Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
7 November 1999 Issue

An Eclectic Approach

by [email protected]

It was my intention to write about the plight of abandoned house cats and the public's reluctance to accept and adopt ready-aged, used cats, preferring instead to start their own from kittenhood. In the course of my work, I discovered that many cats are about as important as last season's bell bottoms to many people who move leaving the kits behind to make their way in an unknown, hostile environment. But I got severely sidetracked.

Along the way to this article, I discovered definitions and distinctions between and among animal rights people (wanting no cages), animal welfare people (wanting bigger and cleaner cages) and animal rescue people (wanting to find homes for the animals in those cages). That might sum it up neatly, but I can think of no better or unproductive way to alienate, divide and disengage people who might be sympathetic to animal issues. Labels and generalizations disturb me because the truth of such can only be measured in grains not grams. There is always some truth in those grains. But what purpose does it serve beyond alienation?

My bottom line is pretty black and white; either you care about animals or you don't. How's that for a simple concept? If you do, you find ways to help. You "adopt", you don't breed or buy. You take in more than one if you can. You support the organizations of your choice financially and morally as best you can. You give of yourself and your time to better the plight of animals. And you don't fight against what others are doing. The style you might bring to the process of animal protection, welfare and rights has little meaning. It all has to be accomplished, now, not later! While it would be impossible for me to believe animals are not entitled to basic rights, legal and humane, I MUST do what I can do while I am growing old waiting for those rights to be bestowed by society. Must I watch animals suffer while I am waiting? Helping animals one by one is a slow and frustrating process indeed, but one-by-one is better than none-by-none.

I am proud to see others demonstrating because that is not something I find I can do. But I can write an article, a letter to a congressperson. I can screen prospective guardians for displaced animals. I can and do put my money, and more than 40 hours a week without pay, where my mouth is. That's something I can do. I also support as many organizations as I can; those that fight to keep fur off women's backs, those that provide a legal apparatus to put animal abusers where they belong, those who provide needed care for marine or land animals, those who provide protections for animals as entertainment and those who offer "no-kill" sheltering or the spaying and neutering of feral cats. It all counts and it all matters.

We have all learned that united we conquer, divided we fall. That has never been as true as it is now concerning animal issues. The help they need can come in whatever form it might take for the individual. Do it however, wherever and whenever you can. We can focus on our differences. Or we can more productively put our efforts and energy in our sameness -- the beneficiaries being the animals. Whether your interest is in shutting down every testing lab in the country, demonstrating in front of stores that sell fur pelts or writing letters to editors and legislators, it all adds up to bettering conditions for all animals.

I welcome fellow activists of every cut and stripe. Let's not waste time and energy fighting or disputing among ourselves. We all have to stand together in our upward battle to change the perceptions and misperceptions of those who would like to write us off as 'loons' and 'fringe elements'.

Lyn Gladstone, Founder and Director of All Creatures Animal Caring Society
P. O. Box 3664 / San Rafael, CA 94912 / Office: (415) 456-1941 /
FAX (415) 456-2003 / e-mail: [email protected]

Go on to Listen With Your Third Ear (Poem)
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