我於是去動物基金會（Fund for Animals）的洛杉磯分會當義工，這是個全國性的動物權組織，他們正致力於一個不太受矚目、但我認為有可能是動物研究重點的議題。
過去，生活對動物最大的挑戰，還只是在讓人類朋友餵食，現在卻得面對人類殘忍的對待。這就是所謂的「收容所佔有（pound seizure）」陋規。（編按：「pound seizure」一定天數後，收容所的動物仍然無人認領的話，就歸收容所，依法醫學中心可以申請這些動物去作實驗〉
Security will be tight next week when thousands of veterinarians, technicians and others responsible for the use of animals in medical research converge on downtown Seattle. The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science organizers are afraid of violent protests from activists who are fed up with the indifference the members of this industry has continually shown towards their test subjects.
The president of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Cynthia Pekow, was given a large amount of space in the “Seattle Times” Opinion section last Sunday, and in her commentary, she characterized animal activists as “terrorists.” Not everyone who stands up for the proper treatment of animals is a terrorist. Many of us are trying to save humans as well from life threatening dangers brought on by the scientific arrogance of so many researchers who use animals as medical subjects.
While media attention has focused on the destructive acts of a few very frustrated activists who have resorted to violence, destroying laboratories and releasing animals, the vast majority of protests come from peaceful, compassionate people who are working hard to end a cycle of terror that takes place in laboratories around the world, sanctioned by our culture and largely funded by our own government.
While I do not condone the violent acts of a few frustrated activists, I can totally understand their disillusionment with the system. If you had ever looked into the eyes of a tortured, suffering animal as I and so many others have, you would understand too.
My own journey of discovery about this troubling issue began in 1982 while I was working for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. I was helping plan the Voyager space exploration mission when I became troubled by NASA’s plans to conduct what I considered very brutal experiments on monkeys on the space station. Something didn’t feel right about it and, being a scientist, I decided the way to find out was to get really deep into the issue.
I choose to volunteer for the Los Angeles chapter of the Fund for Animals, a nationwide animal rights organization. They were working on an issue that wasn’t getting much attention, but that I thought might be at the heart of the animal research debate.
It seems that many animal shelters around the country allow medical research facilities to drive a truck up to the back door, pay from $5 to $10 per animal, and load up as many dogs and cats as they can carry. These animals, most of whom had known only human companionship and comfort until getting lost, were headed toward a terrifying life as research test subjects. Buffy and Spot and Rover were now headed toward a wholly horrifying existence, destined to be cut open without anesthesia, injected with an overdose of a drug to see what the effect would be, or used to test new medical equipment.
Animals whose greatest challenge in life just a few hours before was to get their human companions to feed them more treats were now headed toward a life of human induced pain and suffering. This practice had become to be known as“pound seizure.”
The Fund for Animals was attempting to influence the local city and county governments, as a test for introducing a federal bill to ban the practice nationwide, to end the practice in Los Angeles. Since I had some experience working with the media, I volunteered to lead the Press and Media Committee. One of my first duties was to create a five minute video to be distributed to the local and national media outlets showing some of the horrors that these former pet animals experience during medical experiments. We had obtained tens of hours of video footage, much of it taken by an activist who had gotten a job at a large medical research facility and took the pictures after hours.
To put together five minutes of video meant we had to select the most appropriate scenes of what goes on in the basements of so many famous research hospitals. They couldn’t be too horrifying or the networks would not broadcast the video. But such images could easily be taken out of context, so we hired a doctor to be on our staff and did some research into the assumptions that the public has about animal experimentation.
We had to watch the films over and over again. Our lives were forever changed. (to be continued)