An open letter to a vivisector.

Via on Dec 17, 2011

Bonus. Inspiring: Lab research dogs see the sun & grass for first time.

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I received an email from a vivisector regarding  the media coverage for Beagle Freedom Project, which my company Evolotus has managed for almost a year. Below I’ve included her letter, in sections, then my responses.

“First, I should introduce myself. I am a middle-aged woman who has been a life-long animal lover and animal welfare advocate. I have been a licensed veterinary technician for over 30 years and have been involved in animal control and humane society work for 20 years. I am also a registered laboratory animal technologist and have worked at a university in animal research for 25 years.”

How exactly do you marry the idea of being an animal lover and advocate when your career calls for the unnecessary confinement, torture and suffering of animals? Do you not see the obvious contradiction? I fear for the people and animals that you exude compassion and love towards. Yikes. Do you show your love for children by confining and torturing them as well? You mention that you have been involved in animal research for 25 years. How exactly are you expressing your love and welfare for animals when you profit directly from confining and using them against their wills? Maybe you mean that you love your hefty paycheck?

“I do applaud your efforts in finding retired research dogs new forever homes. These animals have given so much to the advancement of science, medical breakthroughs and society — the least we can do is try to find them the green-green grass of home!”

We agree that “these animals have given much.” Unfortunately, they have given much without being asked if they desired to do so. It would be far more accurate to say that these animals have had much taken. Your other point about “the advancement of science, medical breakthroughs and society” is totally disingenuous. We both know that animal testing is bad science at best, and more accurately, fraud. When 92 out of 100 medications which make it out of animal testing and into human testing fail, the science is clearly garbage. In essence, you have spent 25 years confining and torturing animals, against their will, for fraudulent and dangerous science. Not only have you been harming animals, you have been putting the public at risk. It would be more accurate to say that you have spent 25 years testing on humans.

“BUT…the statement you use such as “known nothing except the confines of metal cages,” “They have known no soft human touch, no warm bed, no companionship, no love” could not be further from the truth!!! I am personally offended by these statements because I have been a part of making sure dogs (as well as many other species) are cared for and treated with the most compassion when they serve their purpose of being research subjects. Many live in large runs with “furniture” and enrichment devices. Many are housed in compatible groups. If individually housed, they are allowed out daily to play in groups. They are given social time with the animal care staff, research personnel and volunteers.”

You claim to know the conditions that our 55 rescued beagles have come from. You don’t. But I do. We have worked with contacts at different labs and they confirmed that these dogs were not exercised, were bred directly to go to labs, fourteen had their vocal chords cut so as to not bother the research staff, all were fed absolutely atrocious diets to minimize waste and costs, all were emotionally and psychologically damaged as a result of their time being caged, all came out with fear of other dogs and humans and all needed a lot of time, love and patience to become trusting of humans. Making false claims about these beagles having access to furniture, grooming, socialization/play, or leash training is an insult to those of us who rescued, fostered and adopted these victims of violence you directly profit from.

I lived with one of the rescued beagles for five weeks this summer. He did not come to us from a place where he was treated with any compassion or provided with any “enrichment.” He was frightened of sounds, of human touch, of cats, of toys — of life. We nurtured him into a loving dog.

More recently, we had eight of the beagles from the Spanish laboratory rescue in our home for five days. All of them were emotionally and physically scarred and violated. All of them will have long-term issues as a result of being held against their wills.

Right now we are living with two of the beagles rescued from Spain. They were not able to walk on leashes. They showed anxiety about eating. They were afraid, suspicious, antisocial. One of the boys was so psychologically scarred that it took six days before he allowed me to touch him. So stop pretending that you know how these dogs were treated when you have not spent one single minute with them.

“The personnel who care for our research dogs are some of the most compassionate, loving and caring individuals I know. They LOVE these dogs…they give them names…they bathe and groom them…they teach them to walk on leashes…they sit and cuddle with them… they give them LOVE!!”

Wow. Really? The personnel who care for your research dogs are compassionate and love the dogs? I will consult my dictionary to find an appropriate definition of compassion and love that includes confining and harming animals against their wills. Compassion is rescuing these beagles from your labs of torture. Loving them would be providing homes for them so that they can begin to heal.

“Also you should not use this statement: PLEASE DO NOT BUY PRODUCTS TESTED ON ANIMALS! You can see their faces now…buy only products that have the cruelty-free symbol. Buying cruelty-free products just means that a company purchased chemicals to use that had been tested elsewhere. The use of animals in research has been the reason for EVERY SINGLE MEDICAL DISCOVERY in the past 100 years. If you do not want to take products tested on animals, then stop taking antibiotics when you have an infection, don’t take your high blood pressure medication, refuse anesthesia when you have to have surgery, stop using sunscreen and get burned, don’t let your loved one get treated for cancer…because all the drugs used to treat that terrible where [sic] developed through the use of animals in research!!! Also, have you ever had to take your dog, or cat or other pet to the veterinarian and they had to be treated with medications or surgery — how do you think THOSE were developed!!!???”

This is quite a statement. Every single medical discovery over the past 100 years was due to animal research? Can you show me any proof?

You and your colleagues constantly justify your sickening industry as if you are saving the world, when we all know the majority of animal testing is done for non-biomedical products such as cosmetics, fertilizers, shampoos, and household cleaners. Enough with the propaganda already. Stop creating fear in the public. Stop pretending that medicine will fail without animal research, that our children will die without the important and vital work you do. People are waking up, and the work Beagle Freedom Project does threatens your livelihood. The sole reason you have a job is because you work in secret. As the public becomes aware of what you and your colleagues are doing to animals, your career is over.

You are clearly scared and know that the public will come to look at you and your profession as barbaric and will shun people like you. You’ve followed the media coverage. You’ve read the comments following our articles and videos and seen that the public does not support the obscene cruelty of your profession. The majority finds it morally and ethically unacceptable, and they want it to be illegal.

You know that the truth is on our side. Animal testing is not only unethical, but it is also fraudulent science. I understand that most people in poor health would be unlikely to give up their medications. Until animal testing is illegal, many feel they have no choice. However we do have choices in consumer products. You’re correct that many products that claim to be “cruelty free” are not, but you’re ignorant if you think that there aren’t real alternatives today.

“Stop bashing and telling LIES about the use of animals in research just to raise your funds!!! Stick to just wanting to find these great dogs new homes and that will be enough…and what is right.”

Rather than spend your time attacking those of us who are trying to clean up the violent mess that you created, and provide lives of love for the victims of your profession, it might be time to ask yourself if you truly do love animals. My suspicion is that if you sat with yourself for a moment, you would realize that you are nothing but an abuser of innocent beings.

 

Courtesy of The Thinking Vegan.

About Gary Smith

Gary Smith is co-founder of Evolotus, a PR agency working for a better world. Evolotus specializes in nonprofits, documentary films, animal advocacy campaigns, health/wellness, natural foods and socially beneficial companies. Gary blogs at The Thinking Vegan and writes for elephant journal, Jewish Journal, Mother Nature Network and other publications. Gary and his wife are ethical vegans and live in Sherman Oaks, CA with their cat Chloe and two beagles rescued from an animal testing laboratory, Frederick and Douglass.

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One Response to “An open letter to a vivisector.”

  1. [...] billion animals worldwide, each year (mostly factory-farmed pigs, chickens and cows). We weren’t experimenting on thousands of dogs, rabbits, rats and monkeys with all kinds of unnecessary viruses, toxic cosmetics, cleaning [...]

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