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working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research

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I'm considering a job where I've to work in a lab where rats are used for doing experiments and then killed. I'll have to work on the data which comes out of experiments done on these rats. I won't have to do anything with the rats. How does one process this, as regards morality? 

I would feel like a Thai Bhikkhu who eats meat but does not kill animals (no judgement: I've the atmost respect for Thai tradition -- I have spent time at various of their monasteries and have got much out of it).

All thoughts appreciated.

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 9:15 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Yes I can sense a dilemma here. I used to work, before I ever considered meditation or even knew much about Buddhism, in a pet store. I have seen many aquarium fish die. Worst was when we got bags from Singapore and some had 100% dead fish in it. Transport condition went wrong. 
I quit the job as I could not take this any longer. 

but, will they Stop killing rats if you say no to this job? Or will they just find another person to do it and continue killing them anyway?

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 2:17 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
The primary reason for developing moral behaviour is for you to become released. Being a good person is an accidental secondary by-product and if one fixates on the notion of "I'm a good person" that self-view will need to be eradicated.

Moral choices are different for different people. If you choose to do this job and it leaves unfavourable mental and emotional traces this will severely hinder your practice. Only you can come to that conclusion. Only you can make that determination alongside the importance of your practice.

Remember, it is not about the upkeep of a pleasant identity through the eyes of society. It is about finding your own inner happiness in your own way.

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 8:45 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
You might consider these questions:

Is the research intended to reduce the cost of cosmetics or to cure cancer?

How are the rats treated before they are killed? Are the experiments unpleasant or painful for the rats while they are still alive?

Are they killed humanely?

Do you have other employment options?

Do you have people dependent on you financially?


How do you think Karma (you will experience the consequences of you actions - good actions have pleasant consequences, bad actions have unpleasant consequences) works? Is it just a false superstition? Does it work through materialistic psychological means? Is it enforced through a spiritual hierarchy and in the afterlife as well as in the biological lifetime? Is it enforced through natural laws embedded in the structure of the universe at the time of creation?

If you take bad karma on yourself for the benefit of others, the bad and good may balance or may be unbalanced one way or the other depending on circumstances.

Your thoughts and memories will be with you as long as you are conscious - for the rest of your life or for eternity depending on your spiritual beliefs. If you do something you regret now, you may feel regret for a long time afterward.

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 8:35 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
I'm considering a job where I've to work in a lab where rats are used for doing experiments and then killed. I'll have to work on the data which comes out of experiments done on these rats. I won't have to do anything with the rats. How does one process this, as regards morality? 

I would feel like a Thai Bhikkhu who eats meat but does not kill animals (no judgement: I've the atmost respect for Thai tradition -- I have spent time at various of their monasteries and have got much out of it).

All thoughts appreciated.

aloha mike,

   It depends on where you draw the line. There are experimenters who harvest the spleens or pituitaries of thousands of sentient beings, discarding the rest of their bodies. When my mother was having children, lab practice was to inject special rabbits with fluid from a  woman, and if she was pregnant the rabbit died. Women who were sure they were pregnant were asked, "do you really want to kill a rabbit?" before testing. Guinea pigs were once "used" routinely in clinical labs. I'm sure these animls would continue to be routinely destroyed if cheaper alternatives weren't available.

   I managed to get a bs in bio because when it was time to dissect fetal pigs I was too young to question authority. Much later, finishing the classwork required for my degree, I declined even to sacrifice a worm for science, turning my assigned worm loose in the grass in corvallis.

   At this point I woudn't sacrifice an insect or a shellfish for science, let alone thousands of newts, or rats. Perhaps an oat or an asparagus. Certainly bacteria are fair game.

   I wouldn't even annoy a rat for science.

terry




all the timeI I pray to buddha
I keep on
killing mosquitos

`basho

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 8:40 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo:
The primary reason for developing moral behaviour is for you to become released. Being a good person is an accidental secondary by-product and if one fixates on the notion of "I'm a good person" that self-view will need to be eradicated.

Moral choices are different for different people. If you choose to do this job and it leaves unfavourable mental and emotional traces this will severely hinder your practice. Only you can come to that conclusion. Only you can make that determination alongside the importance of your practice.

Remember, it is not about the upkeep of a pleasant identity through the eyes of society. It is about finding your own inner happiness in your own way.

   If this were true there are no moral choices, just do what you want. Whatever is good for me goes.

