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Thread: ritual for the use of animals in science

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    ritual for the use of animals in science

    Animal Sacrifice Ritual (not what you think)

    I know that I am going out on a limb here and I am braced for a little blow back here. I am hoping that my assessment of this forum as an open mind place is warranted. I would ask that this post is read with some understanding. I am going to give a little background and some justification first them I will

    I am a neuroscience researcher. My research involves the pathology of neuro-trauma and potential interventions and treatment. The studies I am doing involve the use of animal models, rats, guinea pigs and sometimes mice. When an animal experiment is complete the animal is sacrificed to recover tissues for further analysis. Sacrificed is considered and This is the proper term among scientists that take the time to think about these things. Euthanasia is not an appropriate because this implies that the death of the animal is in its own best interest. We use the term sacrificed because this conveys that the death of the animal serves a greater purpose, science and in this case the understanding of a complex medical condition for which there is currently not effective treatments or interventions. We put a lot of effort housing and caring for the animals and ending their life as humanely as possible.

    I take the use of animals in research very seriously and only use them when the research can not be effectively carried by other mean (usually cell or tissue culture). I have refused to be involved in projects using animals that I felt were unjustified or were un-properly supported by previous science. I feel that the science I am doing is important and has real potential to help not only humans but also animals. Some of the treatment that have come out of our lab are used in injured dogs.

    I fall somewhere on a agnostic-secular humanist - animist - panetheist continuum (that probably makes no more sense to either of us) so a ritual to a particular god would not be appropriate. My current practice is to silently thank the animal, and apologize as I am administering the sedative, and euthanasia drugs. On the one hand I feel that I want to do something more, and on the other hand the lab is not really the place for a full on ritual. Clearly

    The fiction of Ursula K Leguin is large influence on me and she mentions in passing that the Hanish perform a ritual when animals are used in scientific research.

    Please excuse the long post, but can be a sensitive and complex issue. I am very interested in how you all feel about this topic and if you have any suggestions or resources I might pursue.

    Andrew

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    306 Maria de Luna's Avatar
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    Re: ritual for the use of animals in science

    There is no reason that you cannot say a quiet (or silent) few words to the animal or spirit, just a short pause for reflection on how this animal will help, and how the spirits sacrifice is appreciated may well be the best you can do, and is likely more than they usually get in the field. Any respect you can show would probably be well recieved.
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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: ritual for the use of animals in science

    I think that what you are doing is a wonderful idea. ...perhaps what might help is taking a clipping of fur or something home (or to a park, etc) and letting it go back to nature, and taking the time to do the ritual that you might have wanted to do in the lab?
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

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    Re: ritual for the use of animals in science

    I think this idea injects a little respect into something that is not always seen as moral. I'm sure it wouldn't satisfy everyone, but the gesture is an important one. Some kind of ritual to acknowledge the animal's importance to whatever the goal of the study might be, and to give thanks to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thalassa
    perhaps what might help is taking a clipping of fur or something home (or to a park, etc) and letting it go back to nature, and taking the time to do the ritual that you might have wanted to do in the lab?
    Would that be permitted? To take remains of an animal used for testing outside of the research facility? If so, it seems like a great addition to a ritual.

    Question: Are these animals given names? Even if not officially, perhaps by those working with them? That seems like an ideal way to honor their sacrifice.

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: ritual for the use of animals in science

    Quote Originally Posted by Raphaeline View Post

    Would that be permitted? To take remains of an animal used for testing outside of the research facility? If so, it seems like a great addition to a ritual.
    It would really depend on the facility and the potential for the animal (I can't see a snip of fur being a big deal, depending on the testing) to transmit anything. When I was in the Navy @ the hospital, the area where they did live testing was under hard core security, but they would adopt animals out if they could, after the research. Which is how we first ended up with chinchillas...we adopted them after they had ear surgery for some study (since chins have ears most like ours).
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    Re: ritual for the use of animals in science

    Thanks for your responses. I like the idea of taking a fur clippings to a park. I not sure the if it would be strictly following the rules, but don't think it would be a big deal either. We usually don't give the animals names. Our studies usual only keep the animals for a week or often just a day or two. We did use dogs for one study, they did get names, and they were adopted out when the study was over.

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