Today I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon lying on the couch with my best buddy, Kitcat. We’ve been through a lot together Kit and I, and I love him to bits.
I remember the day we first met as it was the day the tsunami hit the coast of Thailand, Boxing Day 2004. My own little tsunami entered my life that day and I’ve joked that he has been causing destruction ever since. I was convinced I heard a tiny mewing throughout the day but after several searches around the front garden, found nothing. It wasn’t until I went to bed that night I heard it again, and determined to prove I wasn’t going crazy, opened the bedroom window and saw a tiny scraggly kitten sitting on the sill. I rushed out to rescue the tiny waif with a bowl of milk (first thing that came to mind) and then had the task of keeping him separate from our dogs – one of whom just wanted to eat him.I still giggle remembering how he played on the billiard table, chasing after the balls and diving into the pockets so his little bum and back legs wiggled out the top as he struggled to break free. As he grew up he comforted me through a marriage break up, settled into a new home with me and then years later lay protectively over me each exhausting weekend as I underwent chemotherapy. Yes, he has been my rock!
Today he lay on my lap as we looked adoringly into each other’s eyes – me massaging his head and whiskers as he purred gently. I got to thinking about by work at HRA – opposing animal experiments. I wondered how anyone could take Kit and use him as an instrument in an attempt to gain some knowledge – any knowledge – for the purpose of writing a research paper. I wondered how anyone could have such disregard for a sentient being with his/her own interests in living and inject them, sedate them, cut into them, implant them with electrodes and kill them for dissection. When did humans become so arrogant to believe that we are so superior to others that we can treat them this way? The fact that data from animals cannot be extrapolated to humans with sufficient accuracy is irrelevant here. Even if it was relevant, it’s still so very wrong.As Mark Twain famously said, “I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't...The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.”
Every year, in Australia alone, around 6 million animals are subjected to procedures ranging from observational studies to major physiological challenges and even death as an endpoint. This figure includes cats and dogs, farm animals, wildlife and even our closest relatives – primates.
Many people who share their lives with cats and dogs probably understand my affection for Kit and care equally for their own companion animals. They would be horrified to think that their own companions would be used in a laboratory, but every single one of those animals currently used in research is equally deserving. They are all just like Kit, and it breaks my heart to know that they continue to be subjected to such cruelty just because they don’t have a doting carer to protect them from such atrocity and to speak out on their behalf.