Her stealth and beauty were incredible. Loshy, powerful and graceful as he was, seemed almost clumsy by comparison. That time they decided to excavate the ice from the pond was hilarious! The time(s) they tangled with skunks – not so much.
This is such a rich thread! I wonder if there isn’t a way to think about how the future might be different from the past? While many (most?) people agree about how much animal-testing has benefited humans, my hope is that, going forward, animal testing will become increasingly rare and eventually (sooner rather than later) be considered as archaic as we consider blood-letting and leaching today. Changing the world and making it a better place for me means figuring out more ethically appropriate and sustainable ways of interacting with the creatures who share our destinies. I’m not sure what these new modalities might look like (although I have some inklings), but my hope is that they will be less costly in all kinds of ways.
That’s cool that you found this. Some of the photos are used in the post I put on our main blog a while back: https://blogs.lt.vt.edu/domesticate/dogs/moscow-strays/
I need to check on the status of the stray culls in Moscow now.
I’m so glad someone talked about Flowers for Algernon, which was one of my favorite books growing up! At the time I had pet mice (and had been moved to the basement to live with them) but Algernon’s rodentine essence was not what engaged me — it was the idea of death foretold. As a young person, I found the idea of knowing not just that you would die (duh!), but having a vision of what your death would look like playing out right in front of you in such a dramatic way incredibly powerful and provocative.
The issue of naming and attachment is also hugely important here. I’m sure we’ll be talking A LOT about animal testing tomorrow so I’ll save my thoughts on that for later. I’m so glad you thought we saved the best readings for last!
Some good ideas for discussion here, Ben. Let’s make sure to talk about the different insights Rader and Shapiro draw from their study of rats / mice as experimental research subjects.
There are so many good ideas here, Connor! The use of animals in scientific research is indeed a complex issue that evokes strong feelings from many sides. I think it’s important to keep in mind that thinking carefully about what Shapiro calls the “social construction” of animal models doesn’t require agreeing with his conclusions. It should help us make sense of why this issue is so charged.
How cool that you committed that passage of “The Miracle Worker” to memory so well that you still remember it?!?!? Playing with rats as a substitute for missing toys is clearly a powerful image. Part of its power I think comes from the rest of the passage, which describes just how squalid, desolate and deadly the institution was for the children. So, oddly, the rats, as macabre toys and diversions, are not the worst elements in this grim childhood…
I agree with Erica – terrific post, Bill! And I’m also intrigued by your pie-chart…which means I have lots of questions!!! I love the idea of man and rat inventing the future together! Anyway…when thinking about contributions to the global consciousness (whatever that is?), does the blue represent all rats (the entire species) throughout history and all over the world? And does the orange represent me (a singular human)? Or all of humanity throughout history and all over the world? I’m wondering how rats would adjust this pie chart if they had a say? How would we be different if there were no rats? As for the ethics of animal testing, I’m sure we’ll be talking a lot about this tomorrow. For now, I’d like us to think about whether and why using animals as experimental research subjects (which usually results in their death) might be ethically different from using them as food (which usually has same results)?
I need a post of my own, rather than just a comment here, so I’m putting this in as a place-holder — just for now! Terrific post, Erica.
This thread has lots of potential! Remember that our notion of “domestic”, with its Latin roots comes with lots of cultural and historical baggage tied to an agricultural (and settled) past. The first “domestic” relationships developed among pastoral people whose “homes” moved with them.