Cruden, J. 2010. It is more than just a job; it is a way of life. Animal Technology and Welfare 9, 7-24.
This report is a summary of the Workshop which took place at Congress 2009 and the questionnaire submitted in preparation. The report covers the emotions raised by people working in the biomedical industry. At Congress 2008 I attended several lectures discussing the emotions felt by animal care staff. The lectures were very interesting but failed to really address the fundamental feelings I had. Because of the large size of the lecture rooms I did not feel able to talk openly about my own feelings. I wondered if it was just me who wished to talk about this work and the feelings it evokes in a smaller forum. As a result I submitted the idea for the workshop at Congress 2009. In preparation for the workshop I sent a questionnaire out to various people. The questions were designed to help guide delegates towards key issues, which enabled them to talk openly; the responses were then used to produce the interactive presentation we used, which is available on request. The report has highlighted many of the strong emotions people feel within this line of work. The 70% majority of people who think that one has to love animals to do this work, may now feel that one can have strong emotions towards giving the animal a high standard of care and welfare with compassion and empathy rather than love. It was interesting to see how high careworkers regard the need to give animals a calm death and a high quality of life. The report highlights the two main aims of workers are (1) Ensuring the animals get a good life for however long or short that life may be; (2) Being confident that the scientific benefits are balanced against the cost to the animal. This can only be achieved if the care workers know what the experimental aims are. The importance of training and education is highlighted as it is with training and good communication that animal careworkers will know exactly why the animals are there and how the research aims are justified in the cost:benefit analysis within a project licence application.