Between the biting cold, the forlorn street, and the building’s pedestrian traffic at a disheartening holiday low, I feel I am finally ready to lay this project to rest…for now, at least. The hours spent in solitude out there have given me plenty of time to question the efficacy of my efforts and at times even to lament my somewhat impulsive planning (choosing winter over spring, including a holiday week and semester break, etc.); but more importantly, I’ve had ample time to contemplate redoubling these efforts for next time. However that may manifest itself. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent chatting with those who bid me the honor, constantly learning, enjoying the company of friends, meeting new ones, and experimenting with this medium of communication and protest.
This is far from over. The mainstream media seemed to not care enough to cover my humble project, but who needs ’em anyway? In the past few days I have done interviews for a documentary film on veganism in New Orleans, and another for a podcast called Vegan Radio. The latter should be available shortly after the start of the New Year.
I want every one to know how inspiring such a project can be, and beseech you all to try something like it. I’d like to thank every individual who came to visit; my amazing friend who provided the initial spark, encouragement, and help to hatch this outrageous plan; Michael at SAEN; Jeff at the Humane Society of LA; all who organized and participated in solidarity actions around the U.$.; and those courageous individuals who showed themselves unafraid to heed their conscience and question their colleagues’/bosses’ unethical atrocities on the animal kingdom. Little thanks to “philoshophy guy,” who gave me more of a headache than any constructive criticisms. A begrudging “thank you” to the dude who stole my phone, only to return it after he tried unsuccessfully to secure $40 (yes, this really did happen, Officer “I Appreciate Your Honesty”. Duh. What’s more unbelievable — that I would fabricate such a story for the purpose of “internet banter” or that I simply wasn’t interested in providing the university police with a profile/description of some harmless individual?! ).
Remember, comrades and conscientious objectors, that just because we use (or may have used) a procedure developed ostensibly “through” [sic] animal experiments does not make us perpetrators of the violence inflicted on these beings. This is the lucrative paradigm of the research world — as enforced by the NIH and FDA, and lobbied for by powerful pharmaceutical giants — and a shrewd way for those whose salaries depend upon animal research grants to deflect accountability. (As a matter of fact, as an individual who has laid awake nights haunted by the images of laboratories and terrified animals, such a spiteful sentiment evokes more than a little resentment.) We did not construct these concentration camps, and we do not order these animals’ executions.* Our responsibility lies not with which procurements of modern medical technologies we use — any more than our being treated for hypothermia would subject us to complicity with the Nazis who developed said data from experiments on Jews. Where our responsibilities lie is in stopping the system that perpetuates institutionalized animal abuse. For if we do not try to stop the horrors, we can, indeed, count ourselves as complicit as the “good Germans” who did all in their power to numb themselves and ignore the smoke stacks rising in the distance…
Remember it is not a matter of procedure but a matter of systemic oppression. So when those who abuse animals assure us that their methods are humane, when they tell us they care for the animals they exploit, here is my rebuttal:
“The worst slave owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realized by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it.” — Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
*Just the other day, a woman told me how for seven months she “sacked” the unwanted animals by gassing them with CO2. (The phrase “sacking” is indicative of the disconnection implicit in animal experimentation: it’s short for “sacrifice,” otherwise known as “murder” — thus, “sack” is an abbreviation of a euphemism.) She told me, “It really stressed me out. It made me feel really guilty.”