Moo-ving people toward compassionate living
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We Are in a Movement Which Is
Supposedly Based on Compassion
By: Patty Adjamine
Submitted 19 February 1999
We are a movement which is supposedly based on "compassion." Compassion is what we want others to feel for animals. We condemn the violence done to lab, farm and wild animals. We speak of a peaceful world where humans and animals can live in freedom and harmony. Yet, for those who don't follow our particular (and often narrow) definitions of "animal rights," we feel no compunctions in wishing harm to them. Our motto seems to be 'be kind to animals - or else." Such attitude smacks of hypocrisy and arrogance: "Do as I say, not as I do."
People like Nugent may "never see the light," that is true. But, it is also true that none of us are fortune tellers and know that as a fact. There are people on this very board who, at one time were abusing animals. Yet, something somehow inspired them to "see the light." Where there is life, there is hope. Where there is knowledge, growth, education, compassion and patience there is even more hope.
But, where there is cynicism, duplicity, intolerance and arrogance, there can be little hope. Hate and intolerance will breed the same. We say to others to "be compassionate," but we fail to demonstrate the very merits and attributes we "demand." Others see through this obvious hypocrisy and then dismiss everything we say. We are simply perceived as "fanatical intolerant zealots' who love animals and hate people.
I am not a follower of any particular religion. But, I do know that it isn't Religion, but the lack of love, compassion, understanding, forgiveness and tolerance that has created all the wars and suffering (to both animal and human) that some people allude to. If we want to turn that around and create a better world for animals, we need to live in greater harmony with the people of this earth - including those perceived as "enemies."
Internal change evolves, it is not forced. Hate may intimidate, but it will never inspire. To hate is to isolate ourselves away from the very people we seek to influence and help change. Vengeance separates. Compassion and love unites. Hate toxifies, weakens and self-destructs. Love purifies, strengthens and expands.
This movement can become either a self-serving (and eventually self-destructive) elitist "cult" or a genuine force for positive change in all of society. The tool is in front of and within us to bring about those changes. The tool is called courage. It is the courage to recognize and transform the anger we feel into something positive and building. To "detox" (purge) feelings of hate and disappointment in others and turn that into something else: understanding/compassion. To take the love which still exists in all our hearts, nourish it and spread it outward.
The compassion and love that this movement is based on is our strength. Our hate and feelings of "vengeance" is what will isolate and bring us (and the animals) down.
Anger and outrage may have a place in this movement (provided it is dealt with and channeled properly) but resentment does not. Whatever pain, disappointment and anger we feel with the mass injustices to animals have to be handled in such manner as NOT to leave us feeling "resentment" towards the ignorant and the cruel. Once again, "resentment" will be experienced by others as divisive, elitist and hateful. None of this has place in our movement. If resentment is what any of us feel, then we must find ways to banish it. It will do nothing to serve the animals.
Detox/purge the hate. Nourish the love. Go out and share with the world from a position of strength. This is the only way things can positively change for both the animals and humans of our world. You cannot achieve positive results from negative feelings/actions.
Note: Patty Adjamine is the Director of New Yorkers for Companion Animals, a New York City based rescue and adoption organization. Patty can be contacted at [email protected]
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