Animal research personnel are exposed to animal suffering, euthanasia, and social stigma while deeply caring for research animals. As a result, they can experience difficult emotions leading to workplace stress and compassion fatigue. There are resources to help with this:
The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) says that the human–animal bond in the field of animal research exists in many forms. Kindness and concern for animals are desirable characteristics in animal care and research workers. Therefore, to find that workers experience grief or bereavement at the death of animals used for research or teaching is not surprising. Acknowledging that these feelings exist and providing support in the workplace is very important. They have a brochure designed to assist all members of the research team in understanding this common concern and to provide suggestions and resources for managing human emotions in the care of laboratory animals.
The North American 3Rs Collaborative is creating bespoke materials to promote compassion fatigue resiliency for our field. This includes a resource hub and institutional support by creating an institutional starter pack for promoting compassion fatigue resiliency. The starter pack will be formally evaluated via a 3-year longitudinal survey. They are no longer accepting institutions or collaborators for our 2022 pilot program. However, please email us at contactus [at] na3rsc.org if you’re interested in getting access to their materials after the pilot. There are several resources available.
And of course, McGill University has its Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).