Animal Advocacy will Change Your Life

Woman with calf

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. 🙂

Sustaining the Joy of the Lord While Advocating for Animals

I’m sharing this blog for all those, like myself, who believe in a God of love and mercy who cares for every single one of his creatures, human and animal alike.

Shepherding All God's Creatures

Fixing Your Eyes On Jesus, by Elizabeth Spencer Courtesy CreationSwap Fixing Your Eyes On Jesus, by Elizabeth Spencer
Courtesy CreationSwap

Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

I don’t know about you, but the joy of the Lord can escape me with all the cruelty I see happening to animals.  It is easy to allow the thoughts and pictures in my mind of these abuses consume everything else.

But then I ask, in the face of such extreme suffering:  Since God is asking us to be joyful (for the “joy of the Lord is our strength” – Nehemiah 8:10), how can he expect us to have joy in the face of all we see?  It feels like we are not to feel pain or get angry, but to constantly be in some state of happiness or “joy”!  How can this be? …

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A Strange Sense of Freedom

calf snuggles man

Isn’t it odd how we shower our pets with such unconditional, sweet love and care yet most of us give no thought whatsoever to the pig, the cow, the chicken suffering so horribly on factory farms and in slaughterhouses?

Do most of us know what goes on in these dark places of hellish brutality? Why do we refuse to look?

This is the result of social conditioning. We’re raised to numb ourselves to animal suffering if it’s done in the name of meals or clothing or entertainment.

We close our eyes, our minds and our hearts to block out the knowledge that we don’t want to face.

Once we do face it, it’s worse than we could have imagined, but a strange sense of freedom comes over us.

We are now entirely free to reject the abomination of unthinkable savagery committed against our animal brethren, who are powerless, completely defenseless against it.

Yes, we’ll lose friends and family, and we’ll be hidden in Facebook news feeds, but when that happens, don’t worry, it only means you’re on the right track.

No society wants to have it’s cultural foundation questioned.

No one wants to face that what we do to innocent animals might be so terrible we have to change our ways.

But once we do, we are taking a stand for all creatures, the earth and ourselves.

Once we do we become more of what we want to be–in line with our hearts, minds and souls, expressing compassion and love.

The Vegan Market is Shaking up the Status Quo

This video gives me great hope because it’s clear that when the powers that be are threatened, change is most definitely happening.

A Poem for Her Part II: The Rescue

Mercy for all Animals

She stands before her killer
Wincing before his knife
She knows she can’t escape
And he will end her life

Then suddenly from outside
She hears human voices call
They know her name, they shout it!
But she’s trapped in this killing stall

Will she escape the killing floor?
Just before it’s too late?
Will kindly human beings
Intervene to alter her fate?

Then in the flash of a moment
Gentle hands caress her head
Merciful people whisper softly
There is now no need to dread

Their tender touch reminds her
Of the little boy on the farm
Who sweetly called her his friend
And would never do her harm

She wondered where he was
When men brought her to this place
She wanted to bellow for him to rescue her
And see his loving face

And then at once before her
She’s looking in his eyes
He wraps his…

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“But That’s Just the Way it’s Always Been”

baboons

Whenever a massive shift in behavior is suggested, the prevailing attitude by the bulk of humanity is a stubborn resistance coupled with a dismissive “it’s always been like this, so it’s not going to change” or “that’s just the way it’s always been” response.

I hear it often said: “man has always eaten meat”, implying that that’s somehow justification for the exploitation of animals and that humans are powerless to change it.

It’s sometimes tempting to just simply give up when history clearly presents us with a bloody, violent and cruel past (and present) of the treatment humans have shown other sentient beings (not to mention  members of their own species).

But then I think of the Baboon story.

It’s about a society of animals changing their treatment of one another, a shift from an aggressive, bullying hierarchy to one of a more peaceful and nurturing society.

I took the following story from author Bob Sutton’s website, an excerpt from his book, “The No Asshole Rule” (how awesome is that title? And why aren’t we applying it to the workplace?) 😀

“Biologists Robert Sapolsky and Lisa Share have followed a troop of wild baboons in Kenya for over 20 years, starting in 1978.  Sapolsky and Share called them “The Garbage Dump Troop” because they got much of their food from a garbage pit at a tourist lodge. 

But not every baboon was allowed to eat from the pit in the early 1980s:  The aggressive, high status males in the troop refused to allow lower status males, or any females, to eat the garbage.

