthanized after the class. Things went down hill pretty fast after that. I told the woman that I was comfortable with everything I learned and she let me leave. I barely made it out of the room before I burst into tears. I hurried to the nearest bathroom (thanking my lucky stars that I was no where near my department) and I tried to pull myself together. I thought all my emotions were under control until people in the lab started asking me about the class and I got upset again. IN THE FUCKING LAB. IN FRONT OF CO-WORKERS.
Now I am confronted with actually infecting and sacrificing animals myself. I don't know how I am going to pull myself together and do these experiments. I WILL find a way and I WILL do it. I just don't know how yet. I do know one thing though; I will not return to the lab afterward for fear of crying in front of a whole new set of people.