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Animals in Space

On November 3rd, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first ever living animal into orbit. Her name was Laika, and it was an intended suicide mission.

Animals in Space

Animals in Space: A Suicide Mission

On November 3rd, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first ever living animal into orbit. Her name was Laika, and it was an intended suicide mission.

Picked up as a stray from the streets of Moscow, Laika was a calm and trusting dog, and made the perfect candidate for one of the most despicably cruel discovery missions in our history.
The Soviets were, at the time, locked in a space race with the US, and were making their mark through the advanced exploration of Space. Laika was forced aboard Sputnik 2, and became the innocent victim of humanity’s desire for scientific advancement.

One of Laika’s human counterparts in the Soviet space program recalled her as a sweet dog. He liked her so much that he brought her home to play with his children before she began her space odyssey, from which she would never return.

The Soviet Union insisted that Laika died a painless death about a week into orbit, however, just over 40 years later, the truth was leaked.

Laika died a painful and horrific death. She was severely stressed and overheated and died within hours of takeoff. Sputnik 2 continued to orbit the Earth for five months, then burned up when it reentered the atmosphere in April 1958.

Laika’s story is not unique. Animals — mainly dogs, monkeys and chimps — have all been used to test the safety and viability of launching a living being into space. And each story is equally disturbing.

Ham was the first chimpanzee to orbit the earth involuntarily. He was captured as a baby from West Africa, and then subjected to cruel and torturous ‘conditioning’ by the US Space Program. Ham was electrocuted and forced into a straight-jacket, neck rings, and body restraints. Enos was the second chimp to orbit space, and was administered electric shocks in order to condition him for space missions. He died of dysentery a year later.

These animals paved the way for the United States’ and Russia’s space programs by convincing the public that animals could physiologically and psychologically function in orbit.

At My Green World, we are heavily in favour of scientific advancement, however, strongly oppose the use of animals. Join us in our fight to end animal cruelty in science by visiting:

http://www.humaneresearch.org.au/

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/stop-animal-tests

http://www.neavs.org/alternatives/in-testing

For a full list of animals that have made fatal journeys into space, click here.

Wil Wagner from the Melbourne-based Smith Street Band, has written a touching and heart-wrenching song about Laika, you can watch the video, or read lyrics below:

 

 

LYRICS:

From here in my cage I see them make plans,
Hear them reassure investors, shake presidents’ hands.
The men with machines put tubes into me,
They measure my vital signs, my flight trajectory.
They taught me to sit, taught me to lie down.
Told me that a thousand years of wondering would end now.
They fed me my last meal, was the same as my first.
From here in my cage, I watch the men work.

And now it’s a flurry of lab coats and hurry.
They talk about budgets and taxpayers’ money.
And I wag my tail and I be a good girl,
They forgot to walk me this morning they were too busy changing the world.
And I’m out from my cage and I’m trying to be brave,
But the men they are sweating and now they’re injecting,
And as I awake
I’m shocked and amazed.
At the sheer, crushing empty.

And I look down on men’s little earth, sitting there quietly, wondering what it’s worth.
And I drift away, but that’s okay, there’s more room to play out here than back in my cage.

And I know I will die, but that is fine,
Cause in some way I am helping mankind.
And I don’t understand, cause I’m not as smart as them,
But even a parachute would have shown that they cared.

And so I float on, space’s only dog.
Friend to the stars, pet of the sun.
From my little ship I dream of my bone,
A walk in the park, something comfy to sleep on.

And they call me Laika but I’d just like to say
That I was born Little Curly and I’ll die with that name.

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