The thinly-veiled, dirty secret of “The Secret of NIMH”

‘The Secret of NIMH,’ also known as ‘Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH,’ is a beloved children’s movie about friendship and perseverance. Originally released in 1982, ‘The Secret of NIMH’ received much critical acclaim, because it was both beautifully-animated and not a Disney production.

The secret behind “The Secret of NIMH” is that it is an 82-minute piece of thinly-veiled animal rights propaganda against the National Institute of Mental Health, one of the most famous and productive mental health research facilities in the world.

Don't think you can distract me by using the enchanting voice of Sir Derek Jacobi, you sneaky bastards!

Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that the film contains many scenes that look like a terrifying PCP-induced hallucination gone wrong, the images the film shows of the “laboratories” in NIMH look more like pictures of a violent animal hoarder’s house than an actual laboratory.

The lead scientist is made out to be some sort of Dr. Mengele, but what the scientist in the movie actually does is inject the rats with a drug that gives them super-rat intelligence. The rats are able to read and even understand mechanics (I am a human and I can’t even understand mechanics).

A soothing, happy movie for children of all ages

After a multitude of terrifying scenes describing the origin of NIMH and the protaganist rat’s journey into NIMH (keep in mind this is a children’s movie), the mouse talks to a rambling, psychotic crow and then meets a scary owl, who mercifully decides not to eat her.

As a child, I didn’t draw the connection between the movie NIMH and the place where my mom worked (the actual NIMH). I just liked the movie because it was the most edgy, scary thing I was allowed to watch.

But let’s get serious about the implications here.

Many of us are alive today thanks to animal research. If you are against animal research and are going for moral consistency, I hope you don’t take insulin to treat your diabetes, antibiotics to treat infection, or really any FDA-sanctioned medication to treat what ails you.

Animals in laboratories are treated with care and respect, a far cry from the treatment animals in the factory farming industry receive. Working with laboratory animals is not fun or sadistic. It is often allergy-inducing, and depressing. But what people have done with animal research is truly incredible and life-changing.

I support this NIMH, not the cartoon rat one.


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Filed under Ethics, Humor

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