Between 1983 and 1986, infected meat from the dump led to the deaths of 46% of the adult males in the troop. The biggest and meanest males died off.  As in other baboon troops studied, before they died, these top-ranking males routinely bit, bullied, and chased males of similar and lower status, and occasionally directed their aggression at females.

But when the top ranking males died-off in the mid-1980s, aggression by the (new) top baboons dropped dramatically, with most aggression occurring between baboons of similar rank, and little of it directed toward lower-status males, and none at all directed at females.

Troop members also spent a larger percentage of the time grooming, sat closer together than in the past, and hormone samples indicated that the lowest status males experienced less stress than underlings in other baboon troops.

Most interestingly, these effects persisted at least through the late 1990’s, well after all the original “kinder” males had died-off.  Not only that, when adolescent males who grew up in other troops joined the “Garbage Dump Troop,” they too engaged in less aggressive behavior than in other baboon troops. 

As Sapolsky put it “We don’t understand the mechanism of transmission… but the jerky new guys are obviously learning: We don’t do things like that around here.”  So, at least by baboon standards, the garbage dump troop developed and enforced what I would call a “no asshole rule.”

The biologists were absolutely stunned at the shift in the baboons’ behavior and even moreso that this shift outlasted the initial group and became a “new normal”, so to speak.

They simply could not have imagined that a shift in basic baboon behavior could ever happen.

Baboons have always been aggressive and violent, that’s just the way it’s always been.

Humans have always been violent and have always used animals, that‘s just the way it’s always been.

We just often don’t realize that it’s not the way it has to be.

A new attitude of compassion for animals: that’s just the way it’s POSSIBLE to be. 🙂

The Internet Gives us Glass Walls

Source: The Internet Gives us Glass Walls

It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done

Mercy for all Animals

It Always Seems Impossible Until it's Done

I see the words in the title of this post every morning when I’m swimming at the gym.

Looking up from the pool, I see “It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done”, the phrase attached in individual white letters to the glass walls up on the second floor above me.

Of course, the words are meant to inspire people who are working out and have goals to reach that seem far off, like the New Year’s resolutions many people make.

But every time I see those words I think of how impossible it seems to imagine a world where all creatures are treated with kindness and respect by human beings, because the exploitation of animals is so ingrained, so a part of a human being’s experience of the world that it’s virtually invisible, even to most compassionate people.

And questioning this embedded behavior is generally not welcomed and is usually…

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Why don’t vegans accept your choice not to be?

This blogger expresses well the dilemma vegans face when friends, family and even strangers insist we accept and respect their decision to continue to support the animal exploitation industries.

Adrain on Society

Non-vegans will often wonder why vegans can’t accept their free choice to eat differently. They reason, “I accept their choice to be different. It’s unfair for them not to return the courtesy.” But the two concepts are not comparable.

Imagine that you went to a high security prison and spoke to an inmate, incarcerated for killing multiple people. You ask him how he feels about non-murderers, and he says:

Urgh, I hate non-murderers. I think they should all convert to murdering. It’s the right thing to do.”

You’d be astonished, because that would be insane. In real life, your inmate friend would be highly unlikely to do this, because assuming he is unrepentant about the whole affair, he is an amoral agent in this scenario.

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Think of Your Pets and You’ll Understand

cat-and-dog

Like most people, I was raised with pets. They gave me unconditional love and companionship, healed my broken heart, stayed by my side when I was sick, made me laugh and made me cry (when they crossed Rainbow Bridge).

If you want to know why I continually speak up for animals, it’s because I know how beautiful they are and how, when humans fail us (as they will), they are always there by our side, healing the hurt, making us smile, and helping us to expand our hearts and love unconditionally in return..

What does it matter if the animal is a cat or a dog or a cow or a pig? Aren’t each and every one worthy of compassion? Don’t all creatures feel fear, pain, love, joy and the desire to live?

No cow wants her baby stolen, no calf wants his head bashed in, no pig wants to be thrown in a vat of boiling water while still conscious, no animal wants the brutality of the slaughterhouse. All tremble in fear and fight death, just as we would.

No amount of justifications, excuses, or arguments will ever convince me that we need to torment and kill any sentient being for palate pleasure, habit, tradition or convenience.

Think of the pets you’ve loved and been loved by. Then think of the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs, etc., who are no different yet experience the horror of factory farms and abattoirs.

We can choose to refuse to fund these houses of pain and suffering. Because you and I are their only hope to be free of suffering and death at the hands of man.

Think of your pets and you’ll understand.