   This is the way materialists think: I do good because it makes me feel good. 


may all beings be happy,
t

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 8:47 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
You might consider these questions:

Are they killed humanely?



lol

guillotine? lethal injection?

firing squad?


   I also don't think how bad you need the money should enter into it. What is the price of your integrity?

   A man once asked a woman, would you go to bed with me for a million dollars? She said, sure. He then asked, would you go to bed with me for ten dollars? She said, what do you think I am? He said, oh, we already settled that, we're just haggling about the price now.

t

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 9:18 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Hi all,Thanks for all your responses.

Che:
Thanks for your experience that you share. It helps me. If I take such a job, I will constantly have to see
rats and constantly have to remember that my livelihood is directly dependent on these killed rats and there
will be constant remorse. As much as I could rationalize that I'm not killing them, if I were honest, I would
accept that there is direct dependence of my livelihood on killed rats.Yes, they will not stop killing or experimenting
if I did. But that does not mean that I become a part of their system.


Terry:
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, it all depends on where I draw the line. We all live and we all kill or are
responsible for killing (through breathing, walking, eating), that is a truism of life. But what you say,
not sacrificing an animal for science, that makes sense to me. I kind of think the same way. Neuroscientists
rationalize that progress in understanding the brain could not be made without animal experiments. Firstly,
I doubt that. Secondly, maybe there is no reason for such progress. Neuroscience is just another industry now
and animals are just commodities which are shipped worldwide.

Bardo:
Thanks. My concern is not about developing any identity. My concern is with doing the right thing. There is
some relativism in these things, but for some things, I like to believe that it is better to have them black
and white. Yes, my concern is with achieving Nibbana, but morality would be my concern even without the
possibility of Nibbana. I think morality is something one would have to develop even after attaining
Arahatship (a guess, I'm not there). There's a mathematician named Aleksandrov who said, towards the end of
his life "I'm not interested in Mathematics, I'm interested in morality." Always rung to me. Not to make any
identity.

Jim:
I would like to believe that rats are given decent treatment in the lab. Or so I was told. No, the research
is intended as fundamental research to understand auditory systems, not for curing anything. Even if it were
for curing anything, I'd wonder, why humans could not be used for the same. There may be another employment
option, that would be working for a communications company developing 5G systems -- and all these companies
care about is making money with no concern for higher frequency radiations on the human mind. No one depends
on me financially currently but that is a feedback loop: I don't have much money, so family is not an option,
and because I don't have family, I can keep myself in low-paying jobs.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I have told this particular professor that I'll not be working on research
which uses animals. Thus, this job opportunity is gone.

This will take me to the next question: working in a company which develops 5G mobile systems. I may or may not
be involved with development of those systems. It's possible I may be able to steer myself just to the irrelevant
math side of things. How do you all think of morality questions related to some thing like this.

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 9:49 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
Hi all,Thanks for all your responses.

Che:
Thanks for your experience that you share. It helps me. If I take such a job, I will constantly have to see
rats and constantly have to remember that my livelihood is directly dependent on these killed rats and there
will be constant remorse. As much as I could rationalize that I'm not killing them, if I were honest, I would
accept that there is direct dependence of my livelihood on killed rats.Yes, they will not stop killing or experimenting
if I did. But that does not mean that I become a part of their system.


Terry:
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, it all depends on where I draw the line. We all live and we all kill or are
responsible for killing (through breathing, walking, eating), that is a truism of life. But what you say,
not sacrificing an animal for science, that makes sense to me. I kind of think the same way. Neuroscientists
rationalize that progress in understanding the brain could not be made without animal experiments. Firstly,
I doubt that. Secondly, maybe there is no reason for such progress. Neuroscience is just another industry now
and animals are just commodities which are shipped worldwide.

Bardo:
Thanks. My concern is not about developing any identity. My concern is with doing the right thing. There is
some relativism in these things, but for some things, I like to believe that it is better to have them black
and white. Yes, my concern is with achieving Nibbana, but morality would be my concern even without the
possibility of Nibbana. I think morality is something one would have to develop even after attaining
Arahatship (a guess, I'm not there). There's a mathematician named Aleksandrov who said, towards the end of
his life "I'm not interested in Mathematics, I'm interested in morality." Always rung to me. Not to make any
identity.

