Good morning. Every once in awhile I diverge from my quirky, light-hearted blog writing with some heavier and sobering pieces (see Rabies and Bobcat Babies). Unfortunately yesterday was one of those days (Happy Birthday to me, NOT!).
Mid last week I ran across a Facebook story centered around SUNY (State University of New York). The university system for SUNY contains more than five dozen campus locations and well over 400,000 students. So why should I care about an organization that is hundreds of miles away? Because I love cats.
Below is a four page open letter I wrote to the chancellor of the university after reading multiple articles exposing their practice of using living, breathing, awake and aware cats and kittens in their cruel, torturous experiments in the name of science. I tried to keep my cool in composing the letter and focus on making a logically sound argument balanced with visceral pleas about stopping something that is just fundamentally and morally wrong. I can understand why Ms. Kristina M Johnson and the university powers-that-be trying would be trying to distance themselves from the happenings in the lab. Any reasonable person who isn’t a psychopath should be aghast and repulsed by SUNY’s collective indifference to life and humane actions.
One final thought for Kristina M Johnson and everyone one their Board of Trustees: If you truly believe the procedures performed on these animals are within acceptable and reasonable limits, how about you put yourself in their place and be subjected to the indescribable acts these 4-12 months old kittens and cats have to endure until they have served their purpose and are ultimately destroyed right after? See if you condone their treatment and tormented final living hours then. Please read my letter and share this post with as many animal loving people you can find – far and wide! For more information, please see the attached links at the bottom.
SUNY System Administration
Attention: Kristina M. Johnson
State University Plaza
Albany, NY 12246
June 23, 2019
Dear Ms. Johnson,
I am writing to you today to implore your university campuses and networked schools to cease your practice of using living cats and kittens in experiments. This practice has recently come to my attention and when I found out what you have done to these helpless animals, I became physically ill. Over the past several days I have reached out to express my outrage, disgust and disappointment via multiple social media platforms with direct links to your university. My efforts to enlist support for putting a stop to this absurdly cruel practice are just ramping up.
You may be asking what business is it of a part-time blogger from the Midwest what goes on in New York State? To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me if the offending university was twenty minutes or twenty hours (drive) from my home. This practice of taking living, breathing, awake and aware animals and subjecting them to pointless tests that are inflicting pain and fear into the subjects is wholly appalling. Ask yourself this question, if you had a field trip full of third graders walk by these ‘researchers’ how would you explain to them what was going on?
Hey Billy, the experiments being done are yielding almost no useful data and these test subjects, aka cats and kittens, are like your pets at home. They feel a lot of what is being done to them. It makes them afraid and causes them pain. Then when we are done with these cruel experiments, we are euthanizing (killing) the subjects and throwing them away like garbage. But don’t worry; it’s not that this was being done just this one time. Nope, we are doing it thousands of times per year for years and years and years. How does that make you feel Billy?
While you compose a retort for the above scenario, let me quickly relay two stories. The first one is centered around my vasectomy surgery from about 15 years ago. In my first marriage, my then wife and I decided we were not going to have children. Based on risk factors and potential complications with her health, we decided it would be easier and safer for myself to undergo the procedure to permanently disable my baby producer. We did quite a bit of research leading up to the procedure but even armed with knowledge, I was still very nervous. The day of the procedure came and the assistant for this simple operation prepped me. I was administered a numbing agent and then left alone in the operating room waiting for the doctor to come complete his part of the procedure. A few minutes stretched in several minutes until almost an hour passed. The assistant returned along with the doctor and apologized for the delay, stating they had to handle an urgent situation. Finally the procedure began and progressed. After a few minutes I started to experience some tingling and pressure in that area. As they continued to work, the tingling and pressure quickly turned into more than mild discomfort. To that point in my life I had experienced a few panic attacks so I knew there was one on the verge of happening. I communicated to the doctor my pain and tried to control my panicky breathing as sweat was seeping from my pores everywhere. Mentally I was having a hard time rationalizing what was happening and keeping myself calm. Mercifully, with my jaw painfully clenched, I was able to gut my way through the longest minutes of my life until the doctor and assistant were able to wrap up the procedure.
The second story takes place a few years before the vasectomy episode. Beginning in my early teen years I didn’t have the best eyesight so naturally I was fitted with glasses. I wore them to play sports, drive, watch TV and almost everything that was necessary to correct my vision with far away objects. After getting approved for financing for the procedure, I made an appointment with a Lasik surgeon. I don’t know what the procedure consists of today but back in the day: you went, they prepped you, they stuck a device in your eyes (to hold them open), someone took a scalpel and sliced the top layer of your eye open and then a laser burned part of your eye in a way to correct the vision. I voluntarily signed up for this procedure and every step of the way I was scared, very scared. In my mind I know I wanted to have my vision corrected but the gravity of having someone mess with your eyes is one of the scariest things. From the onset of the process where they sliced the eye (no pain but frightening to have the knowledge of knowing your eye could get ruined) to the part where my eyes were forced open and the laser burned its way across my eyes (you can smell burnt eye and it smell kind of like burnt plastic) to the end when they flip the outer layer back down. Afterwards my eyes felt itchy and like little bits of sand were rolling around in there. On the whole, the procedure was one of the most frightening experiences of my life.
