Sacrificial Symbolism In Animal Experimentation
This study examines how animals used in research are viewed by laboratory workers and experimenters. The issue is examined through ethnographic research in animal testing facilities and interviews with employees of these facilities.
“Based on ethnographic research in biomedical laboratories, this paper argues that sacrifice is an ambivalent notion in the culture of animal experimentation, requiring both objectification of and identification with the animal. Because of this ambivalence, laboratory animals are not accorded a single, uniform, and unchanging status but seen simultaneously as objects and pets. Animals are objectified by incorporation into the protocol, by deindividualization, by commodification, by isolation, and by situational definition. At the same time, laboratory workers develop pet-like relationships with the animals, which may be treated as enshrined pets, liberated pets, saved pets, or martyred pets.”