Why is it okay for kids to care (and not adults)?
Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

From lauren Ornelas, Food Empowerment Project
August 2013

And yet, why does that change as we get older? Why do adults get an eye roll if we care about animals so much that we go vegan, and yet a child who does this because they care about animals is actually seen as cute and/or smart for their age?

Food Empowerment Project works to fight a variety of injustices, including the deaths of animals killed for food, farm workers who suffer and even sometimes die in the fields for produce, and the worst forms of child labor that take place in the chocolate industry.

And up until recently, my full-time job was working to stop electronic waste from being dumped overseas in developing countries and the social injustices in the solar industry.

Many times I am asked how I cope with all of this suffering that I surround myself with. My response is that working to stop these injustices gives me strength.

Over the past several weeks, I have come to realize something else that I recognize must help me, but I don’t know that I have ever given it credit. And I know many of you will find fault in this – so I apologize for my weakness in advance.

I have this uncanny ability to watch Netflix in the background while I work; in fact, many of my blogs are written this way.

My weakness? Cartoons and kids movies. Yup. [I know that many of these movies are actually based on books, but some of these books came out when, well, it was just easier to watch the movie.] Although many cause my heart to ache (Secret of Nimh, Fox and the Hound, Bambi, Dumbo, etc.), I tend to watch kids’ movies and cartoons that don’t. Because, well, their drama is not drama when you aren’t a teen or a tween.

While watching these shows, I have started to recognize a unifying theme: those who abuse and kill animals are vilified (no shock here, as many who torture animals say animal rights activists were brainwashed by Disney), but also, the characters who love animals tend to be the heroes or the “smart” kids.

Again, I am not revealing anything shocking here, as we know that in movies including 101 Dalmatians, Beauty and the Beast, and Rescues Down Under, those who kill hunt or want to harm animals are mocked for, well, not being as smart as the average bear.

But I am talking more about the live-action kids’ movies where the kids are organizing animal rights protests against companies that test on animals, students oppose dissection, and those young characters who are vegetarians or even vegans.

They are respected. They are seen as the smart kids.

And yet, why does that change as we get older? Why do adults get an eye roll if we care about animals so much that we go vegan, and yet a child who does this because they care about animals is actually seen as cute and/or smart for their age?

Why are children who work to stop slavery looked upon as saints, but organizations who work to stop the slavery are seen as somehow political?

We all know that as children, we are raised to care about animals and slowly that changes, but why does public perception change?

Why are there shows about kids who care about animals, but such caring in adults is portrayed as crazy or radical?

The movie Hoot (based on a book) is about kids wanting to protect land from development to save the burrowing owl. The kids bond by wanting to protect these endangered animals. And yet organizations that want to do this same work are criticized as being anti-development.

I hesitate to say it, but I would imagine that we stop being cute and start becoming a concern when we could impact, well, capitalism.

Clearly, I am not saying that shows never portray vegans as respectable, but I am amazed by how many kids’ shows really depict caring about animals as a bonus to a child’s character.

It is refreshing. Overall, it gives me hope that a generation of young people will be bolstered enough by their compassion for animals that will it stay with them for a lifetime.

Because these are the people who will save countless lives in their lifetime.

Whatever it is, I hope movies and books continue to come out featuring characters who care about protecting animals and the planet, and in which those who fight for justice are the smart, compassionate, and indeed likeable characters.

Just like we are when we grow up! 


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