I was recently honored to receive a humanitarian award from Peta. During the evening, I was reminded of Pope Francis’ historical new encyclical on the environment. He praises animals, and calls on all of us to embrace a more humane path: “We read in the Gospel that Jesus says of the birds of the air that ‘not one of them is forgotten before God’ ( Lk 12:6).” How then can we possibly mistreat them or cause them harm?”
Those words seem so simple and obvious and yet people who believe they are compassionate, loving beings, continue to hurt animals in so many ways. I’m not just talking about circuses, puppy farming, animal experimentation, bull fighting etc. Most people are aware of these abhorrent practices and join us in our continuing fight to ban them. Our victories against such corporations as Sea World and Ringling Brothers are evidence of the power of the masses.
There isn’t a single being on this earth who wants to be tortured and killed. And yet, we continue to support this every day by buying animal products. Think about it.
When you buy that plump chicken breast for dinner, do you consider the suffering of that animal before it’s flesh arrived in the supermarket? How about that Thanksgiving turkey you’re anticipating carving? Did you know that chickens and turkeys are the most abused animals on the planet, living on their own excrement, crammed in tiny cages for their entire lives? And how about that BLT you’re thinking about having for lunch? Did you know pigs are more intelligent than dogs? Yet, they are treated so horrifically that they go insane with abuse and lack of stimulation. They’re bred to grow unnaturally fast, causing sickness and constant, horrible pain. This kind of ill treatment is meted out to all those animals we humans choose to eat, all over the world.
And then, there’s the effect on the planet. Here in California, as we all know, we are experiencing an historic drought. It takes 1600 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. That’s the equivalent of 160 x 5 minute showers! Which would you rather do – stop eating beef or stop showering?
We humans don’t own the planet, nor do we own the animals that inhabit it. Animals are not ours to eat, wear or mistreat. It is our duty to live a kind, compassionate, animal cruelty free lifestyle. But more than that, we have to represent the animals. They can’t ask for help, organize a protest or run for office. They truly are a silent majority. So, let’s give them a voice. No, let’s go further. Let’s shout out loud for the animals. Let’s ensure that corporations and politicians hear us, and force them to change policies. Let’s educate people and empower animals. Let’s pledge never to be silent in the face of cruelty to animals and make sure your voice, and theirs, is heard.
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