Torturing Beagles (Because They’re Nice Dogs)

David Cassuto

I’ve been bothered by this article in U.S.A. Today since I read it.  The article, which talks about the rescue and subsequent adoption of some 120 beagles who were vivisected, has the typical feel-good, happy-ending narrative one often sees in articles of this type.  And don’t get me wrong; I’m delighted that the dogs were rescued and it is certainly a much better ending than anyone had any reason to expect for them.

Still, I found one passage especially haunting:  

The first time they saw actual sunlight was a stunning moment to many of them. And most were tentative about walking on grass, having never stepped on anything like that before. And the people with outstretched arms? Very strange. After all those months of regimentation, this attention and stimulation and all the odd new sensations were obviously jarring. But beagles being beagles (and that’s why they’re favored for research — they’re generally cheerful, easy to manage and adaptable), most moved quickly from their shell-shocked state to enthusiasm for the possibilities. . .

Here in one easy to digest paragraph is much of what’s wrong with us.  We subject animals to horrific torture while depriving them of even the sop of social interaction.  And, we choose the animals we do it to based on their friendly and social nature.

If there exists a better example of dysfunctional barbarism, I would like to know what it is.  Or maybe  I wouldn’t.  In any case, for the last 2 weeks, I’ve been particularly ashamed of my species.

5 Responses

  1. David, thank you for your thoughtful remarks about the beagles. I too feel disappointment and sadness when I think of how we – people – treat animals, especially when they trust, depend, and appreciate us. Nature gone mad. Suzanne

  2. Hi David
    Thank you for highlighting this. Your post reminds me of Matthew Scully’s start of Dominion – if nothing else, can we not at the very least show some mercy? Your post clearly demonstrates that too often we cannot. What is particularly disturbing about so much of vivisection is that it is done on animals that we do ‘understand’ to some extent – dogs, rabbits, primates. How do these people so robotically switch off? How do they not feel the shame that we feel for them? Harry

  3. Shame for our species? After almost 3 years of being aware of animal issues I watched Earthlings for the first time last night. I did so mainly because someone I wanted to watch it would only do if I watched too. Well, nearly 24 hours later I’m still numb. I just cannot believe we do what we do to such innocent, helpless creatures.

    And my companion who watched with me? Stoic. Unattached. Unmoved. So it continues to be the greatest mystery… Why some can have genuine concern… And others not the slightest bit of remorse.
    Yet again, I stay very disappointed in my species. 😦

  4. Yeah I think there’s only one thing that can cure the human species, and that’s extinction.

  5. I appreciate all of your thoughts. One often hears that vivisection is the most difficult form of animal exploitation to argue against because it ostensibly has a purpose beyond the comfort and pleasure of the responsible party. I disagree. I think torturing an innocent for the sake of knowledge (of dubious worth) is no more justified than torturing innocents for any other reason.

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