Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hearing someone scream in pain or terror...

is shocking and scary. Hearing a bunny scream is especially frightening because they are so small and vulnerable. Recently I was serving up lunch to the south warren bunch of buns at Heartland Rabbit Rescue when one of the bunny folks screamed/shrieked three times in succession. The screams were sort of brief but loud and full of urgency and alarm and pain or terror. I ran over to the area the sound seemed to have arisen from but aside from lots of rabbits being on full alert (and some were thumping in alarm) I could see nothing wrong with anyone.

I then walked the whole warren inspecting each resident to see if I could find the distressed bunny, everyone looked ok, nothing seemed amiss...I did a full walk through two times and never could discover who screamed or what happened. Slowly all the rabbits settled back down and I finally went back to my previous task. Weird.

Later, when I told the Director about it she reminded me about one of her first experiences with bunny screams. When she first started taking in homeless bunnies, her first pair of what we call 'great whites' (actually they are formally called New Zealand White Rabbits...but they are Mexican in origin...go figure) were rabbits that had been used (tortured) in a laboratory. Their backs and sides were covered with one or two inch long scars that covered over where slits had been made in their backs and various substances inserted underneath their skin...to see what would happen. That sounds like something sadistic children might do to some helpless being...but nope...these were all grown-up humans doing this...just to make a buck.

Most, if not all, animal testing is obscene and unnecessary...it is done because it is cheap and few object and corporations think it might save their butts in a lawsuit. Here is a link to see what corporations test or don't test on other animals. Harming an innocent being just because you think it might do you some good is indefensible and repugnant.

The Director said that sometimes these bunnies would begin whimpering and then screaming in their sleep, they would be having traumatic dreams reliving what had happened to them in the laboratory. Experiencing 'night terrors' and nightmares reliving their fear and pain just like us human animals might do that have been subjected to torture and/or terrorizing incidents. They would awaken themselves with their screaming and then it would stop.

She speculated that the screaming might have come from a nightmare that maybe Pippin or Brett had experienced. She mentioned those two because both are fairly recent arrivals at the rescue and both were in situations wherein they had been terrorized. Both Pippin and Brett had been kept in outdoor cages where attempted attacks by dogs sometimes occurred (and whatever other nightime predators that might have been around). While their cage might have kept them safe from the attack it did nothing to keep them safe from terror.

We still don't know who screamed or why they screamed but it is important to realize that terror and pain and memories and nightmares and trauma are not experiences exclusive to human animals...all of us animals live on the same planet and experience life much the same and have an array of reactions that are very similar (some might be different, but the great majority are the same)...it isn't much of a stretch to say that we may look quite different on the outside but on the inside, where our feelings and our essential being resides, we are much the same.

The best way you can help ensure you don't add to the misery of our sister and brother animals is to go vegan, please....it does the animals good, the planet good and it does good for your standing as a worthy relative of all animals.

13 comments:

Annie said...

Oh geez...heartbreaking. And so unnecessary.

Christina said...

I have heard the bunny scream twice. It is like someone reaches into my gut and yanks something out of me to hear it. Sorry that you had to hear it.

Molly ~Vegan Flower said...

It's heart wrenching to know that their past haunts them so in their dreams. So, so sad.

Bea Elliott said...

Oh but this sure makes sense - I never thought about it before but I know I've seen the dogs and cats who've lived with me have bad (or happy) dreams - Surely then, bunnies must too!

But terrified bunny screams - How awful! Not only for those that have them... But for those around who care - And who can understand in the most profound way what little bunny terror must be all about.

Oh sweet dreams little ones at Heartland... You're safe now. <3

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Annie. Well said, those two words sum it up...unnecessary and heartbreaking.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christina. It is a powerful sound isn't it? I'm just sorry it ever has to be made.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Molly VeganFlower. It is sad that the pain and trauma follow them, even once they escape the horror. Certainly they deserve better.

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Bea, your words are astute, soothing and inspiring.

Patty said...

HEARTBREAKING, JUST HEARTBREAKING....

Harry said...

Hi VE

The more animals I share my life with, and the longer I do so for, the more I realise that there are very few 'human-exclusive' actions and emotions that are in any way exclusive to humans. Fear has to be the worst of those, and it is the one that we humans - when considering non-human animals - appear to disconnect from most.

Our rescued cats, donkeys, ducks, dogs, chickens, goats, horses and pigs have all displayed enough fear for me to be able to write a tome on that one subject alone, and a substantial portion of the book would be on the unconscious/ subconscious expression of such a terrible emotion. Abbey, rescued from a puppy mill where she spent all her time in a cage, still has terrible dreams more than a year after joining us, nightmares that take some time to leave her after we awaken her and reassure her that she's left that hell-hole forever. We humans do so much damage ...

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Patty. Heartbreaking...yes, yes indeed.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Harry...and hi back to you...I'm glad to hear from you and am hoping all is well.

I know more each day that we aren't exceptional, we aren't 'different'...not in any way that is significant.

You state it so accurately..."We humans do so much damage..."

Maybe someday we can take all that effort and ingenuity we apply to doing damage and turn it to doing "undamage". Maybe. It is there in front of us to be done...all we have to have is the will and the desire and then put it to work. That's all.

Maybe.

Give Abbey a stroke from me and my apologies...please.

Harry said...

Yes, perhaps we could replace religious and sporting public holidays with 'undamage days'. Now there's a thought for progress.

(And yes, Abbey will certainly get the strokes. And good to be back and all is well. Thank you.)