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From 29 December 2002 Issue

The Compassionate Activist
By Kimberly Locke - KMBWolf@aol.com 

Vandalism, harassment, death threats. More and more people are associating these words with animal rights activism. And who can blame them?

In Massachusetts, two young adults were arrested for criminal harassment, extortion, and stalking. They allegedly threatened to burn down the victimís home, vandalized his home with red paint, and threatened his life if he did not quit his job. The victim was the mid-level manager for Marsh USA, an international insurance brokerage firm believed to do business with Huntingdon Life Sciences.

In New Jersey, an animal rights activist was arrested and charged with possession of an illegal weapon. She allegedly threatened a rodeo representative with an electric prod.

The stories go on. And with such stories, society is seeing animal rights activists as vandals, harassers, and even worse, terrorists.

Is this how we want the animal rights movement to be seen as? Acts of terrorism? Activists striving for animal rights are [allegedly] threatening people, blowing up labs, and destroying property. All this does is fuel society with hatred for animal rights activists.

Animal rights activism is just that. Fighting for the rights of animals. But donít forget, humans are animals too.

Violence is not the way. Not at all. When we are fighting for animal rights, we are ideally fighting for peace between the human and non-human animals. That cannot be won with red paint, explosives, or death threats. It can only be won with education and compassion.

What we all must remember is that we as individuals didnít always know what we know now. Some of us became animal rights activists earlier than others. Can you remember a time when you ate meat, wore leather, fished, or squashed bugs? You werenít stupid, or hateful, or even evil. You were uneducated.

And that is what the rest of society is. Uneducated. How many times have you heard people say "I didnít know that!" when you tell them about puppy mills, slaughterhouses, or fur ranches? We cannot get mad at or hate people merely because they donít know. It is far more important to educate.

So what can we do? Here are just a few things that can greatly help the animal rights movement:

-- Pass out informative flyers and brochures

-- Patiently and politely tell people why you donít eat meat/wear fur/go to circuses

-- Tell people that you donít shop at certain stores because they sell furs

-- Wear shirts, buttons, hats, etc with animal rights slogans

-- Inform family members and friends about the health hazards of meat, and that you want them to become vegetarian so you will have them around longer

-- Write letters to newspapers about upcoming events, like the circus or rodeo

-- Send e-cards with animal rights slogans and messages, like those at www.fund.org

-- Write to members of the government, telling about the horrors of factory farms or pet mills

-- Carry fur-cards, cards with an anti-fur message, with you and leave them at ATMs or on the bus

-- Tell people why you buy cruelty-free products

-- For gifts, bake vegan goodies, or make a cruelty-free baskets full of lotions and soaps

-- At family gatherings, bring a vegan entrťe that everyone can enjoy, and be prepared to be asked for the recipe

-- Write to companies telling them why you wonít buy their products until they stop animal testing

-- Start a petition

The pacifistic way is the only way we can succeed with our cause. We are fighting to stop violence on animals. We cannot forget that humans are animals, too.

Go on to Compassion For Animals Action Symposium
Return to 29 December 2002 Issue
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