Talking With People Suffering from CDD

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CDD. So many people have it. In fact, we all do to some degree, but as vegans, we tend to bump up against it in almost any conversation with have with someone about the way we live our lives.

CDD is Cognitive Dissonance Disorder, a completely made-up malady that serves as a good introduction to two encounters that my wife and I had with people this weekend.

The Monkey Torturer

My wife took our daughter to a birthday party in our neighborhood recently and chatted a bit with the girl’s parents while the kids were playing. She comes to find out that the husband does “research” on monkeys. What kind of research, you ask? Something amazing and potentially life-changing for the entire world, because that’s what medical research is all about?

No. Of course not.

The project he’s working on involves “testing the mother-child bond.” One group of monkeys have their children taken away from them right after giving birth. The second group of monkeys have their children taken away a week later. And, of course, all are kept in cages and, according to him, “don’t mind it.”

I don’t need to tell you this is torture. I don’t need to tell you this is stupid. And I don’t need to tell you that we would never even consider doing this to humans, but for some reason, it’s OK to some because it’s being done to monkeys. What is the possible justification for this type of research? I have no idea.

I wasn’t at this party, and it’s probably a good thing. I don’t think I could have held a civil conversation when justified monkey torture was the topic.

(Oh, and for added fun, the research lab is just minutes away in the same town as Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.)

The Baffling Rescuer

Last weekend in our town there was a “Dog Days” event where a couple of blocks downtown were closed off and people were encouraged to bring their dogs down for a pet-friendly fair. It was a nice event overall and there were a number of interesting vendors and groups in attendance.

One was a greyhound rescue group. After looking through their literature, I asked one of the representatives whether they did any work lobbying against racing. She told me that the organization is officially “racing neutral.” She said that if they wanted to be able to continue getting the dogs from the tracks, they needed to remain neutral. That made sense to me.

As we continued our conversation, I proceeded with the assumption that even though the organization was racing neutral that the woman herself would be against racing. I mean, obviously, right?

She told me that she’d read that greyhound racing would likely be non-existent by 2015 because it was becoming less and less profitable each year. I said, “Well, that’s good.” She replied, “It would be a shame because we’d be losing a great, great breed…”

Those who know me know that I’m not a confrontational person. To a fault, actually. But at this point, we kind of got into it.

I explained that it’s not right to bring animals into existence just to treat them badly (at this point I didn’t even get into the “or for our use” thing, because, again I assumed she was against racing). She then asked me, “Have you ever actually been to a track and seen how they’re treated?” I told her I had not (and really wanted to use my favorite “and I don’t need to be hit in the face with a lead pipe to know it hurts” line, too, but I didn’t). She then assured me that most racers treated their dogs wonderfully.

Wait a second. Most racers treat their dogs wonderfully, but they’re discarded at a mere 3-4 years old? And if it wasn’t for your own organization, these dogs would die? I told her that, to me the treatment of an animal that you’re using for your own purposes is incidental. The use of an animal at all, I told her, is the problem. She acted like this was the stupidest thing she’d ever heard.

She then proceeded to throw goofy statements at me like, “Well, you can’t tell me you don’t get something out of having a dog? Isn’t that ‘using’ her?” (“Of course I get pleasure from having her in the family, but that’s not why she’s with us.”)

We both took a deep breath and paused a moment. I told her I appreciated the work her organization was doing and thanked her for being involved. I moved on, still baffled that someone could voice support for an industry that necessitated her rescue organization’s very existence.

When I got home, I tweeted about it and asked Mary Martin if this type of stance was common among greyhound rescuers and rescue organizations:

thevegblog: Got into it with a woman from a greyhound rescue organization today. She was defending greyhound racing. @mary_martin, is that normal?

mary_martin: They often say that their 501c3 status prevents them from having an opinion, but that’s BS. They get $ from the track & the $ they get makes them beholden to the industry. It’s a tough spot IF you want $ from the track.

thevegblog: The woman said the org was “racing neutral” in order to keep getting the animals, but she herself defended racing. Seems crazy.

mary_martin: Yeah, that’s a typical response. & from the adopter side, deciding 2 adopt from someone like that is difficult.

After a weekend of such encounters, I’m looking forward to working the farm this Saturday and going to a potluck with other vegan families on Sunday.

5 Responses to “Talking With People Suffering from CDD”

  1. Niki

    Ugh. Sadly, despite her good intentions, her brain doesn’t appear to put two and two together.

    It’s so frustrating dealing with this CDD every day isn’t it?!

  2. b

    I recently had to quit a part time office job because the CDD made me seethe with rage every day. One of the women in the office used to work a breed-specific dog rescue program but happily ate meat and wore gloves made from seals. Like anyone else I encounter whose identity is at least partly wrapped up in the idea of being an “animal lover,” she was pretty uncomfortable around my vegan self. I did us both a favor in the end and decided living my truth was more important than listening to her spew hate (about people we all as animals) every day.

  3. H

    Here’s more info about that particular monkey study but apparently there’s lots more studies happening simultaneously at that faciilty:

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Look+Mom,+less+risk.-a03735804

  4. H

    and here’s a blog about Suomi’s treatment of monkeys called “Stephen
    John Suomi- lifetime of sadism”:
    http://primateresearch.blogspot.com/2007/06/stephen-john-suomi-lifetime-of-sadism.html

  5. SCW

    At this point I’m more surprised when I encounter someone who DOESN’T have this. -_-

    On a side note- My mom used to work at a dog track. It was her job to put them back in the crates after a race. She was fired for ‘being too nice’ to them. (Aka petting them, talking in a nice voice…)
    Bleh.

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