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CULTURE OF CARE

No one may inflict pain, suffering or harm on animals without good reason (§1 TierSchG). No other human-animal relationship appears to be in conflict with our moral beliefs that animals are worthy of protection as much as animal-experimental research. With the change in the revision of the directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (2010/63/EU), animal welfare considerations in keeping, care, breeding and use in the sense of a lived culture of care (CoC) should have top priority._cc781905-5cde- 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_


The term Culture of Care comes from the Anglo-Saxon area in the field of care and medicine. A CoC stands for the entirety of the jointly developed values and patterns of an organization and reflects the quality of the care that is practiced. Securing the well-being of the person to be cared for and equally the well-being of the person caring for them (employee well-being) have top priority. 


In German usage, the culture of care is often translated as good care culture. However, if one respects the demands on a lived CoC, this term should be used more broadly as a culture of care and responsibility. Conducting animal experiments or the public stigmatization of one's own work as cruel and dirty can lead to individual psychological stress and ethical conflict situations in all professional groups involved in animal research (see also:Laboratory Animal Science Compact).

 

If we basically say 'yes' to animal experimental research, then we as a scientific community must commit ourselves to promoting animal welfare (animal protection), research quality, employee welfare and transparency with the highest priority in the sense of a lived CoC. A lived culture of care and responsibility therefore combines these elements and, in addition to the classic 3R principles (Replacement/Reduction/Refinement), addresses reproducibility and the two core elements of responsibility and respect. With a code of ethics defined in this way, we will implement our own, legal and social requirements for animal welfare in a responsible manner and at the same time meet our responsibility towards employee welfare. 


If we want to achieve and ensure maximum animal welfare, then we need people who are particularly caring, compassionate and empathetic. But it is precisely these who have a higher risk of suffering from physical and mental work stress in the long term. Without an appropriate intervention strategy, this condition can lead to the phenomenon of compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is described as a state of physical and mental (mental) exhaustion and not only leads to a reduction in one's own quality of life, but also to a reduction in work performance, up to and including inability to work (1-5).


In Germany, too, we must therefore address work-related, psychological stress and the effects on mental (human) well-being more presently within the scientific community involved in animal experiments and within the individual organizations. Because only the well-being of our employees, colleagues and our own well-being ensures maximum animal welfare. For me it is therefore a personal matter close to my heart not only to address the topics of mental stress, compassion faith and human well-being as an element of a CoC in animal experimental research and with you, but to accompany them professionally and actively. To this end, I have also undergone further training in the area of a healthy working environment (see References section).

literature:


1. Cocker and Joss, 2016, PMID 27338436
2. Ferrara 2020,Laboratory Animal Science Compact
3. LaFollete et al. 2020, PMID 32195275
4. Murray et al., 2020, PMID 33330693
5. Randall et al., 2021, PMID 33028460

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