Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Compassion fatigue and laboratory animals

mouse husbandry housing
The late Mr Stinky. Rodent extraordinaire and carrier of the lethal yellow gene which predisposes to obesity. (He should have been around 30g...he was 85).
Are you a veterinarian, student or attendant who works with laboratory animals? The ALN Magazine is running a survey about compassion fatigue amongst those who work with laboratory animals (click here). It’s a human and animal welfare issue.

According to ALN, 
“Compassion fatigue is a condition characterised by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It was first diagnosed in nurses in the 1950s. Sufferers can exhibit several symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a pervasive negative attitude. This precursor to “burn-out” can have detrimental effects on individuals, both professionally and personally, including a decrease in productivity, the inability to focus and the development of new feelings of incompetency and self-doubt.”
“The findings of the survey will be used to inform future training programs to support caring lab animal staff.”
Of course it’s also important to think about the systems that give rise to compassion fatigue and look at the bigger picture – like reduction of animal use and replacement with non-animal experiments/testing.

If you want to read more about compassion fatigue, check out our interview with Rebekah Scotney here.