Jim:
I would like to believe that rats are given decent treatment in the lab. Or so I was told. No, the research
is intended as fundamental research to understand auditory systems, not for curing anything. Even if it were
for curing anything, I'd wonder, why humans could not be used for the same. There may be another employment
option, that would be working for a communications company developing 5G systems -- and all these companies
care about is making money with no concern for higher frequency radiations on the human mind. No one depends
on me financially currently but that is a feedback loop: I don't have much money, so family is not an option,
and because I don't have family, I can keep myself in low-paying jobs.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I have told this particular professor that I'll not be working on research
which uses animals. Thus, this job opportunity is gone.

This will take me to the next question: working in a company which develops 5G mobile systems. I may or may not
be involved with development of those systems. It's possible I may be able to steer myself just to the irrelevant
math side of things. How do you all think of morality questions related to some thing like this.

   I've heard bad things about 5g, too. I was informed the other day by a vendor at the kona pure farmer's market that 5g neworks will be used to implant thoughts in your head. He was also the first one to tell me you could get the corona virus by drinking corona beer. And that megadoses of vitamin c would prevent infection with said virus.

   My elder son has a company selling light bulbs. Actually, they used to sell them but now they put in whole systems, stadium lighting and municipals. The problem is, the municipals want him to put in added hookups for surveillance cameras. He is uncomfortable with this, but may not be in a position to say no.

   There are ethical jobs. Try work with bacteria. Perhaps the uberization of science will make you rich. The scam is called, "intellectual property." Did you know they patented the human genome? (Is that ethical?)

   You can do cloning and dna sequencing in your garage at room temperature for under a million bucks nowadays. I'd pay good money for a elephant 18 inches tall.


terry

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/7/20 11:50 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:


This will take me to the next question: working in a company which develops 5G mobile systems. I may or may not
be involved with development of those systems. It's possible I may be able to steer myself just to the irrelevant
math side of things. How do you all think of morality questions related to some thing like this.

I had to look this up.

In case anyone else is interested:
https://medium.com/the-politicalists/the-political-and-ethical-problems-of-5g-internet-7c5ab0ba9458
"The Political and Ethical Problems of 5G Internet"

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/8/20 11:14 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Learn enough about the job to be sure you won't feel guilty for having carried out your duties. If you will feel guilty, or have doubt about your role in creating suffering pass. 

The dialog: "I am a bad person, because I caused innocent animals to suffer", for example, IS karma. Of course, the dialog, "I couldn't take the job and make innocent animals suffer" is ALSO karma - but one dialog is likely to be more of a mental distortion than the other.

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/8/20 6:43 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Hi Stirling,

Thanks.

There's no dialog of guilt or "I'm a bad person". 
The dialog is: what is the right thing to do in this situation? how black and white is it? How to figure out what this right thing is?

In any case, I've passed on this job. The final reason was two-fold 1) that I was not comfortable getting a pay-check out of something resulting in direct killing which is not necessary, 2) Secondly, the Professor was just rationalizing animal killing in my opinion -- he did not come across as someone who had much compassion for them. Story may have been different if I got a sense that he and his lab members had compassion for those animals.

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/9/20 12:41 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:

There's no dialog of guilt or "I'm a bad person". 
The dialog is: what is the right thing to do in this situation? how black and white is it? How to figure out what this right thing is?

Just my opinion, but I don't think this is the dialog that is most likely to matter. Right thing to do according to whom? Black and white in what belief system? What matters is what you are going to carry around. If you sat with it, with your mind quiet, what is the first thought you have about it?

If you really think you aren't going to carry anything around, or don't tend to have feelings about such things, that is a call to investigation.

It sounds like you made the right decision for yourself in any case. emoticon

RE: working in an animal - lab for neuroscience research
Answer
2/9/20 7:15 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling:


The question "What is the right thing to do?" is accompanied with a strong feeling of happiness that I'm trying to do the right thing.
The question "How black and white it is?" is accompanied with a sense of investigation of how to live life.
The question  "How to figure it out?" is also accompanied again, by a sense of investigation and doing the right thing -- thus, feelings of conviction, happiness, joy, and attitude of investigation.


A lot else happens in the mind with regards to this question of taking this position or not, most if not all of it is crap which I ignore. 

The process of coming to a conclusion, in my case, does not necessarily involve too much dialog. Answers come, some times, without any sense of how the answer came, and there is a sense, that that is the right thing.  (the only way I can describe this is that it is some formation which captures all the information that is needed, based on which there is discernment into the right answer, even without being aware of all details of the formation).  At other times, there can be a long dialog required.