It’s March of Dimes Season
At the grocery checkout yesterday, with people bustling and chatting all around, the cashier asked if I would like to add a donation to the March of Dimes to my bill. I responded, "No way," as if to say, "of course not, I know what they do (inefficient, ineffective, expensive experiments on animals) and what they don’t do (like provide clinically relevant advances regarding birth defects)."
All I heard was crickets.
Upon seeing the shocked faces around me, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to educate. After all, I did have their undivided attention. I delivered the abolitionist message that says, "I believe it’s morally wrong to use and abuse animals for our own potential gain, and that’s what my donation would be going to" (or something like that. I’m more articulate live than on paper sometimes). However, I added, "And besides, even people who do believe in experimenting on animals find the experiments of the March of Dimes to be ineffective, inefficient, and not helpful. I mean, donations have gone to things like sewing the eyes of kittens shut to study the effects on their brains, only to have those experiments and their results completely debunked by experts. Do you really want a piece of that?"
Still crickets, so I continued, with the most important component of any advocacy: give them a solution, an option.
"I work really hard for my money, and I giving as much as a penny of it to the March of Dimes would be a bad investment. There are plenty of charities out there that are succesful, honest, and humane in the way they do research and business, like Easter Seals and Birth Defect Research for Children." Their faces softened with the words "Easter Seals." No one wants to hear from someone who has criticism only. They want to know that there’s something out there that’s acceptable to you.
I smiled while packing my groceries into my black cloth bag that has a monkey with electrodes screwed to his skull on it and says "Stop Animal Experiments." Everyone smiled back. I bid them a fond farewell and hope that I made an impact.