Animal Rights and Human Rights: Pt 1

While the issues of immigration still pound on and the need to write compassionate pieces to bring about positive change are very much needed I want to take a few posts to write about animal rights. Having become vegan a little over five years ago I have come into a state of consciousness where I find it very difficult to believe it is ok that others eat flesh. For me the struggle for animal rights is just as real as the struggle for human rights and in many ways the two are welded together. Do so many fail to address animal rights because the struggle for human rights is just too great? Doesn’t it make sense that compassion for animals would lead to compassion for human beings?

The idea that animals are beneath us is a construct of many years of indoctrination. In the past eating animals was easier than growing food because growing food takes time and care. Killing an animal just takes some sort of weapon and the desire to kill. It is a quick and effective way to find sustenance. Generally we pine that things which take time and care offer the greatest reward. So it would seem that looking after your crops would provide a greater source of completion and satiation. One becomes one with the earth and the elements counting on each to provide the proper environment for their nourishment.

The need to break out of cycles is one we’ve been engaged in for some time. In this country we’re still battling against racism and the idea that dark-skinned people are somehow less than their light-skinned sisters and brothers. The need to take this same approach with animals is very real and should not be ignored. Choosing to allow factory farming and the torture of animals for clothing and food is simply another mindset we must break. It is no longer ok to ignore the cries from the slaughterhouse. It may sit in some desolate part of Oklahoma, far from your ears, but the screaming happens every day. Millions and millions of animals are killed for our consumption each year.

I believe it’s time for all people working in rights organizations to take a holistic and comprehensive approach to rights in general. Why is it ok to ignore the issue of animal rights? This is a question I would like to ask everyone involved in the struggle for human rights?

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3 thoughts on “Animal Rights and Human Rights: Pt 1

  1. I believe it’s time for all people working in rights organizations to take a holistic and comprehensive approach to rights in general.

    I agree. At change.org, we have both animal rights and immigrant rights blogs. Since I started blogging there, I’ve noticed linkages between immigrant rights and global warming, gay rights, health care, education, animal rights, women’s rights, and criminal justice that I might not have noticed if my co-bloggers hadn’t been there blogging about those issues. We have done some post exchanges and cross-posting, but I feel sometimes that there are unnecessary barriers between our issue areas. I am hoping that the collaborative nature of the site will lead to new opportunities for synergy that we can’t see yet.

    This wasn’t meant to be a pitch for change.org, but I agree fully with your point that we get focused on particular niches and forget about the rest of the world. I’m also interested in finding ways to make common cause with activists in other areas, and hoping the internet will provide new opportunities for that.

    I’m still vegetarian, not vegan, still haven’t bought a new belt since we spoke last year, when the one I have finally fails I’ll be looking for non-leather alternatives. Hope all is well in your new (old) home.

  2. Thanks for your words.

    Suffering is universal, felt by all sentient beings, and should be dealt with as such. We know for a fact that animals are abused in factory farms yet so many refuse to care – even those fighting for humans that suffer. There’s no doubt fighting for the rights of all living things will bring about a more positive change in the end.

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