The Death of the Innocent
An Animal Rights Article from


Katrina Holland [11 years old]
July 2009

The first thing that hit me was the smell. The overwhelming stench of rotting flesh became stronger as the lamb's lifeless body was brought into the science laboratory. The huge, innocent eyes stared at me, still reflecting the horror of its death.

We were the first class of the day to witness the dissection, so the lamb's body had not been maimed and retained some dignity. But as the teacher ripped open the lamb's chest like a piece of cloth, the once beautiful, soft wool became splattered with blood, and the last of its dignity was lost forever.

With disgust I watched the teacher's childish enthusiasm as he pointed out the lamb's organs. My "peers" crowded around the dead body with interest, but without really absorbing what the man was saying. I hung back, one side of me wanting to join in with the fascination of these students; the caring, ethical side of me furious at this barbaric act. This moral dilemma was a feeling that I was alone among these people, who felt nothing except a little squeamish at the sight of a lamb's broken body being hacked at by a teacher.

Many of my "peers" laughed at the sickening noise the lamb's jaw made as it was broken open to expose the teeth. I fought back tears. This unnecessary waste of life appalled me. Tears welled in my eyes as the rage inside me grew. The lamb had been killed for no reason. "This is murder!" a voice in my head screamed. I wanted to shout it out to the class. I didn't care what they thought of me any more. I felt so hypocritical standing in that room among those people. I was the only moral person there, I did not belong with them.

These people, as I had been, were raised to believe that an animal's life was replaceable and nothing compared to that of a human life. It occurred to me then that I was the only person in the room who knew that was not true. I felt alone and desolate with the knowledge that I was a minority. I couldn't condone the way these people treated animals, yet I didn't know what I could do about it.

I looked down at the piece of paper in my hand and saw with shock the diagrams of the sheep's digestive system that I had drawn. A feeling of self-contempt swept over me as I realized that I too for a moment had been drawn into the cruel and barbaric frenzy that had infected my "friends".

That one Biology lesson taught me more about human nature than my Psychology classes ever had. I turned away from the dead animal; but I didn't turn away from the issue, or the anger it provoked in me. I was not prepared to allow an innocent life to be wasted.

That was the day I truly began to fight for Animal Liberation.

Originally published on Animal Rights Online.

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