If you have read this far you are probably asking what does any of those stories have to do with live animal testing/experiments? The animals used in these experiments are, in some capacity, awake for these cruel actions done to their eyes and their bodies. Their brains can still process pain and fear. Troubleshooting the above scenario of my vasectomy, I’m not sure if the dose of numbing agent was administered incorrectly from a dosage standpoint or just wore off from the extended time-frame or maybe the product itself was faulty – no way to know for sure. But I would speculate that in some of these cat and kitten experiments there could have been similar failures to ensure these animals were sedated enough to dull pain sensors or worse no blocking effects at all so they were subject to being cut upon in agony. Each individual has differing amounts of tolerance to drugs so it is very plausible that even giving similar proportionate animals identical dosages could result in having the desired effects reduced.
Then there are the psychological aspects of these experiments on living, awake and aware animals. Refer back to my Lasik story about how much fear and anxiety I experienced. I, as a human being, can rationalize a certain amount of fear and anxiety away. Even so, I was terrified of losing my sight in a procedure that I wanted to have done for the prospect of bettering my sight and quality of life. A kitten or cat has no such way to rationalize what is happening to them in these ghastly experiments. Starting with being drug away from their fellow prisoners, then getting injected with dyes and nerve agents before being strapped into an apparatus that will be their virtual electric chair. Cats and kittens from four to twelve months old cannot process why they are having pain and fear inflicted upon them nor can cats or dogs of any age really. The subjects of these cruel experiments cannot move or escape the merciless psychopaths who are destroying their eyes and their bodies all-the-while making them weak, sick and terrified.
These live animal experiments are akin to ignorant children pulling wings off of flies. Several years ago the public lost their minds and immediately shunned pro football athlete Michael Vick after he was linked with vicious dog fighting. During the mid-1900’s, Adolf Hitler became notorious for his cruel crimes against humanity, most of which were linked back to stomach turning experiments involving people and animals.
Many of the experiments performed by your staff and associates run parallel to some of the worst behavioral acts of the most infamous serial killers in United States history. Torture is torture, whether it is against animals or humans matters not. If you strip away the fancy institutional buildings and put your personnel in someone’s garage or basement perpetrating these heinous acts, the FBI would have them profiled as potential serial killers and/or imprisoned.
Right about now you will try to present an argument using the poultry and beef industries and how they slaughter their animals. The huge difference between them and you is that those industries have a viable end goal: meat. The animals killed in those industries are providing meat for feeding our meat consuming population. What about veal? Yes the treatment of young cows in the production of veal is horrendous and cruel. I do not eat veal, never have nor will I. Veal is an elitist food and there are organizations working daily to try to get that to stop. My focus is on cats and kittens and trying to stop the unspeakable practice of torturing these animals with no results to show for it. If the universities across the nation want to continue to experiment on and dissect deceased animals for scientific progress, then be my guest.
In the United States, according to recent statistics, over 30% of the households have cats and over 36% have dogs. Of the millions of tax payers in the enrollment area for SUNY university campuses, how many of them have pets? Of those tax paying pet owners in your community, how many of them know about your cruel and pointless practices of mentally and physically torturing these animals? I’d wager a good number would be equally appalled by your callous and heartless actions over nearly a decade. In this day and age of corporation sponsorship’s and the almighty marketing dollars, I think your organization would probably take a pretty significant public relations hit for this back alley level brand of research you are doing.
In addition to this letter to your chancellor, I am writing to: the governor of New York, your mayor, your senator, your representatives in the House, regional animal protection agencies, major pet food production companies and the top recruiting agencies of your students to ask for a boycott of your products (outgoing students) until you end this abhorrent practice.
I recently interacted with an acquaintance on Twitter about a philosophical dilemma. The scenario involved a local restaurant and the leader of the KKK wanting to hold a faction meeting there. The owner opted to decline the leader of the KKK’s request to hold their meeting in his establishment because the owner didn’t want to have his business associated with the organization who’s beliefs are rooted in something superficial as a person being inferior based on the color of their skin. He chose principal over profit. Was the owner’s decision the correct one? Depends on whom you ask. Those beating the freedom of speech drum may cry foul but then there are those who would reasonably discern right from wrong and likely side with the owner. Some people possess honor, logic and character; therefore they know supporting something wrong should bother them and give them sleepless nights.
Upon seeing the report this week that your university is doing the unthinkable is giving me sleepless nights. As a cat owner for the last two and a half decades, what you are enabling to happen is sickening. You should be sickened. Your entire board should be sickened. Anyone associated with your campuses should be sickened.
This blanket statement goes for all institutions throughout the United States. We are the self proclaimed Greatest Country in the World. As a nation we should not let something like this happen without harsh punishments. I’m sure you will cry foul noting that these types of experiments and much worse are happening in other countries as we speak. This is a sad fact and unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it at this time. We as a proud people should hold ourselves to a higher standard and try to find an alternative solution that doesn’t require this type of Leatherface or Freddy Kruger research. With the myriad of computer simulations, cadaver trials (human and other) and accumulated historical knowledge there is no need to maim and crucify cats and kittens for crude nothingworks.
I don’t anticipate you valuing my input on this subject with any magnitude of weight but just know that I don’t intend to let this go meekly like a frightened kitten crying in the night.
2148 Timber Lane
Barnhart, MO 63012
Search terms: SUNY university, cats, experiments, animal protection groups
Thank you…and please help these helpless animals.