THIS IS NOT OK. An animal laboratory in Germany is suspected of severely mistreating animals. From monkeys to dogs, they’ve been reportedly handling animals aggressively, leaving some in bloody cages laying limp on the floor.
My first thought when I read about this on CTV News was, “how are humans capable of such abuse and heartless actions? What goes through their heads when they violate these poor, innocent creatures who have almost no way of defending themselves?”
When reading about beagles being left to suffer when it was evident they were extremely sick and some even dying, all I could think about was my 3 year old labradoodle, Cedar. If anybody treated him in this manner I would hunt them down and do things to them I should probably restrain myself from mentioning on a public forum.
How could somebody, in their right mind, just stand there and watch helpless animals suffer and beg for relief and do NOTHING about it? I just don’t understand, so I decided to do a little research.
It is clear that desensitization plays a big part in this matter. On treehugger.com a factory worker admits he has become numb to the abuse of animals stating, “We have become so desensitized to animal cruelty and industrial processing of farm animals, that most of us – myself included – need reminding that farm animals are sentient beings little different from our beloved pets at home.”
Tim Pachirat’s book Every Twelve Seconds believes the issue of animal abuse in factories is mainly due to the system’s habit or normalization of animal suffering. He suggests “rather than focusing on the shocking examples we should be focusing on the system itself.”
Although Pachirat focuses on animal cruelty in industrial farming, I believe this observation is also applicable to animal abuse cases in other industries.
Psychology Today points out that animal abusers commonly have similar traits like “narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.” I do believe this to be the case for many domestic animal abusers; however, feel factory and laboratory workers who mistreat animals are most likely subject to the desensitization of animal cruelty from repetitive handling of animals in compromising situations.
The German laboratory discussed above handles many monkeys. These monkeys are said to be restrained by their necks and left in tiny cages to spin around in distress. Chimpanzees are extremely social animals and tend to adapt abnormal behaviour when isolated as they are in many laboratory settings.
Another question I posed was, “are all factory workers educated in the right handling of animals held in captivity for scientific research?” A 2016 article in The Guardian claims that “many academics consider teaching scientific research ethics to be a waste of their time.”
The article also claims that of 18 leading online scientific research university graduate programs, only 2 are said to “teach the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal use (the 3Rs), animal welfare, and the ethics of using animals in research.” This is terrifying and something I believe needs to be taken more seriously.