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27 May 2001 Issue
Staying Focused

by Penzelda@aol.com

Stay focused. Stay committed. The animals need you.

I often get e-mails from activists who have become disheartened or discouraged. This is a reply I recently sent to someone who had reached that point:

I know that one can get discouraged and that, as the French say, it often seems that "plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose" (the more things change the more they stay the same)...I don't pay attention to any of that... I keep thinking of the bunny in the Eveready ad that I've seen on TV...I just keep going and going and going....and keep focused on MY objectives, my passion, on what I know in my heart is right, without getting sidetracked into the negativity, the hostility, the discouraging comments or total indifference of others.

I figure it's like this: when I went to a friend's house the other day and we were talking about AR and what has and has not changed or been accomplished I said: "Do you see that TV? How come it wasn't invented 100 years ago?" "and what about the computer?, the jet plane? compact discs? antibiotics etc? Where were they until the 20th century? Why didn't someone figure out how to make a micro-wave oven? an air-conditioner? A digital watch before then? Most of those things were just a fantasy until our
own lifetime. Clearly, they did not exist until they were ready to exist. Other things had to come first, to precede them. Someone had to be ready to create them and others to want them and to accept them.

There is a process called the natural order of things, and one cannot create something in a void. There must be first steps, failed attempts, further advancements, each in it's own time. As I see it, we are at the very inception of a social change that is so great and so encompassing in it's dimensions that we cannot help but face resistance and reluctance by people who have much invested in the old order, in "tradition" and therefore, fear change...much like it must have been when slaves were given freedom,
children taken out of the coal mines, women given the legal right to own, to inherit, to vote. We have a world order built on the concept of man's superiority and the exploitation of animals....coming unfortunately, from ancient religious teachings (an animal has no soul) and the "unenlightened" Greek
philosophers who saw animals as inferior creatures put here to serve man. Thus, we eat them, wear them, experiment on them and exploit them in every way imaginable, based on our own ignorance and a self-serving glorification of our superiority that allows us to think we have the right to use these "unthinking and unfeeling" creatures as we see fit.

The world's entire social and economic structure would probably collapse if suddenly, we were not allowed to use or kill animals. If you think of all the many, many ways in which animals provide a livelihood or represent survival for people you would know why so many are frightened and unwilling to even think of change...look at the fight put up by furriers, circuses, researchers, by the meat and dairy industry and so many others.

So, as I see it, many things will have to happen first...or simultaneously, such as new foods (just think of all the options available to a vegetarian/vegan today compared to just 10 years ago; could you ever have foreseen soymilk and soy ice-cream in the dairy section of your local supermarket? Smoked tofu and "un-chicken" in the refrigerator compartment? veggie burgers at the local diner? Think of all the new fabrics that can replace animal skins...faux leather, faux fur, all sorts of synthetics...these did not exist as an option 100 years ago; and the legal challenges to old beliefs and traditions (esp. the animal as property, etc.), that are slowly making their way into our courts and eventually into our laws. So change is happening (slowly) but we are too close to see it...and it is also so early in the evolution of man's consciousness, that only a relatively small number of people, have the awareness, the higher consciousness that allows them to see and feel compassion where others don't...and the determination and commitment to make a change.

Leonardo DaVinci envisioned flight and drew models of "airplanes" over 400 years ago. Yet, it wasn't until the 20th century that someone finally succeeded in making that vision a reality. I know in my heart that I am a "pioneer," a "trailblazer," at the very beginning of this movement (actually only about 15-20 years old) and that I will probably never see in my lifetime, all the changes I work for and wish for. Nevertheless, I continue to lay the groundwork for the changes that will eventually come. They will come with the efforts of the early "believers" the committed faithful, the first team willing to do what it takes to begin the process...just think of what 12 apostles were able to accomplish in the face of such determined opposition.

And that's what keeps me going. I don't count my victories or my defeats. I don't look back...only forward. I pray and meditate each day, envisioning a world in which injustice, cruelty and inflicted pain have no place; a world in which compassion and love fill the heart and soul of every living being.

Go on to Mountains of Misery: The Holocaust of Foot-and-Mouth Disease
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