I got to thinking about how some of us describe ourselves as “animal lovers” and some of us don’t, but this is actually not an accurate description when you give it some thought.
Like people who work on behalf of humanity are concerned about all humans, those who work to end animal cruelty are working for all animals (or are concerned for all of them).
But if you asked someone who was considered a humanitarian if he/she liked all humans, the answer would have to be honestly responded to with a “no”. We like some individual people and we don’t like other individual people, and that’s true whether we work as humanitarians or not.
The same is true for animal advocates: we like some individual animals and we don’t like others (a cat that hisses and growls when I try to pet it or a dog that attacks will not likely make me “fond” of the animal).
That doesn’t of course mean that animal advocates don’t want to see all animals treated with respect and compassion, just as humanitarians wish for all humans to be treated with respect and dignity.
There is also a distinct difference between those who call themselves “animal lovers”: some are “pet lovers” and some are “lovers of all animals”.
Pet lovers obviously love their pets and sometimes advocate for animals we consider “pet-worthy”, such as cats, dogs, and some birds, etc.
But not all pet lovers are concerned with animals that don’t fall into the category we consider as pets, and why this is seems a mystery until you realize that people “love” and are concerned about those things they “know” and are familiar with, and most people never get to even meet an animal they might serve for dinner.
I hope that that will change one day soon and pet lovers will come to realize that the cow, the pig, the chicken, the turkey that is regularly slaughtered out of sight is just as worthy of our concern as our pets.
Then and only then can we be truly “an animal lover”.