I was sitting in an office the other day, and the calendar had an adorable picture of a puppy and kitten together with the caption, “April: Prevent Animal Cruelty Month.” Who knew? But what a great topic for my blog!
Animal abuse is horrific. I can’t even watch the Animal Planet anymore because they are forever airing shows about the SPCA going into homes and saving animals from the most terrible conditions. I would cry so hard that my husband finally said, “No more Animal Planet – you’re too tender hearted.” He’s right. I only like to see puppies and kitties doing cute or funny things, and the people who adore them so happy to be in their presence. With practically no willpower over my diet my entire life, I read one little book (Diet for a New America, by John Robbins) and was so upset by it that I went vegan absolutely overnight.
Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog: What’s the most effective way that you can help prevent animal cruelty? Well, unless you’re abusing animals regularly, the most effective way to help prevent animal cruelty (and it is extremely effective) is to quit eating them, eating their products, wearing them and using them.
Most every animal sold for its meat is kept in absolutely deplorable conditions, and usually sent to the slaughterhouse under terror and pain. I really want you to take a moment and imagine this scenario: You live in an elevator your whole life with 5 other people. You are all fed the same disgusting food every day, and you defecate and urinate all over your elevator and have to step in it and sleep in it all the time. The fumes from your waste are so bad that you all get respiratory illness, the filth so bad you get infections and diseases, and rats are running through your elevator, biting you. You are crammed into such a small place that you get into huge fights with the 5 other people in the elevator. You bite each other, scratch each other and kick each other. Many of you go crazy, becoming quite dangerous to the other people in the elevator. You become afraid to sleep. On top of that, the people who own the elevator put antibiotics and hormones and other things in your disgusting food, making you grow too fast for your bone structure, resistant to bacteria, falling further ill, sick and sore. At some point, a couple of you in the elevator can’t even stand anymore, you are so beaten down by your conditions. This is what it is like for chickens stuffed into tiny cages together, or pigs in a hoghouse.
I don’ t need to go into gorry detail here about the atrocities of factory farming. However, I bring this up specifically so that you can imagine what it might be like yourself to live a life of confinement, pain, disease, emotional trauma and fear … and then contemplate why you might expect an animal to go through this type of cruelty – and much worse – only to become your dinner, your jacket or your shoes. I highly recommend the video Earthlings if you haven’t heard about all of the sources of animal products before.
Ask yourself, why would I treat a dog any differently that I would treat a chicken? They are all lives, and I argue that no one type of life – even a human life – is more worthy than any other. If you wouldn’t want to be treated in such inhumane conditions, then don’t expect another animal to do it for your sake either.
PETA says that a vegetarian saves 100 land animals a year by not eating them. That doesn’t include fish and shellfish, nor does it include the raw suffering of dairy animals and laying hens that aren’t killed for our meat, but suffer endlessly to give us dairy and eggs.
So, it’s April – Prevent Animal Cruelty Month. What will you do for the rest of this month to help prevent animal cruelty? Go vegetarian? Go fully vegan? Choose to buy the car that doesn’t have leather seats? Take your nephew to the beach instead of the circus or zoo? Rescue a cat or dog that is headed for the gas chamber tomorrow? Or maybe it’s time for you to reach out and become more vocal about why you are vegan? It doesn’t take much to make a huge difference.
The Power of One is amazing.