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?