SAEN LogoAgony and Indifference - Essays From SAEN Stop Animal Exploitation Now

Agony and Indifference
By Michael Budkie

Animal activism is about fighting injustice, opposing oppression, and working for the freedom of all animals from domination. There are as many kinds of suffering, abuse, and cruelty as there are people to perform them and animals to abuse.

The abuse which we deal with is more than any person should have to take in. In the work that I do, I process tremendous amounts of information. Alpha Genesis is a laboratory and animal dealer in South Carolina. According to the most recent report about 5700 primates are imprisoned at Alpha Genesis, but the information which I have examined is relevant to a smaller part of this population of prisoners – only 1700 of them.

The facts are no less devastating because they convey the truth about a subset of all of the animals. 39 primates at Alpha Genesis have only one half (or less) of their tails. Well over 100 other primates are missing a body part ranging from an ear up to an entire appendage.

The carnage doesn’t stop there. One frequent cause of death at Alpha Genesis is fatal trauma. One unfortunate animal died of “Fatal trauma to face- nose and mandible crushed.” Five others died of fatal trauma. Additionally, several other primates were “eviscerated.” In other words, the abdomens of these monkeys were ripped open and their intestines spilled out. For example, primate TC056 is described: “Puncture wound to left inguinal area, small amount of blood pooled at site. 2-3 cm tear to right abdomen with approximately 20 cm of small intestine outside of abdominal cavity. 1-2 mm puncture through a part of exposed/eviscerated jejunum.”

There is more horror in that last paragraph than anyone should have to read. The images conjured up by those 105 words are enough to cause a nightmare for anyone with a sensitive soul.

As activists we have to bear this kind of pain. We really have no choice. We cannot make a difference for the animals if we don’t understand what actually happens to them. Having that understanding of their pain, suffering, and agony is vital if we are to effectively fight for their freedom.

This is a truly painful process. Immersing ourselves in agony, walking face-first into a tidal wave of suffering, taking a chance on drowning in horror, is enough to drive us over the edge. It is enough to make a person walk away from activism forever. It is sufficient cause to bring out immense anger. It is also ample agony to bring us almost to madness.

But people like us, PEOPLE, caused this. People DO this. These animals are victimized by PEOPLE. And so it is up to us, US PEOPLE, to DO something about this. The animals can’t end it for themselves. They have no one but us.

Therefore it is our responsibility, as ugly, as painful, and as excruciating as this process can be, it is our DUTY to end the horror that is animal experimentation. We cannot assume that some big organization will do this for us. We cannot depend on someone else. This is OUR responsibility, and no one else can fulfill it.

So, speaking to you as someone who has just read about dozens of monkeys who have no tails, speaking as someone who has just digested the truth about monkeys with crushed faces or abdomens that have been ripped open, speaking as someone who has swallowed enough carnage to last a lifetime, we must ALL do our part. If the animals are to be free, then we must each endure our own private little hell.

We must be willing to step outside of ourselves, leave our comfortable lives, give up our quiet corners and step out to make a difference. We can no longer sit on the sidelines. We cannot stay uninvolved.

When we beg off, when we fall short, when we decline to act, when we are too busy, or just can’t be bothered, we are just as much a part of the system that exploits animals as if we did it ourselves. If we refuse to act, then we might as well perform the experiments personally. Inaction locks primates into cages. Apathy straps monkeys into restraint chairs. Indifference condemns them to death.

The pictures cannot be too difficult to see. The experiments must not be too painful to read. The deaths must not go undiscovered. If we don’t look, if we don’t learn, then we cannot cause change. Progress does not come without struggle, and so for the sake of the animals we must be willing to accept lives of confrontation.

No one ever promised us that life would be easy, comfortable, or calm. Protests include confrontation; news conferences require standing in front of television cameras; and closing labs involves long and difficult struggles.

But be assured it can happen. It does work. Miracles DO happen. The Pennsylvania State University Medical School has stopped using primates. Harvard is closing down the New England Primate Research Center. These were not accidents.

Only one question remains, though it is posed many different ways. Are you willing to fight? Will you join the struggle? Will you stand up, step forward, and commit to making a difference?

Are you willing to be an activist?

One thing that everyone can do immediately is to take action against the Alpha Genesis lab. Please go to this page to get all the details on what to do: USDA Cites SC lab for 5 Negligent Primate Deaths; Watchdog Group Claims There May be More Deaths, and Animal Mutilations; Calls for Fine; Files Complaint.

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