I've always found it incomprehensible that people feel
superior to animals.
I'm the youngest from a family of seven, born in a village.
At our house we had chickens, a dog and a cat. I remember
the wide ditch near our house where we once drowned
kittens in a bag weighted with a stone. At that time
it didn't affect me very much emotionally, I just watched.
When I was seven years old, we moved to an upstairs
flat in Vlaardingen. The animals stayed behind, but
I wanted a pet. One day I found a dog stuck in the ice
in a ditch. I kept the dog warm underneath my coat and
took it home.
I was very close to that dog. For example: I missed
my dog so much during a two-week holiday that I was
taken home. Others told me that it was the same for
my dog. After a few years, my mother wanted the dog
out of the house. She gave the dog away to other people.
I hated her for that.
When I was 23 I moved out. I became a volunteer for
AMIVEDI and campaigned increasingly for animals.
After about 18 months or two years I bought two dogs
(Labrador-puppies). By taking care of these dogs myself
I had to think a lot about what they need, and I became
aware of what animals need and have, and I became conscious
of how animals in our society don't get what they need.
I started campaigning against factory farming and eating
less and less animal products until I became a vegetarian.
I've been more and less strict with myself during my
life, at times I was even a vegan.
I talk to my sisters a lot about eating meat, and they
have cut down as well.
The core about what I learned about animals is the following:
what animals need is to be animals, free and in contact
with members of their species.
I feel very much connected to defenseless people and
animals. I feel their pain and sometimes I can't sleep.
Animals are left at the mercy of people. When I think
about animals in factory farming, my heart breaks. I
think it's madness that cattle farmers can keep pets
responsibly, while they irresponsibly lock up cattle,
like products. I think that the hierarchy that makes
people think they are superior to pets, and that pets
are superior to cattle, is madness.
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