Tag Archives: vivisection

Rats–The Best Pets Money Shouldn’t Buy

Death Valley, in the Badwater Basin, lowest point in North America (282 feet below sea level) with my lil traveling buddy!

Chillin in the redwoods ❤


I am a companion rat called Romeo.  The highlight of my day is when my enormous un-furry father feeds me treats—peanuts and pistachios (especially in the shell!  It’s fun to chew them open and retrieve the tasty meat within), broccoli, and bananas are my favorites.  Holy shit, bananas!!  They drive me nuts, and nuts drive me bananas.  Hehe.  That’s a little joke for you.  You think I’m a peabrain, but I see you big un-furry apes killing the life-support systems on your only planet—now that is dumb!  Talk about peabrained, jeez.

When dad is reading, I like to hop onto his chest and stand on my hindlegs and nibble on the edges of his books, especially when they’re ones he really likes, the materialist fool.  He was soooo mad when my cousin chewed up several top-to-bottom inches of Catch-22!  We don’t chew books because they taste good; we chew books because we have teeth.  And it’s fun to work what you got.  Kind of like my dad likes working his cock!  When I see him mating with himself, I feel a little less lonely; we’re also both of us “fixed,” unable to breed offspring, so we’re more alike than you might think.

Sometimes he accidentally leaves things (e.g. canvas bags, the fabric wrappings of ice-packs for his knees, very ripe– and dad-smelling clothes he’d been wearing for many many days) just close enough to my McCage that I can reach out and snag them.  My philosophy is that they must exist close by for a reason; I’ll worry about what purpose they can serve me after I yank them into my mansion, even if it takes a whole night of tugging and pulling and biting and maneuvering.  Do now, figure out why later.  That’s the ideology of this rat in a nutshell.  Mmm, nutshells!


But really (this is Jan speaking now), rats are wonderful companion animals.  I grew up with dogs, and of course they’re the ideal rescued pet, but dogs and cats aren’t for everyone.  When space and/or money and/or laziness—er, I mean, extreme busyness—are considerations, you can’t do better than adopting a rat or rats.  They are adorable, intelligent (that’s right, I have anecdotes to prove it!), extremely curious, affectionate, completely fine with being vegan—as Romeo demonstrated above, they LOVE eating their fruits and veggies!—and very simple to take care of.  Also, they purr!  Well, they rat-purr, which is called bruxing, where they grind their teeth together, a sign of happiness and affection.  What an edifying, lovely sound that is; it fills me with joy to know that Romeo appreciates my massages and neck and ear rubs; he especially enjoys having the top of his head lightly stroked, between his eyes.  That gets him bruxing almost immediately!

If you’re in northern California, you can adopt from my friend Lauren’s wonderful rescue, North Star; in southern California, there’s Wee Companions  based out of San Diego.  Most animal rescue groups are willing to find transport for their newly adopted animals.  Or there’s always the local shelter—often they have rats.  NEVER buy ANY animals from a pet store, please!  If you’re not in California, you could look up small animal rescues online, or go to the shelter, or (and this applies to enterprising Californians as well) you could go to your local vivisection laboratory and rescue some rats from there—I recommend going at night, when nobody else is there.  Wear gloves!  😉

You might wonder what the hell any of this has to do with undermining the industrial megamachine.  Nothing, maybe.  Maybe everything.  Probably something.  See, I truly believe that every act of compassion and kindness matters.  Of course it matters to the individual nonhuman, but I think it goes beyond that.  The dominant culture is built and maintained on violence, on sociopathology, on a complete and utter dearth of kindness and compassion.  Most members of this culture have our compassion, especially for nonhumans, beaten out of us (sometimes literally, usually figuratively through the media, our parents, etc.) as we grow out of childhood.  To reject that socio-cultural inculcation is the first step toward liberation; liberation of ourselves and of all the oppressed, from people of color to gays to women to nonhuman animals to trees and plants and fungi and rivers and natural communities in general.  It’s all connected.  Don’t believe me?  You’re wrong.  I have anecdotes to prove it!

Further, rats are one of the most maligned species of all.  By demonstrating to people how wonderful they are, you make strides toward undoing that inappropriate and unfortunate cultural malignancy.  This is especially important for animal-lovers because rats are one of the most heavily used-abused animals in vivisection laboratories.  In fact, not only do rats and mice represent 95 PERCENT of all animals tortured and killed needlessly in labs, wasting money and time when it could be spent on preventative medicine, they aren’t even covered under the already-paltry Animal Welfare Act.  So one great way to way to undermine the vivisection-industrial complex, which would itself help to undermine industrial civilization as a whole, is to build a larger culture of respect for heavily-abused animals like these.  The dominant industrial culture will be brought down in a million different ways.  Find your way(s) to contribute.  Maybe this can be one of them!  Countless—literally countless—lives, both human and nonhuman, depend upon it.

