The Double Trauma of Animal Experimentation

Although the animal research community does its best to conceal the violence it commits against animals, there is ample evidence of the psychological and physical trauma it results in. What is less discussed both within and outside the animal advocacy community, is the trauma many researchers experience as a result of perpetuating atrocities against animals. Continue Reading

Why Should We Care About Animals?

It is 6:15 am on a Saturday, and I am awake. The rising sun peeks through my window, nudging me from sleep.  My room is stuffy. I am compelled to go outside.

The streets are empty. All is still and quiet…except it’s not. A rabbit bolts across the street, and I watch her bound away, her cottontail bobbing up and down.

Listen closer, and hear the squirrels chattering. Hear the birds cooing to one another, and the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves. The smell of fall. It is in small moments like these that I realize that I am never alone. Even at an hour where many humans would find it abominable to be conscious, I am surrounded by a community of creatures.

I am a second year law student here at Queen’s University. Every day is challenging for many reasons. Here is one that is very dear to my heart: Continue Reading

The “Other” Queen’s Community

Queen’s likes to talk about the “Queen’s Community”, a grouping which invariably includes students, faculty, and administrators. In more expansive moments, it might include alumni; or the employees who do maintenance work, food services, and a host of other tasks essential to running a small city within a city; or even the larger Kingston community living on the borders of campus, or interacting with and supporting Queen’s in a variety of ways.

But what about the animals? They are the invisible members of the Queen’s Community, all around us, but never seen. Some are hiding in plain sight — like the squirrels, crows, and sparrows who call the campus home. Some require a more observant eye. Consider the chimney swifts. These endangered birds like to roost in abandoned chimneys — like the one rising above Fleming Hall. Swifts inhabited the chimney for many years until the opening was screened off to exclude them in 1993. Then along came some Queen’s scientists (from PEARL, the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab). After cleaning out the chimney (to study the guano, and to learn about the impact of pesticides on swifts), the group reopened the chimney, and the swifts took up residence again after their next spring migration from the Amazon Basin.

Then there are the campus bats — the focus of a recent campus security alert about contracting rabies from bites and scratches. (The warning used a scary font to emphasize the threat, although there have only been 3 cases of bat-contracted rabies in Canada in the last dozen years. One should be prudent around bats, as with all wild animals, but they are delightful, not to mention vital, members of the community.) And we mustn’t forget the Queen’s Biological Field Station north of Kingston, 3000 hectares of Frontenac Axis habitat that is home to a wide variety of wild animals and the Queen’s scientists who observe them.

Other animals on campus are invisible because they have been transformed beyond recognition – into food, or fur and leather clothing and accessories. This orgy of animal consumption goes on with barely a thought given to the animals robbed of life, liberty, and even a little chance for happiness.

And finally we come to the animals who are truly most invisible on Queen’s campus – those who are hidden away in laboratory cages: dogs, rhesus monkeys, birds, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats and many others. Continue Reading