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Euphemisms for Agony
By Michael Budkie

I look into the blank eyes of this monkey and my heart breaks. I see the surroundings -- nothing but wire and steel. There is only desolation here. This is not a home for a monkey, but a prison.

caged lab monkey

Whatever words we try to use to mask the reality -- enclosure, environmental enhancement, animal welfare act, perch, etc. -- these words are only euphemisms for agony. Our language serves only our vain attempt to hide the reality from ourselves. Our efforts at self-deception are not effective. The reality is too clear, too inescapable, as cold as steel. The monkey knows the truth. He/she is not deceived by our attempts at linguistic legerdemain. Throwing a dog toy in the cage will not return his/her sanity; it will not provide him/her with either the love of another monkey, or the liberty to take more than a few steps without running into a wall.

We must see an end to this. Our protests, whether they involve letters, emails, phone calls, picket signs, or civil disobedience -- our protests MUST INCREASE. We MUST make our voices heard. We must all commit ourselves to seeing and end to this madness in our lifetimes.

The public, the "scientists", must all be made to see that there is only one choice. We will accept nothing less than freedom. We will not be silenced. We will speak, we will write, we will SCREAM if we must. But we will be heard, and the animals will be freed!

Look into the eyes of this primate. Explain to this prisoner why you can't attend a protest. Give this inmate the reason why you don't have time to write a letter. I have no claims on your conscience, but this victim does. This shattered life deserves an explanation.

Make your voice heard, or explain to him/her why you won't. This monkey is depending on us, all of us, to join the fight. If we refuse, if we are unable to overcome our own lethargy or inaction, then we are just as responsible as if we had locked the cage door ourselves. For this monkey, and all of the tens of thousands of others, our complacency spells doom, our apathy is equivalent to imprisonment.

The choice is simple. We can tell ourselves that the pictures are too hard to look at, the suffering is too severe, the pain too great. We can avoid the nightmares and insure our own comfort. But by doing so, we make absolutely certain that their torment will continue.

If we fight, if we stand up, if we insist on change, the result is different. Just ask any of the many monkeys now living in sanctuaries that used to be in a lab. For them, someone braved the horror. For them, someone stood up. For them, someone refused to give in. For them, someone fought.

The choice is yours to make, but before you do, look at that monkey just one more time. Then tell him/her what you will do.

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