Naming the Guinea pigs
It is the simple things that are most effective.
The guinea pigs were beautiful multi-coloured specimens. They were quite friendly. I used to sit with them and the rabbits in their wet-house run.
Every now and then a technician would come across from the labs to requisition a guinea pig for dissection. I had to select one and hand them over. It felt a little bit like ‘Sophie’s Choice’, though obviously nowhere near the same level.
Most of the technicians were young girls.
I took to naming the guinea pigs.
I’d hand one over:
‘Here you are – that’s Rosie.’
I’d been doing this for a week or two when I received a visit and a verbal warning. The simple name of naming the animals had made them real. They were imbued with personalities and were now real living things.
The young technicians had found the experience fraught. It upset them to collect the guinea pigs. They were going back in tears. They were refusing to collect the animals.
I was instructed not to do it anymore.
Animals with personalities was a no no.
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