14:  Anne’s gift

The gift that Anne gave to us Japanese is love and friendship regardless of species. She treated experimental animals just as a doctor or nurse would tenderly treat a severely ill patient fighting a disease, perhaps with even greater compassion. She put her life on the line to care for hundreds of experimental animals that, at the time, were handled more like test tubes or beakers, replaceable things that if broken could be easily replaced. In an age when people even killed their kin, she took the pain of the animals as her own, in a country far away from home.

After Anne’s death, there was a time when I gave a few drops of water to a dog whose fate was to be killed after an experiment. I could not give a lot, for it would increase the risk of vomiting during the experiment, so only a few drops. A researcher watching this asked me, “What are you doing?” I answered, “I am giving the dog its deathbed water.” After the experiment was over, I saw that researcher praying in front of the dog’s dead body. It was the moment when Anne’s gift reached the heart of that researcher. When there are enough researchers like him, we will enter an age when Japan finally is sensitive to animal welfare, as Anne had wished. I was again convinced that human and animal welfare are inexorably linked.