"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever does"
Have you ever thought of doing something for the
animals, but were just not sure where to begin or what the consequences
would be? Have you ever experienced the feeling of helplessness or felt
compassion for a poor agonizing critter or pet, but just were not sure
what to do about it? If you answered yes, then here are some things to
ponder and to start doing. Make this your New Year's resolution. Don't
hesitate! Every minute an animal is being senselessly abused or
killed...this is reality. Whatever your religious background, beliefs,
upbringing, or peer pressure may be, keep this one thing in
mind....there is not a single species or animal that likes to die or be
abused in any way. All living and breathing beings protect themselves
from death or harm. Knowing this, it is then absurd to think that
animals should not be granted basic rights to live freely and to die
naturally. Yet, this is the way many humans think, as old ignorance is
passed down through the generations.
"People often say that humans have always eaten animals,
as if this
is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic,
we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people,
since this has also been done since the earliest of times.
--Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Laureate
The point here is that human civilization has evolved
through many different periods of time. Some of those times were quite
brutal, and those times are a part of us. However, our philosophies of
life can and should change for the simple reason that life is precious,
as well as a gift..it is not ours to take away. Once you start the
journey of helping animals and others live a better life, your life
becomes more enriched and focused. It is indeed a wonderful journey.
"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty
with which we treat
the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not
allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the
whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to
living things, humanity will not find peace."
I recommend that you start slowly. Try a couple of
things that you like to do already, like writing, or getting more hands
on experience with the animals. Gaining knowledge about the reaches of
inhumanity through the web and START is a great second step. Do not get
trapped in the "It's-so-immense" or "I-can't-make-a-difference"
syndrome. Talk to other concerned people and stay active with your daily
or weekly animal activism goals. Good luck, stay focused, and most
importantly, get started!
10 Steps to Becoming an Animal Activist
Here are 10 steps that can start you on your way to becoming an activist
for the animals! Positive action erases negative emotion.
1. Embrace the vegan way of life. It's better for your
health and for the planet. You will also be ending your participation in
any animal killing (see PETA's pamphlet on The Realities of Animal-Based
Agriculture, excerpted from Diet for a New America by John Robbins.
2. Join START and/or an animal rights group like PETA. These
organizations will help you to build knowledge and confidence. They also
provide a wealth of information on current issues and opportunities for
3. Do not buy from or support companies and people who are known animal
users and killers. Read product labels and be certain that they have not
been tested on animals and that they do not contain animal byproducts
(see PETA's Caring Consumer Guide or NAVS Personal Care for People Who
Care). The internet, as well as many books, can help you with this.
4. Write letters to companies, restaurants, charitable organizations,
government officials, churches, friends, and family members urging them
to stop animal abuse, animal experimentation, and killing. Focus on a
key issue (e.g., Proctor & Gamble, factory farming, or puppy mills).
5. Let the media hear your voice. Write letters and speak up to radio
stations, newspapers, and TV stations whenever you hear of animal rights
being denied and/or glorified.
6. Put an animal rights message on your answering machine, voice mail,
or screen saver on your computer at work (there are many you can
download off the internet).
7. Wear buttons and T-shirts, and use bumper stickers to spread the word
and to get great conversations started.
8. Get informed. Read animal rights books and other literature that will
better inform you on how to get involved, be effective, and find out
what is really going on behind closed doors, as well as right out in the
open. The internet is also a great resource for all kinds of animal
9. Leafleting is a great way to spread the word. Focus on an important
issue and hand out leaflets in front of a busy location, like the post
office on a Saturday, or in front of a known animal testing lab during
business hours, or place them on car windshields in a parking lot during
church or at the movies. Also stick brochures in outgoing bills/mail.
10. Fundraising and donations support your local animal rights group and
maybe a national group of your choice. Your donations, no matter what
size, keep their work for the animals going strong. You may also want to
hold garage sales or craft sales to raise money for the benefit of a
group or activity that you feel is important to the animals.
Copyright 1999 by Tim Ray and the St. Louis Animal
Reprinted with permission. For more information and activist resources,
go to www.start4animals.org/
Go on to How to Answer
an Ornery Omnivore
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