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Monday, 3 July 2017 at 1:51pm
Monday, 3 July 2017 at 1:51pm
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Thread: Ethical conundrum

03-Jul-17, 14:16
edited about 2 seconds later
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posted about 4 months ago
Hi all,

I'm a PhD student working in the STEM area and was talking to a couple of Honour's students today when they started talking about some seriously unethical practices they had been part of with the encouragement of their supervisors. We all work with rodents and have a bunch of requirements as part of this, the most basic of which is to be training in all procedures we intend to do with our animals (ie. injecting, handling, literally everything). These students had been injecting as well as culling animals despite having had zero training. Not even for handling the animals. One even described their botched first attempt at culling, effectively prolonging the pain and suffering of the poor animal. I swear my heart broke when I heard them say this as, despite working with animals in a research setting, I am 100% an animal lover and fully believe all the animals we work with deserve to be treated with the utmost respect, the very least of which is acquiring adequate training to ensure minimal pain or distress to these creatures who give their life for our research against their free will.

I'm seriously distressed about this but I'm not quite sure what to do. I've read a lot of horror stories on this forum of people getting on the bad side of their department and, still having a long way to go on my PhD journey, I don't want to alienate anyone. On the other hand, I am so completely disgusted in the actions of these supervisors I don't want to say nothing. I intend to talk to my supervisor about this situation however she is currently away so I thought it would be nice to get some other opinions. This whole situation has left me feeling very down. The strong ethical standards we are forced to abide by is my justification for what I do. Hearing that there are people who flout these rules makes our work feel cheap and invalid.
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