In Defense of Animals

Frances Chrzan, October 17, 2019

“I’ve got a raccoon. Want to give me your number?”

From across the parking lot of a convenience store came one of the strangest pick-up lines I ever heard. Believe me when I tell you—this question changed the course of my life.

I was a junior in college, running errands the day before Thanksgiving. As I rushed across the lot, a young guy called out to me. From his jacket pocket, he unearthed a small brown animal.

Not a raccoon. It was a ferret!

An animal lover, I had to get a closer look. That’s when I saw the man offering the ferret sunflower seeds, something I knew ferrets are not supposed to eat.

From a safe distance, I made him an offer of my own:

“May I have her?” I asked.

A short time later, with some holiday supplies and a ferret, I steered my car home.

Exhibit A: Her Tattoo

I named the ferret Kilgore Trout, or “Killy” for short, after one of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut characters. I fell in love with her instantly. Killy was absolutely adorable—with soft, dark fur, with markings that looked like a mask around her tiny eyes, and a light pink nose.

Killy was a survivor. I knew because of her ear.

Two permanent black scars marked the soft inside of her left ear. These tattoos were put there by Marshall BioResources, one of the largest breeders for biomedical experimentation in the world.

Do you know about Marshall? You should.

There’s big business in cruel animal experimentation. Marshall BioResources makes millions supplying ferrets, dogs, cats, and other animals to research labs every year. The results are horrific.

Exhibit B: Experiments Exposed

Recently uncovered by NEAVS, here are just a couple of the experiments that use animals delivered up by Marshall:

  • Every day for over 50 weeks, 40 8-month-old beagles from Marshall had a tube forced down their throats into their stomachs, so experimenters could give them cannabis extract. Seven of the dogs choked to death.

  • Another experimenter took dozens of hounds from Marshall and severed their spinal roots—cutting off their tails and implanting electrodes on their bladders. The dogs were euthanized as part of the research, sometimes having their bladders cut from their abdomens before they were killed.

The more I learned about Marshall, and the more I gave my heart to Killy, the angrier I became.

Exhibit C: We Each Have the Power to Stop This

By the time I graduated college, I’d rescued four ferrets—all scarred by Marshall. I volunteered at a ferret shelter every week. I spent days cleaning cages, collecting supplies, and noting how hundreds of ferrets waiting for homes had the same tattoo as Killy.

One afternoon, my mom and I volunteered at the shelter together (we’re an animal-loving family). It was a particularly long day and, at the end of it, I was inconsolable.

How could so many ferrets wait in shelters—or be put to death—while Marshall breeds more and more? How could so many animals be brutalized?

I tried to breathe deeply. Ultimately, one thought calmed me. It was an idea so powerful I had to say it out loud:

“Someday, someone will sue Marshall for how it exploits animals.”

That night, after some encouragement from my mom, I began studying for my first practice LSAT. I knew what I had to do.

My Closing Statement

Last month, I found out I passed the bar exam. Soon, I’ll be a licensed attorney. And I know exactly what I want to do.

I will work harder than ever for NEAVS—to advance legislation and public policy that will help end animal torture in labs. I’m proud to belong to such a united, intelligent, and fiercely dedicated team.

Our work is powered by the actions of animal lovers like you.

More than ever, we can shut down corporations like Marshall that traffic in animal abuse and cruel experimentation.

Will you help us get it done?


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