A recent New York Times article looked at a former banker, Mary Ann Baik, who left her job and retrained as an animal healthcare technician. Within this article another lab animal technician, Kevin Phelps, talked about his thoughts on his career – importantly he took care to mention the role of animal research in medicine.
Kevin I. Phelps, a senior lab animal technician at the SUNY Upstate Medical University research facility in Syracuse, focuses on minimizing the stress of the animals in his care.
“If they aren’t properly cared for and they get anxious,” he said, “their blood pressure goes up, their hormone levels change, and we end up with inaccurate test results.”
In a job that he says is different every day, Mr. Phelps has brought in toys to keep mice occupied and managed postoperative care for animals that had undergone new knee-replacement and kidney-transplant procedures.
Mr. Phelps also does public outreach to educate people about animal testing. “Animal research can be controversial,” he said, “but it’s a component of virtually every drug and medical advancement we have.”
It is this type of comment which helps to educate the public and reinforce the idea of the role of animals in medical research. Even articles that are not dealing with the animal testing controversy can be play a part in overall advocacy efforts in educating the public.
So good work to Kevin Phelps!