*All photographs by me.

Cold steel point
Razor sharp
Shaved belly flesh
Dotted line
Sliced down the middle
Scrape, pop & tear,
Tissue comes apart
With a silent meow.
Chatterbox chimp
Amazing results
Wait with fear
Wait for death
Long for death
With fear of life.

Mechanical scientist
Wind up key
Jammed behind
Clapping hands
In time to the screams…
The monkey pounds,
Let me out
The monkey pounds…
Let me out.

*As some of you know, my background was in biological sciences, and I am also a fan of rats as companions. Needless to say, I struggled monumentally with the concept of laboratory animals, and several of my rat family were rescued test subjects. This poem is based on a horrible nightmare I had one night during the long, hard-fought road towards being not only exempt without penalty from unnecessary dissection classes, but also from being allowed to utilise alternatives like the ‘mechanical rat‘ technology that is required to be made available to all objecting biology students at all levels of study (click here for further advice and the law). This technology is based on a single rat dissection where all angles were meticulously photographed and videoed in order to compile an interactive ‘mechanical rat’ program, nullifying the need to use real rats for non-veterinary educational purposes. Prior to this technology, refusing to dissect on moral grounds meant either not gaining the knowledge, failing the class, or both. Having access to this technology ensures that I can still be included and engaged in biology studies without having to compromise my personal ethics. I was one of only two students in my cohort to utilise the technology, but I hope that more students come to understand that first year biology students do not need to dissect…it is unnecessary to exact a toll on so many rodent lives when perfectly good, efficient replacement technology exists for this purpose.

Glitch was the first former lab rat to join my piRATe crew. He’s also my special little guy. Glitch is completely blind.
He doesn’t like other rats or humans, just me and the teddy bears. He experiences a lot of fear and stress as a result of his former life, but once you have his trust, he’s a big smoocher.
Willow Bee is one of the former lab rats who joined my piRATe crew.
She has an amazing sense of humour and likes licking anything made of metal! She also enjoys dancing on her hind legs to Godsmack and Disturbed, and leaping at the television screen in protest to the Simpsons finishing.

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