I just re-read a book called “The Plague Dogs” by Richard Adams (Thank you, Eric). It’s a story about two dogs that manage to escape an experimental laboratory that performed experiments on animals for “man’s greater good.” The cool thing about the book is that it’s told not only from a human point of view but also the dogs. I finished it nearly a week ago, but it’s still on my mind.
I kind of understand that some experiments that can’t be done on humans (because we’re supposedly humane) are performed on animals to discover cures that could someday potentially save the life of one of my grandkids. Seriously, who wouldn’t want that? Those are not the experiments that bother me as much…well, they still bother me, but I’m conflicted.
Where I’m not conflicted is when the experiments are to determine if a certain perfume is harmful or eye shadow or blush or whatever that is not detrimental to human life. Or the experiments that are performed are just to see what happens. Or the worst yet, experiments that are performed to determine the best way to kill millions of people like germ warfare or other biological weapons.
In the book, one of the dogs, Rowf, is dunked into a tank of water every day and he’s forced to swim until he drowns, then they resuscitate the poor dog so they can do it again the next day. Supposedly, they did this in the name of science to see if repeated drownings would increase endurance. They were going to do this continuously until he couldn’t be resuscitated any more.
The other dog, Snitter, had a chunk of his brain removed. The book never said what they hoped to learn from this. Another animal, a monkey, was forced into a sensory deprivation tube where he was force-fed and left there for 45 days until he was rescued.
There was a sense throughout the book that these scientists were so self-convinced that these experiments were necessary that they lacked any sense of empathy whatsoever. In one part of the book they talked about how they took a bunch of rabbits and secured their heads so they couldn’t move then sprayed hairspray into their faces until they all died. Their reaction? “Well, we’re going to need to get more rabbits.”
Seriously, anybody who has a cat or a dog knows that they actually possess feelings. They can feel pain, they can feel fear, they can feel love, they can express emotions, and they are much more innocent and pure than we’ll ever be.
I’m sitting here writing this with my cat in my lap. She’s purring and occasionally looks up at me with what I can only describe as love. She’s a smart cat, but I don’t think she would understand it if I started drowning her or spraying hairspray in her face. I’m pretty sure the loving look would be replaced with a look of fear. This is something I feel in my soul would happen, but I know I’m not willing to try it just to see if I’m right.
I’m pretty sure God put us on this Earth to care for the planet and all its inhabitants…not to torture them. I’ve often heard that many violent psychopaths began their crimes by torturing and killing animals before moving on to humans. So my question is, how is this so different?