If I were to say one thing it would to never be embarrassed to for something, especially something as important as animal rights! Besides the obvious reasons that these animals NEED your help, it’s the fact that you shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, regardless of what the next person thinks. You should always stay true to yourself. To stand up for something, especially when those around you are either not aware as they should be or simply arrogant about it, you are a much stronger than you would have been if you walked away from the situation, not knowing or wondering ‘what if.’ A lot of us go through our lives trying to fit in and unfortunately, not all of us know why. It’s something that we seem to be programmed to do naturally; like any other animal in their environment, trying to adapt to their surroundings. But, when it comes to human-animals, us, adapting to our environment 100% isn’t recommended. Between all these different viewpoints, it really makes you think about how every thought is actually just an opinion; to me, this is mostly clear. A perfect example of this would be religion, politics, or in this case rights – animal rights.
No, I’m not saying animal rights ARE an opinion. Of course, animals should be protected in all ways, shapes, and forms. I’m saying that the subject of animal rights brings many opinions to the table, controversial sort of speak. If you reflect on any issue, any idea, really, you can always question it. Those who question either find their own answers, answers from others, or maybe even never even do. My point is, I know that animal rights are a very controversial issue to talk about. Like anything else, there are believers and there are nonbelievers. [spacer]
With that being said, I wanted to take the time to let out some frustration that you or I have had or currently have with the animal rights movement. We constantly meet people who don’t have our exact morals or viewpoints, & that is expected. But unlike DNA (mostly), these opinions, morals, and viewpoints can be updated, altered, & changed! I know it’s hard to look at these people with an open mind instead of questioning but we just have to be patient & if you’re like me, it’s not easy. Change is something that takes time, like mostly everything, & is honestly something I’m not prepared to wait for. But, whether it’s in this life time or another, we must stay hopeful that at some point in time, the world will finally find peace. Sure, it’s easy to say that but it’s also easy to say that the world never will. Again, these are all opinions but to get anywhere in life, you must keep an open mind, stay optimistic, and be ready to fight for the changes you want to see in the world.[spacer]
Whether you strongly believe in animal rights, partially, or don’t at all, we all have a part in it. Sure, you can sit there are ignore it but if you were smart, you would find your place in it and stick your foot there. Why? Because it’s all up to you. It becomes a challenge, whether you’re fighting for something or against it, one thing always holds true… your opinion. It’s what always matters. There never seems to be a middle ground; it seems that everything in life has a side. You do or you don’t. Yes or no. Why can’t it be I don’t know, or I don’t know the answer?[spacer]
So, this is for anyone, young, old, weak, strong, vegan, vegetarian, meat eater, pescatarian, and every single one of you! I dare you to challenge yourself further. Instead of constantly telling yourself the answer you want to hear, tell yourself the answer you would least expect. It may sound simple, but is it really, when you come from a society who either knocks you down or tells you what to wear, think, eat, or do? Stop letting others control what you think, do, or believe and do your own research, gain your own knowledge, and let your heart, your mind, and your soul shine through with the choices you make. If you don’t take risks, who else will? No one can truly tell you what to say, think, or do but yourself & you know that. [spacer]
Going back to how this all relates to animal rights, I’m constantly asked how I got so involved in it in the first place. The answer is honestly not one I thought about very hard, it just came naturally. I was like you, trying to find my place in the world, instead of just being ‘no one’ I wanted to be ‘someone.’ I simply went with my gut. I was sick of telling myself to wait, someone else who will. Seriously, someone else!? Who, in what world, would honestly magically fulfill your waiting list or events, waiting to be done by you? No one. No one but you. We all have a voice so why not make it count? Take my advice. Try it! Don’t be afraid to rise and fall, & even fail! It’s all part of the process. You live and you learn; trial and error.
So whether it’s to stop eating meat, use cruelty free products, become more active for animals, or even to start exercising or eating better, just give it a go! Regardless of your love or hate for your decision in the future, it’s all part of the experience. And like many say, you never know until you try; you might be surprised to find just how many of us do something thinking we won’t like it or due to fear from ourselves or others, and question ourselves, wondering why we waited so long on the chance to do it in the first place.
When it comes to animal rights, it’s a different kind of experience. It’s a kind of experience that you can not only feel, but it really does change your life and I can speak of this first hand, just like many of you I am sure. Once you become more aware or something, it never really leaves your mind. It’s like learning something private about your parents or your teachers; you can’t seem to occupy your mind on anything but when you meet with them again. So is the case for seeing an undercover investigation video on a slaughterhouse or factory farm. You do the best you can to not be reminded of it or think about it, even slightly, when you see a farm animal or piece of meat or fur. But does it honestly ever go away? For me, I can honestly say that it does not & I don’t think it ever will.
Sometimes these haunted memories are bad, but sometimes they are even good. ‘Impossible!’ you think. But actually, when something is either subconsciously or consciously in our mind very often, we tend to want to get it to disappear, if we don’t want it there of course, but if we do? Well, that’s a different story. This is how I became so dedicated in animal rights, myself. Not only to help blur these images and memories constantly reminiscing in my head, but to help others never have to even witness them, and for animals to never have to go through what makes these horrible memories real, in the first place.
With that being said, it got me to try and open my mind & stop trying to push all the bad memories out, because in the end, they really do help push me forward & realize that these CAN stay in the past if I know how to put them there. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stand true to all things like death, but it can also help distinguish between what must happen and what could happen. You’re not always the boss, but when you are, it’s crucial you take that position.
So what am I getting at? Well, no matter what is pushing you back from your achievements, success, or self-progression, you must battle it. Step up to the plate, & if you fall or strike out, so what? You’re not alone, that’s for sure. Just like starting a new lifestyle or becoming a vegetarian or vegan, progressing into it doesn’t exactly happen right off the bat and I realize that this doesn’t only attain to animal rights, but to really anything in life. Yes, opinions do conquer our lives but if you make yours count & stay true to it, you never know who or what will feel the same way about it. After all, doesn’t a seed grow in dirt?
It’s essential to stay hopeful & strong at tough times like these when things seem to plateau & never follow through but I hope you will find change to be as promising as I do. Don’t forget: you must hope, to act, to change.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Watch below for a beautifully inspirational video from Jane Goodall & her effort for change!