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Excerpt from Welcome to the Machine

Lab Animals (p. 104)

From chapter "Rationalization"

In the United States, one animal is killed in a vivisection lab every second. In Japan it’s one every other second. In Europe, one every three seconds. The scientists who torture and kill these creatures for the most part probably do not consciously hate animals, hate bodies, hate the natural. Yet they force-feed agrochemicals and drano to dogs through tubes directly into their stomachs, and transplant the hearts and kidneys of pigs into the necks of baboons. They immobilize monkeys, lizards, cats, dogs, take off the tops of their heads. They break the necks of baboons. They addict macaques to cocaine, electroshock them if they will not use. They create superviruses that kill everyone they contact. They cut out portions of the brains of marmosets and leave these creatures as stupid as the experimenters themselves. They cut off the heads of live animals using scissors, then study their brains. They put live animals in freezers and let them try to claw their way out. They teach chimps American Sign Language, then put them in cages the size of cupboards: when the monkeys sign they want out, the scientists ignore their pleas, inject them with pesticides. They separate monkeys from their mothers, give them HIV, then put painful coils in their eyes to track where they look. Why? Ostensibly, at least, for knowledge, to understand how animals work, what makes them tick. Why? Ultimately to further control, and to further production.

It is not only the scientists who presumably do not consciously hate animals, but also the managers who run their departments, the vice presidents and presidents and CEOs who run the corporations, the janitors who clean the floors and windows, the cooks who staff the cafeterias, the electricians who keep the lights on, the accountants who count the beans, the police who provide security for the buildings. Still they all contribute to the torture of unimaginable numbers of animals. No, not to the torture of numbers, but to the torture of individuals, who live in cages, are tortured, and then are killed, or “sacrificed,” to use the language of the scientific priesthood. They may be numbers to those inside the machine, but to those most intimately involved—to those who live and die in agony—there are no numbers, only lives. And that is the point of the machine.