Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
How does one get through everyday life when it includes a continuing awareness of the abject misery to which we subject endless animals, children and humans? How do you live within your own skin when others of your species are so abjectly cruel? Over the holidays, when I was placed at a table next to a “ham,” I could not help but consider the pig that was the living being, treated so dismally, slaughtered without mercy, eaten without consideration. I saw the beheaded bird that had been deep fried and reminded me of the burnt Americans that were seen in the film, Fahrenheit 9/11. The same frightening disengagement from what I used to call “humanity” is in evidence in both scenarios, whether the protestors on the streets or the holiday participants.
A recent article charged that too many vegans are too serious, too smug, too self-righteous. While some of the negativity may be defensiveness, some of it may be earned. Yes, I am very serious about the destruction of the planet, of animal habitat, of rainforests, of climate predictability. I am serious about overpopulation and poverty, war, famine and human trafficking. I am very certain that factory farming is a disgusting, unjust, and intolerable practice that must stop. I have contacted people who have left some of those comments; one told me he was just sniping. That is a good thing, because it may mean we are hitting a nerve. But now I have to be joyous, too?
Sometimes I am, maybe even most of the time. I am pretty much always optimistic and hopeful. But when you spend most of your day researching what is going on in the world, it is not always easy. It is more of a determination than a natural occurrence. I recently watched the film, The Cove, and was riveted during the entire, tense documentary. At the end, I had an unexpected reaction: big, wracking sobs – not a little sniffle, mind you, but deep, gut-wrenching grief welling up from a place of which I was unaware. Who are these people? How did this happen? Then I saw the redemption of one man in the film, and I think of that scene – one man, walking the streets, walking across a board meeting, a conference, with a display of what is going on strapped to his chest. One man trying to make something right that he set in motion years ago. If one man can change, all of us can change. We must.
The Price for Knowing
Watching documentaries daily about many things that pertain to the environment and animal life keeps me continually learning, sometimes things I wish I did not know and had not witnessed. On a recent comment attached to a posted article, someone said they wish they had a bucket of sand in which to place their head, since so many other people seem to go about their lives, happy and oblivious. While I know that feeling, I do not really want to be oblivious, but there is a price for awareness. And an even bigger price for not having the awareness, because then the animals really lose and the rest of us do, too. Until there is justice for all, there is justice for none.
So some days I weep. I stop work, usually in the morning or after witnessing something with the emotional impact of Earthlings or The Cove, and I weep. I then take a deep breath, dry my eyes, and continue on. I silently apologize to all the animals who will lose their lives that day, and then get back to work. There is a lot of work to be done.
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