Many events are commemorated in November, most notably the end of the Great War of 1918 on November 11. For guinea pigs, November is also animal sacrifice remembrance month
Remembering Animals Too
Many events are commemorated in November, most notably the end of the Great War of 1918 on November 11. For guinea pigs, November is also animal sacrifice remembrance month.
“I began Remembering Animals Too (RAT) in order to commemorate animals who lost their lives for biped interests,” explains Rodin, GiddyPigs.com Events Coordinator and mailroom attendant. “Every year, we honour a particular animal and area of contribution. On November 3 this year, RAT will be celebrating Laika, who was the first animal to go up in orbital space in 1957 on Russia's Sputnik 2. As a stray, she was considered to be hardy and used to extreme temperatures. But it was known from the start that she would never return from the mission.”
Until 2002, controversy surrounded Laika's death. Initial reports stated Laika lived six days in space; however, Russia finally confirmed in 2002 that she in fact died just a few hours into the mission from stress and overheating.
For the remainder of November, RAT will continue to honour animal contribution to space travel, including the guinea pigs used from 1947 to 1960 by the United States. “Guinea pigs, and other animals, were sent up in high altitude balloons to test radiation exposure, physiological response, and life support systems,” explained Rodin, who added, “Few are aware that the guinea pig record in a high altitude balloon was 144,000 feet.”
The first guinea pig went into space on Sputnik 9, and in contrast to Laika, survived to tell the tale. The Sputnik pig is best remembered for her surprising remark to the press afterward, “Я никогда не хочу повторять это снова. Я чувствовал, что море болит, и все овощи обезвожены. Собаки вонзились, но мышка была в порядке.”