Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Trip to an Animal Lab

Well, kind of. It wasn't a full-fledged tour, but disturbing nonetheless.

I can't really talk about what I do except that I work in government. In a brief tour of a particular biotech research company, I was taken to the animal lab. They did not experiment on primates (I asked!), but did experiment on mice and guinea pigs. Interesting that many of the grants this place gets specifically say they can't experiment on any domesticated animals (cats and dogs I guess.).

Anyway, I couldn't enter the actual rooms where the animals were kept because I would have had to wear a bio-hazard suit. But I did get to walk around the floor. It was a rather grim place. There was a poster in the lunch room with four cute animals (a dog, cat, rabbit and something else.) It reminded me of an adoption poster at the animal shelter. But when I got closer, I read, "Animal research opens minds." It was a jarring moment. This adorable poster that draws you in to the sweet faces of these animals basically proclaims that it is a good thing to use their bodies for medical research, which almost always leads to pain and death. It was an incongruous message.

Then, heading out, I noticed three little knitted mice. My tour guide was a little uncomfortable and said, "Yeah, that's a little morbid. One of the employees' moms knitted those."

One knitted mouse had a little sign that said, "I want my mommy."

The other had a sign that said, "RIP."

Now I'm way more morbid than most people in my tastes and sense of humor, but even I found this to be very disturbing. It certainly doesn't fill me with confidence in these people's skills in compassion and humane care.

Weird, weird, weird. Just thinking about it makes me crave a shower.

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