I have had nightmares before about animals. A while back, I wrote about my first “meat-mare” as my friend Al calls them. I thought it was pretty unusual considering I had never had such dreams prior to becoming vegan, but Al said he used to have them all the time.
More recently, I had a nightmare where I had to watch a man drown dolphins (yes, dolphins can – and do – drown). I wanted to stop the man, but I couldn’t. The people I was with, who also knew it was wrong, said that we’d be risking our own lives if we tried to stop him, and they pulled me away. I couldn’t stop watching, though – I kept going back, panicking the whole time about how I wasn’t doing anything to help them.
A while before that, I had a dream that I worked in a laboratory where we did experiments on small monkeys. The monkeys were very frightened and what was being done to them was clearly very painful. When we weren’t using them, they were put in little boxes with no windows all by themselves. It was awful. The whole time, I was trying to find ways to get them out of there, but in the meantime, I had to pretend that I didn’t mind doing these awful, painful things to them because I had to be secretive about my plan to free them. It felt so terrible, and I felt so helpless.
Again, I thought having dreams like this was unusual, but I’ve come to learn that it’s actually quite normal for animal advocates to have nightmares about either having to hurt animals, or having to watch animals being hurt and knowing there’s nothing you can do. Really, it sort of mirrors real life for those of us who abhor all the wrongs that are done to animals every day – we know it’s wrong, but often times it feels too overwhelming to do anything, or we feel helpless even if we are doing something.
Has anyone else had nightmares like this? Do they stop at some point?
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In the past few weeks, I’ve had a series of interviews with a medical device company. The open position is incredibly interesting and would be seriously challenging – both of which I find appealing. I like the idea of working in a professional capacity to improve the lives of others, and working to bring life-saving medical devices to market would surely do that.
There’s just one problem: they do animal testing. I finally asked about this in my last interview. I knew that the answer would probably be yes, as I think (and I might be wrong on this) that the FDA requires animal testing prior to doing human clinical trials. Well, as my interviewer explained the reasoning behind why they do it, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. Could I do this? Would this compromise my ethics? Would the good I could do outweigh the bad?
I got my answer when he said, “Part of your job would involve attending these animal tests, which are typically carried out on live pigs. After the device is tested, the animal is humanely euthanized and an autopsy is conducted.”
ATTEND an animal test?? I felt myself wanting to tear up – that feeling like there’s something caught in your throat, you know? I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. As he finished up his speech about how they don’t take these tests lightly and they don’t do any more than they absolutely are required to, he asked me if I could handle doing this. I knew the answer, but just said, “You know, I am going to have to sit on that for a little bit and see if I can square it up with how I choose to live my life. But thank you for explaining it all to me and for being open about it – I appreciate it.”
I left there disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to pursue a job that, ethics aside (which I can’t do – put my ethics aside), I find really interesting.
Am I overreacting? If any other animal advocates/vegans have anything to say on this, I’d be very interested. I think I just feel too conflicted to be able to take this job and really give it my all, you know?
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