When I was a little kid I was told to be nice to the kittie or dog. I think it was primarily to keep me from getting bitten or scratched but I remember that as one of my earliest memories. How about you?
Do you ever remember thinking something is just ‘not right’ when you were a kid?
Well, I remember thinking that all the time! I was the kid who always asked, “why?” And I was also the kid who kept asking until I got either punished or got an answer that made some kind of sense.
I always wondered about the concept of being nice to some animals and eating others, but like most I was raised to believe that eating eggs, drinking
milk, and eating meat was healthy.
The idea that we should be kind to every kind seemed to have some exceptions…a lot of exceptions!
Food is the most notable and biased exception
I recently came across the concept that eating animals is, at best, a cultural practice not necessarily a biological one. For many years I was in the construction industry. I worked in just about every trade as I wanted to learn how to build a house from the ground up. And I did.
One of the things I noticed about most people in the trades is that it’s almost a badge of honor to eat meat and lots of it. Being a Vegetarian or Vegan is totally foreign to the tough construction worker attitude that pretty much dominates the industry.
I was watching the Winter Olympic games in Korea and there was a commercial in between that said 9 out of 10 olympic meadal winners drank milk (from another species of mammal-cow’s milk) I wonder how much the Dairy Industry had to pay to air that commercial?
I find it interesting to listen to the argument that animals don’t have feelings like we (humans) do, yet every earthling (species of animal on this planet) wants to not die and reproduce-coincidence? We think not!
While the Vegan community is relatively small and the idea of be kind to every kind isn’t the most popular
to the majority of people as well as the Meat and Dairy Industries, never forget the words of Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Wild animals…where do they go?
While some wild animals can pose an immediate unprovoked attack threat, the vast majority of wild animals are simply trying to not die, reproduce and care for their young. However, with the massive human population explosion many wild animals have nowhere to go.
Whether it’s bears, wolves, large cats it really doesn’t matter…wherever there’s human geographical expansion there will be humans that must kill to maintain the imbalance of human dominance of animals.
While it’s hard to get exact numbers, it’s estimated that over a billion animals are killed each year to provide fur mainly for clothing. With China being the largest exporters of fur and the U.S. being one of the largest importers very few know what makes up that fur coat.
While most think that their fur comes from seals, rabbits and foxes, large numbers of dogs and cats also end being part of that fur coat or pair of mittens. While fur is on the rise in fashion circles I’m sure not many think about petting their dog or cat before donning their fur coat.
Pets are the most obvious exception…
For most of us, we either had a pet growing up or knew someone that did. During my life I’ve had a number of different pets ranging from cats and dogs to tarantulas and snakes. While I don’t currently have a pet, I may have one again someday my view about it will be different.
There has been a recent rise in the popularity of animal sanctuaries that give animals a safe environment to live out their lives as nature intended. Many come from Meat Industry farms and are brought their by concerned, compassion people who subscribe to the belief that:
One of the more important missions of sanctuaries, beyond caring for animals, is educating the public. The ultimate goal of most sanctuaries is to change the way that humans think of, and treat, non-human animals.
It takes courage and compassion to be kind to every kind
For many years I failed to consider my impact on my fellow earthlings whether they ended up on my plate, before I became Vegan, or whether they were part of my wardrobe. Making the decision to adopt a Vegan lifestyle takes a considerable amount of courage, a whole lot of discipline and more compassion than the average person.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” ~Mark Twain
To be kind to every kind of animal here on Earth is a bold commitment to make and takes stepping outside of cultural beliefs which are deeply ingrained in most human societies. But there’s no greater action that can be taken that will ensure not only our survival but the survival of all who inhabit this planet.
I believe that many of the messages we get on a daily basis fail to serve our best interests as well as those of our children and grandchildren. We have a responsibility to be the best possible stewards of this planet given the unique position we have to affect the outcome of the systems and animals that inhabit it.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” — Anne Frank
There are many reasons to consider our relationship with the animals on this planet whether it’s for health, environment or cruel treatment of our fellow earthlings. Whatever your reason remember that you need not wait a single moment to be kind to every kind, and the generations to come will be counting on you for continued awareness and compassion.