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Occup Med. 1999 Apr-Jun;14(2):305-16.

Uneasiness among laboratory technicians.

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  • 1Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Four aspects of animal experimentation cause uneasiness among many animal laboratory technicians. First, if technicians form strong attachments to lab animals, they feel conflict between their nurturing and the experimental manipulations they perform. Most technicians learn to curtail these attachments. Second, the "sacrifice" of lab animals becomes routinized and stripped of special meaning for many technicians, making killing uncomfortably rote. Third, technicians sometimes encounter outsiders who are critical of animal experimentation and ridicule the technicians for doing this work. Most technicians avoid telling outsiders about their work or take an educational approach to deal with these awkward encounters. Finally, most technicians report some ethical uneasiness about certain types of experiments and their clinical value, as well as about the use of certain animals, and they feel they cannot turn to investigators or fellow technicians to pursue such issues.

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