They never call it killing. They always say terminate or cull or euthinase or gas. Maybe that is so they can dissassociate themselves from the reality of what it is that they must do. No pain, no suffering, and going to a better place.
This is what I told myself as I watched them skitter in their boxes, climbing upsidedown on the wire, sometimes rearing up on their back legs to look at me or sniff me. Every day that I went in to see them, I said, "hello, babies!" They were my little girls, even though I never palyed with them or became really attached to them. But I worked with them for three months. While I couldn't tell them apart, I felt I knew them as a group.
And I felt like I was betraying them, betraying their tiny little lives as I moved them one by one into the bucket with the hose leading into it. That awful black plastic bag lined bucket. And I felt sad as I took them out again, going through the tests to ensure than they were brain dead. And I felt sickened with myself for the procedure that I had to do.
There is no worse sound in thw world than that of the bones of the skull being crushed.
Now I feel dirty and ill and horrible. I feel as though some of my innocence has been lost. Sixty tiny little lives are on my conscience. I know that the work I am doing must be done, I know there is no other way, and I know that the mice didn't suffer in any way during the experiment or their subsiquent deaths; none of this gives me the right to take their lives flippantly or with a grain of salt.
Every living thing deserves respect. Every life. Even when that life is taken away. And I want to cry because my supervisor just patted me on the shoulder and told me that he was there if I wasn't okay. And I'm not okay. And I don't want to be okay. But I have to do what I have to do.
This is why I hate being a scientist.