Written by Anna van Beek.
Why again and again for them, and less, or not at all, for all those people
who have no homes, no food or health? Many a child from
the slums would give anything for the meals western
pets get served every day. Are animals more vulnerable
or more helpless than humans? Why do I choose time and
again, as I have all my life, for animals when an appeal
is made for my volunteer time, action and/or money?
Maybe simply because you have to make a choice somewhere,
and can't bear the weight of all the world's suffering?
Or is it that nowhere injustice and suffering are so
100% clear and distressing as when a defenseless animal
is abused? A child from the slums, no matter how hard
his life is, is at least a member of the human race.
This makes his chances of spending his life in a dark
and small cage, or being subjected to painful and frightening
medical experiments a lot smaller. Should such a fate
befall him, then at least this is a punishable offense,
and there's a chance that other people will stand up
But with animals, especially in the western world, the situation
is reversed. People have the right to use animals in
an economically optimal way, which has resulted in the
unscrupulous processing of animals. Producers of medicine
are even legally obligated to poison animals, cut them
open, mutilate them or torture them psychologically,
before a new medicine may be tested on humans. Partly,
animal abuse is surely based on many people's conviction
that animals are inferior to humans. But I believe that
ignorance is an even greater factor in facilitating
and maintaining - for me - the most unacceptable forms
of animal abuse, namely animal testing and factory farming.
And it's here that I see an opportunity to convert
my outrage and powerless anger into something constructive,
namely by giving as much information as possible about
the purely economical powers behind the pharmaceutical
industry and the meat and dairy industry. I'm convinced
that every man and every people is able to do the most
horrible things to other people at some point, if they
allow something so innocent and defenseless as an animal
in captivity to be exploited and abused. The German
people have been attacked endlessly after WWII on their
reply "Wir haben es nicht gewusst". Personally,
I think that the masses had indeed no idea of the great
atrocities that were committed in their name. And that
it is possible to right large-scale wrongs, if enough
people learn to see through the lies, propaganda and
commercials of a few (Compare for instance the successes
by the anti-nuclear-energy movement).
In conclusion I do think it's possible to live together
with animals in an ethically responsible way, everywhere
in the world, as long as people know which wrongs exist,
what causes them, and which obvious alternatives exist.
Researchers and farmers don't like to admit camera teams
into their laboratories and soundproof stables, which
is not for nothing. What we don't know won't hurt us;
even in our country and elsewhere we 'know nothing',
and that's why deep-rooted wrongs can stay in existence
and large profits can be made over the backs of animals.
This is my motivation to stand up for organizations
that defend animal rights: everyone is entitled to their
own opinion, but I won't be the one to blame that people
'know nothing'. And some way I believe that a society
that takes responsibility for its weakest and most dependent
members (read: animals), will also be better for its
Back to personal stories.