• Question: Does any living thing get physically or emotionally hurt in your tests/experiments?

    Asked by 10lran to Jon, Darren, Cathal, Daphne, Katherine on 16 Mar 2012. This question was also asked by blahblahissy, 11bbri, annarosejosh, laurenandjade, ibak, thea123xx.
    • Photo: Darren Logan

      Darren Logan answered on 15 Mar 2012:

      Emotions are generally considered to be human characteristics, so nothing get emotionaly hurt in our experiments.

      We do work with animals, but the experiments themselves do not cause any physical pain beyond what normal animal behaviour does. For example, male mice normally fight when they live in the wild, so when male mice fight in our experiments its no different than would happen naturally. However, if a mouse gets bitten, we will give it pain relief, make sure it is housed seperately and gets plenty of food and water. In the wild, that will not happen – so in many way our mice are at much less risk of pain than wild mice would.

      However, the law says we have to kill the animals at the end of our experiments (we are not allowed to release them or use them as pets). We kill the animals by overdosing in anaesthetic – so they feel no pain then either.

    • Photo: Jon Benton

      Jon Benton answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      Only myself! Ha. I don’t test on anything living and make sure my experiment is really safe so even people working around me can’t get damaged from what I’m doing. Normally I just feel bad if I don’t get a good result but that is all part of the process of science!

    • Photo: Daphne Ng

      Daphne Ng answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      I add bleach to the microalgae before I wash them down the sink. This is to make sure that I don’t accidentally introduce live microalgae to the waterways. So yes, I kill microalgae all the time. But unlike animals, microalgae don’t have a nervous system so they don’t feel pain.

    • Photo: Katherine Haxton

      Katherine Haxton answered on 17 Mar 2012:

      At the moment, no. We’re not doing any work that involves animals or plants. Sometimes the students feel like they’ve been emotionally hurt when an experiment doesn’t go right, or they drop something reeeaaallly noisy on the floor, but normally it’s fine.
      In the future we might need to do some experiments involving animals but we’d have to find another scientist who was specially trained to do the work and they would have to do it as Darren says – without causing pain.