Has it ever happened to you that moments from the past suddenly return?
Perhaps they reappear because we grow into finding a solution to take the right action that we couldn’t take before.
Generally, I believe that we can influence the world in a more beneficial way if we focus on the positive side of life. Today, I have decided to open the trunk of suppressed memories
Laboratory Mice – September 1982
My first application to veterinary school was rejected and in order to increase the chances of being admitted the next year. I decided to apply for a job as janitor and animal caretaker. My job was to clean boxes full of laboratory mice.
In no time, these pens filled up with a layer of mice feces 2 to 3 inches high and stunk so badly that I can still recall the smell. The mice spend their whole life overcrowded and stressed. Sometimes they became aggressive and started to bite each other so hard that their backs were bleeding and full of scabs.
Part of the research was field trips where we were instructed to spread nets and traps to catch mice and birds. The unfortunate ones were caught and killed in the name of science, brought back to the lab, dissected, their organs chopped in a blender and the organ mix was injected into the bodies of the mice. I can’t even recall how the birds were killed. Perhaps it was a form of disassociation from this traumatic experience.
After a few weeks, the mice were killed by having their heads cut off. It was the most horrible procedure; I remember being so conflicted over this meaningless research; feeling horrified, angry and helpless at the same time. I think I numbed out because I knew that if I said anything, I would not be admitted to the vet school.
An unfortunate horse
I also remember a horse at the same department that was being used for research in Equine Infectious Hemolytic Anemia. This horse was purposefully infected with the disease and locked in small narrow “cell.” I was instructed to feed it, change the bedding and never let it out. I was not supposed to touch it because the virus could be transferred onto the other horses. I remember his sad dark eyes that were clearly asking:
“Why don’t you let me out, why don’t you touch me, why am I locked here in the dark and alone?”
As a vet student, I witnessed similar situations in dogs that were purposefully infected with parvovirus and distemper for the purpose of vaccine production.
They suffered so other dogs could get their annual vaccination.
We were also made to kill frogs, cut off their legs and study the physiology of the muscle function.
Cows in a slaughter house
We visited the slaughterhouse on a regular basis and learned how to examine cows. They were lined up in a row and we practiced on them just before they were slaughtered. All I recall is that I don’t remember any emotions…until now.
Then there were the classes in hygiene of food production and meat inspection. Once again, we had to go to slaughterhouses, witnessed pigs being electrocuted, and cows trying to frantically escape death row. I remember some of the butchers throwing organs and body parts at each other…
Healthy Dogs Euthanized at the Canadian National Veterinary Board Exam
In order to practice in Canada, I had to go through the Canadian National Board examination.
When taking the surgery exam, I was instructed to spay a stray dog and then perform euthanasia. I remember asking one of the examiners if I could adopt the beautiful young female dog that I performed the surgery on.
I was told not to ask such questions and perform the euthanasia. I did it out of fear that the examiner would fail me if I didn’t. I wish I could go back in time and make a different decision.
One would think that times have changed, but they have not. Many animals continue to be imprisoned and experimented on. Many pharmaceutical, medical and cosmetic companies continue using animals to test their products.
There is another concern that I have a need to share with you.
How do YOU and I make a difference?
- No matter if you are buying a toothpaste or an anti-wrinkle cream, try to buy natural products that are not tested on animals.
- Reduce the use of vaccines to a minimum and if you need to vaccinate, use products that are made on cultured media instead of live dogs, cats, horses and other animals.
- *If you are not a vegetarian, try to reduce your meat consumption to minimum. It is healthy for you and beneficial for the animals and the environment.
- You may also want to familiarize yourself with a slaughter house environment and production. It may be an eye opening and life altering experience. A good example is a movie called Fast Food Nation that was recommended by my friend Theo. There are also plenty of short clips on YouTube searching for “abuse slaughterhouse”
- I know that some of you may wonder why I recommend raw or cooked meat for dogs and cats. Nature intended them to be carnivores and they would not be well if they didn’t eat meat.
- If you buy processed food, it is much more likely that you will support the kind of meat production that I have mentioned above. A better choice is to buy meat of wild or free range animals that are slaughtered humanely.