Vivisection and Flowers

This post brings together two seemingly disparate topics which in reality connect well together.  I’m putting them in one post because I happened to do the two separate things on the same day (UC Davis animal research protest with the Open the Cages Tour and a nature and arboretum walk).

First we got our protest on at the despicable California National Primate Research Center; there were young activists in their 20s like myself, and people who have been protesting vivisection since before many of us were born (perhaps it’s long past time we as a ‘movement’ reevaluate the tactics we support and advocate?).  A great mixture of old-school and new-school coming together.

One of the tourers got some good messages out there as he was interviewed by two separate local channels (I don’t know how much they actually showed–my guess is not-much, but such is the way of the world).  He was eloquent and concise, although I do wish he’d talked not just about primates, since rats and mice constitute 95% of the animals used in vivisection, and they suffer unfathomably as well; of course, it was a protest focusing on the Primate Research Center, but there’s nothing wrong with mentioning the millions of beautiful, sweet little creatures (I’ve had rescued pet rats for the last 5 years, and they’re wonderful and amazing companions!) who aren’t even covered under the already-pitiful and rarely-enforced Animal Welfare Act.  That’s right, the AWA excludes all rodents, so they’re basically like naked soldiers walking into a nuclear test range.

I also got to get a little megaphone time; I already have what they call “megaphone mouth,” meaning the ability to make my voice very, very loud, so I’m hoping the monkeys in their tiny cages could hear me calling for their freedom from their Nazi imprisoners deep behind the walls of the torture chambers.

It was rather enjoyable and cathartic to exorcise some of my pent-up prison rage =)

Tonight the Open the Cages Tour will be having an Animal Rights workshop in Seattle, and tomorrow there will be a protest at the University of Washington.  Then it’s farther on up the Best Coast to Vancouver!  Here is their tour schedule.

After that, I met up with a friend from college, Kirsti, whom I haven’t seen in nearly three years.  She’s a major plant enthusiast and has a degree in Biological Science with an emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, so she taught me a LOT about plants; usually I’m the one telling others about the natural features of an area, so it was very nice and humbling to be schooled; hopefully I can impart some of her impressive knowledge to you, Dear Reader.  First we went to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, just outside Davis, where we saw some lovely flowers, snowy egrets and a great blue heron, red-winged blackbirds, and swarms of beautiful dragonflies above our heads.

Kirsti says:  “Most people think that the sunflower is a single flower, but actually it is a composite of numerous florets (small flowers). Each single outer petal is actually a sterile floret, and the real flowers are arranged in the center in a beautiful Fibannochi pattern to maximize packing of seeds after they are fertilized.”  So cool!  I never knew that–had no idea.

“This showy orange flower is a south African plant called Wild Dagga. The plant’s modest water requirements and ability to attract hummingbirds makes it a popular ornamental in the Central Valley and Southern California.”

We couldn’t figure out what this plant is, but its geometry is so stunning and even psychedelic that I had to include it.

“[This] succulent is a hybrid of Echeveria elegans and it is being showcased in a garden filled with hand-picked “All Stars” chosen by the Arboretum Master Gardener staff for their ability to flourish in Davis and the Central Valley with minimal upkeep.”  I referred to the Echeveria as the “dancers” because the flowers look like they’re swing-dancing!

I was a little conflicted about posting a single non-native plant picture on this blog (the Wild Dagga), but Kirsti can provide a scholarly interpretation of the arboretum’s general ecological soundness; obviously it has value in teaching people about plants, but you always have to ask, At what cost?  Like how zoos can teach us about animals, but at a horrific cost to the animals and our own psyches (on this topic, I cannot more highly recommend Derrick Jensen’s beautiful, heartbreaking book, Thought to Exist in the Wild:  Awakening From the Nightmare of Zoos).  But this arboretum is a good one.  As we come nearer and nearer to a post-oil world, learning about and propagating plants is becoming immeasurably important.  I’ll let Kirsti take it away!

“As climate change threatens the [Central] Valley with increasing water shortages, the Arboretum emphasizes the practice of xeriscaping, aka green landscaping– or designing gardens that use plants that reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. [emphasis added]

“Using native plants is one obvious tactic, as they are already adapted to the particular water needs of the region, and their presence supports the myriad insects, birds and other organisms that exist in the native community. Although most exotic plants tend to require more maintenance or water than natives, the Arboretum has done a great job of identifying specific drought-resistant exotic plants from other countries that synergize with the Central Valley’s climate.

“Invasive species are a real problem because they compete with native species for space and resources and might possess novel qualities that allow them to proliferate out of control and wipe out scores of native species and communities in their wake. Although some exotic plants may be beneficial in green landscaping, it is important to remember that these seemingly isolated plants start as source population for spreading beyond your garden, and this may have tragic consequences to the local ecosystem. In the interest of protecting native communities, the real focus should be on landscaping with native plants that are relatively beneficial to the native community in the event they escape beyond your garden.” [emphasis added]

Beautifully rendered explanations, Kirsti, thank you so much for your input!

Support Camille Marino

Yet another aboveground, legal activist being harassed and arrested and repressed by the government and animal-killing industries.

