THE EARTHLINGS: a starting point for action
1. I cannot possibly make a difference - humanity will never change
If everyone thought that and did nothing we would still be in the stone age. A persistent trickle of water polishes even the roughest stone
2. Humans are animals and are omnivorous predators.
Not true. Our predecessors - monkeys - are vegetarians. Besides, with so many alternatives in nature and agriculture our animal product consumption is a luxury, not a need.
3. We would never conquer diseases or be safe without animal testing.
This notion automatically assumes that human life is to be saved at the expense and sacrifice of all other life forms which is a questionable status quo to begin with. Moreover, modern science proved animal testing unreliable and came up with more accurate alternatives.
4. Millions of people will lose jobs if animal consumption is abolished.
Then lets reverse the abolition of slavery, women's rights, industrial revolution etc.etc. - all caused millions to lose their livelihood. We adapt to progress that is always detrimental to some, but benefits all. It's been well documented how animal agriculture destroys environment; meat consumption shortens lives; animal cruelty does not stop there etc. American meat products are banned in Europe due to the use of hormones, genetically modified feed, pesticides in feed and antibiotics needed to treat animals kept in horrifying conditions - all in the name of reducing costs and increase in profits.
5. With millions of people facing multiple problems animals can wait.
Why should people's problems justify cruelty to animals? Moreover, animal lovers are more likely to be understanding and compassionate with people too. Why don't we start from the beginning and raise - by example - compassionate children who will become compassionate adults?
You might come up with your own excuses that can be just as easily rebuffed.
Why do so many compassionate caring people don't bother to question where these neatly packaged meats come from? How this nice fur coat was made? How can these elephants and tigers learn the tricks they do? How did this new version of Viagra or lipstick came on the market? What is the process of creating all these consumer goods? We choose not to know...
We look at animal photos and they warm our hearts; we love out pets and treat them like family; we save a kitten stuck in a tree and don't mind spending thousands in taxpayers money to send a fire truck to do it; we are disgusted at the occasional animal cruelty news and yet...
Would you kill an animal yourself when your kitchen is full of other food? Many of us would say no and yet we let others do it and serve us as long as we do not participate.
The English language equated animals to inanimate objects: 'it". We renamed animals to detach ourselves from their suffering: we don't torture and kill cows, pigs and chickens - we eat beef, pork and poultry. We created bigoted laws and religions based on our wants and justified ourselves to consume and treat every other living breathing being as god's creation to serve us.
Thanks to the efforts of the enlightened, we did pass a few laws to limit cruelty, but only if it does not affect us in any way. No dog fights (too few fans to protest), but rodeos, corridas, circuses etc. are perfectly legal. We love pets, but we must have purebreds and buy them from breeders and pet stores thus contributing to overpopulation and senseless killings of millions of mistreated and abandoned animals.
This list is, unfortunately, too long at this day and age of "civilized" humanity. If we don't make massive changes in the way we live and see ourselves in the world, it will get a lot worse. The human population is exploding and if every one of us wants what the other has, we'll consume ourselves to extinction taking most of the other species along on this crushing unsuspecting suicide.
There is, however, one animal that is revered and worshiped in this country more than even life itself, including human. In pursuit or protection of this elusive creature people kill, torture and abuse even each other, let alone other living life forms. It is THE true god of modern America - the Golden Calf. Just watch The Ten Commandments and wait till the scene where Moses is busting a celebration in honor of the Golden Calf... followed by a commercial.
There's also at least one law of nature we kept in spite of millennia of civilization: the weak do not survive. How can we raise awareness of animal rights when people without means are treated like burden to society? Your life and health are luxuries you need to pay for. We perpetuate this attitude by example to our children who develop a natural compassion early in life only to be crushed and abandoned as they grow up. We teach them to resolve conflicts peacefully yet we build weapons and conduct wars; we don't let them hurt our pets, but we take them to zoos and circuses to watch caged animals. These and many other contradictions result in confused young adults who can see through our hypocrisy and we are all paying for it in crime, incarceration, drug abuse, mental disorders, depression, suicides etc. etc. We don't see the link between our societal values and children's despair, but Stanley Kramer expressed it best in his Oscar-nominated Bless the Beasts and the Children: when hunters shoot an animal, a child falls down...
Gloom and doom? Yes, unless we all do something about it. As in every society throughout history, a small group of progressive thinkers and activists forced humanity forward. Without them we would still have slavery, never ending wars, dictatorships etc. that are now "politically incorrect". Most of us don't have the guts, the strength, the willingness and persistence to join their efforts that benefit all of us. However, there are many things that we can and must do. Don't just write a few compassionate words after you watch documentaries like The Earthlings, Meet Your Meat etc. It helps you express your feelings, but it will not save the animals. Here's a list of some actions that you can do today without even changing your lifestyle (feel free to add your own ideas):
first, watch The Earthlings
- educate yourself, your family and friends;
- show it to as many people as possible, organize viewings at home, at work, at school, even at a store front - wherever possible
- don't buy anything that was derived from an animal: fur, leather etc. - there are so many good quality alternatives.
- If you must eat meat or animal products (cheese, milk, eggs etc.) buy only from farms certified by animal welfare agencies and eventually graduate to vegan lifestyle.
- don't attend zoos, circuses, rodeos, corridas and other entertainment abusing animals
- never buy pets from pet stores or breeders - shelters are overflowing with animals and many purebreds
- volunteer and/or donate to local shelters
- contact your legislators and pressure them to abolish animal abusing businesses and hunting (breeders, live pets or other animals in stores, fur trade, etc.)
Other suggestions are available on
http://www.peta.org/action/activism-guide/default.aspx and other animal protection sites.
Many activists will disagree, but I'm not advocating a hollow principal: do not consume any animal product under any circumstances. We share the earth with animals who die of natural causes - protecting dead bodies will not help the living. As long as we do not cause their death or suffering in any way we might as well make something out of it - it will save other natural resources. We domesticated many animals and now must take care of them. Don't breed them, but if you are an organic farmer, treat your animals with care, let them live their natural lives and let them die a natural death. It's OK not to let them rot in the ground. If you have a choice between consuming something of animal origin and it's beyond your principles, don't throw it away - give it away to someone who will otherwise buy it and help support animal industries.
It's highly unlikely activists will force any major legislative changes any time soon. But we all have power as consumers; if we stop buying and consuming any products or services created as a result of animal suffering, we'll naturally force them to find other occupations. How about creating sanctuaries for the animals they abused? We'll gladly support them in that endeavor.
While you were reading this, millions of animals were killed, gassed, tortured and mutilated. DON'T JUST SIGH - DO SOMETHING!!!