Animal Advocacy Will Change Your Life
This post originally started out with the title: “Animal Advocacy Will Cause the Loss of Human Friends and Family”.
And then my dear cousin from Queens, New York sent me a text message that reminded me that sometimes it will not only result in new friends but might even draw family (or friends) closer!
More on that in a moment.
The original title of this piece was born from the sad truth that when you take a stand for something, even if you do so without aggression, you will lose some friends, lovers, even family.
Your honesty will be too difficult for some to hear.
You might end the relationship yourself when you feel that it can’t be sustained anymore or they may distance themselves on their own.
Standing up for animals is risky business.
Sometimes you will face hatred, anger and attacks, but mostly you will find that some people you knew and trusted have become unwilling to accept your honesty, no matter how gently you try to express it.
As the years have gone by since I first became an animal advocate, I realize I’d been too concerned with not offending people when true abuse and terrible suffering was happening and needed to be exposed.
I’m not one to get in anyone’s face or be ugly and aggressive about animal abuse–I tread pretty lightly, perhaps too lightly, but I do feel I should be honest and I need to give a voice to the voiceless when I can.
When a friend requests I “respect” the choice to buy animal products, this is literally demanding me to respect something I’m vehemently against.
Would a person who fights for human rights (I am among them) respect human rights violations?
And ask most people in the Western world if they “respect” the cat and dog meat trade, and most will say they adamantly do not.
And why would they?
Animal advocates are often required to have traits that no human being can live up to, since we are all flawed. It seems we are expected to never be angry, never be judgmental, never be confrontational about animal protection and defense, and above all, to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable.
We are often expected to be completely accepting, tolerant and respectful of the very things we are fighting to end, which is obviously unrealistic at best.
I do believe we should be as civil as we can be and treat others respectfully in conversation as best as we can, but asking an animal defender to respect a choice that causes suffering and death is misguided.
If you’re among those people, or are just now beginning to feel the call to speak for the billions of abused animals, prepare yourself for the sad reality of possibly losing those closest to you.
But know in your heart that when that happens, you’ve struck a chord, and you’ve planted a seed, even if you never get a chance to see what changes you might have actually inspired.
And even if you have made no difference in their choices, you can be at peace knowing you took a stand and didn’t give in to please someone else, to hold on to a relationship, to avoid conflict, or to not rock the boat, but stood up for animals who cannot stand up for themselves and gave a voice, however small, to those suffering in silence.
Now, for the good news.
My cousin sent me a text letting me know she was changing her family’s meals to plant-based and was interested in recipes I might share.
I told her I was a terrible cook but asked if she might want to check out my website/blog (the one you’re reading right now).
She said she’s been checking it regularly already.
I had no idea she was even aware that I had a website.
This is in part what she said to me:
“You are a voice for the voiceless. God bless you. Little by little your words and dedication will have effects on people. I know it had on me.”
I was in tears.
Soldier on, my dear fellow animal advocates!
No matter how much resistance you encounter, remember when the cause is just, when compassion is what’s driving you, you cannot fail to touch some people’s hearts and not all your words will fall on deaf ears. 🙂