“Camille Marino is a passionate and uncompromising animal activist,  On Saturday, Feb. 4th, while attending a peaceful anti-vivisection [A euphemism for animal torture] demonstration and commemoration of two monkeys who were tortured to death at the University of Florida, Camille was arrested on charges related to her campaign against notorious vivisectionist, Donal O’Leary, an animal experimenter at Wayne State University in Michigan.
-From Camille’s Support website

O’Leary’s vicious, torturous experiments on dogs have been shown to be in frequent violation of the already-paltry Animal Welfare Act; the dogs suffer “unrelieved agony,” according to the Physicians Committtee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Check out Camille’s and others’ great, uncompromising anti-vivisection site, Negotiation Is Over.

How many times do we have to see government and University collusion to maintain and expand the enormously profitable (it is a billions-of-dollars industry) vivisection-industrial complex?  See, for example, the case of the AETA 4 (and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act itself!  According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, “The law was pushed through Congress by wealthy biomedical & agri-business industry groups…”)  It’s time to see that only a militant, relentless, holistic, above-AND-underground campaign to end animal experimentation will make strides in that direction.  If you don’t support direct action to end the senseless, wasteful torture of animals in laboratories, you don’t support the suffering animals.  It really is that simple.

Here are some pictures obtained from a University of Florida laboratory, taken by the vivisectors themselves and released through a records request.  Yes, they are graphic and disturbing.  That’s because vivisection is ubiquitously graphic and disturbing.  Please, please don’t turn away from this suffering.  If you get angry, DO SOMETHING!!

See the personhood and pain in her eyes.

Looks comfy!

I saved what is to me the most disturbing for last. First look at the resignation, the utter, spirt-crushed hopelessness in the animal’s eyes. Then look at the vivisector’s eyes. He looks proud and pleased with himself. She looks hungry, bloodthirsty.

More of these horrid, truthful pictures can be found at Camille’s Facebook page.

Support Camille.  And support the about-to-begin Open the Cages tour, coming to a west coast campus/city near you soon!  It is being sponsored by the amazing Michael Budkie’s amazing group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now!  (SAEN)

“Power never takes a step back–only in the face of more power.”  -Malcolm X

We must have the power and the courage to do whatever it takes–WHATEVER IT TAKES–to end vivisection once and for all.

As the World Burns by Jensen and MacMillan

This book was released five years ago, but it’s still great and still very timely and I want to promote it, so this is my short review of it.

As the World Burns:  50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial, by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan, Seven Stories Press, 2007.

As the World Burns is a graphic novel about a world becoming increasingly unlivable.  Dams choke rivers and decimate fish populations, factories spew toxic garbage into the air and water and soil, and enormous swaths of open space disappear to the death-marching “progress” of industrial civilization (sound familiar?).  And we’re supposed to fight this death machine by recycling?  Taking shorter showers?  All the while, aliens from outer space have descended, and bought off the rights to what’s left of Planet Earth’s natural resources from the torture-loving, zombie-faced U.S. President in exchange for large amounts of gold.  The aliens begin gorging themselves—literally—on the forests, rocks, mountains, fish, and everything else in the natural world until almost nothing is left.  And the president’s corporate masters are not happy about it…

The novel traces the philosophical evolutions of many disparate human characters—young adults, mainstream environmentalists, a nature-loving wanderer who may or may not be Derrick Jensen—and how they come together, both conceptually and physically, to rise up with appropriate levels of resistance and stop those who are killing the planet.  For the nonhumans, there is never any question.  The crows, the polar bears, the raccoons and fish and one-eyed “vicious terrorist” bunny who escaped from a vivisection lab, don’t have the luxury of waiting patiently for the revolution to come, for the shackles of civilization to be gradually lifted.  They don’t have air conditioning, water filters, or laws to protect them; they feel the brutal effects of industry and human development every day, in their bodies, in their psyches.  For those with the steel-toed Shaq-boot of civilization on their necks, there is no tomorrow.

As the World Burns is a gripping, hilarious, heartbreaking tale.  I cheered and I cried when the one-eyed bunny returns to the vivisection lab and exacts revenge on his tormentors.  We could all learn something from the “terrorist” bunny, and the rest of the nonhumans in the story.  They never stop to question whether their actions are “moral,” legal, or fit into a rigid dogmatic philosophical doctrine (also a product of civilization, a concern that just doesn’t exist in the natural world).  Freedom is all that matters.

As the World Burns is rife with Jensen’s acerbic wit.  McMillan’s drawings are fabulous, too.  It is necessarily less in depth than Jensen’s usual long, winding, piercing analyses.  In a way, this is a blessing, since this makes it much more accessible to those not well-versed in anti-civ ideas.  Get a copy, spend a few hours being entertained and inspired, and then pass it around to your friends.  You just might plant the seeds of revolution.


You can buy it from your local used book store, or directly from Derrick Jensen (and check out his great website while you’re at it!).