Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Animal Rights, Pacifist, Activist, Passive- Resistance, and Animal Rights Activist

~I borrowed this from personaldietingmentor.com

"I've become more and more motivated to keep confronting those that just don't do enough for animal rights! According to a Google search on the phrase animal rights, I find three similar definitions that cover a broad range of ideas. "Rights believed to belong to animals to live free from use in medical research, hunting, and other services to humans;" "The concept that animals are entitled to certain fundamental rights such as the right to be spared undue suffering;" and "The rights to humane treatment claimed on behalf of animals, especially the right not to be exploited for human purposes." What I get out of it all is that they are not ours to do with as we please. This sounds just like slavery! The human mind and its ability to find legitimacy in the most inhumane places has never ceased to amaze me. Is it just the insatiable need to have more than the next guy or is it a true feeling of inadequacy to have to always be in control of everything? I'm sure it's probably a little of both.
I find that more people would rather stand on the sidelines and "not get involved." I hate that saying! I know from first hand knowledge that not enough people stand up to the inequities in life, let alone stand up to the bullies in life! I remember bullies in grade school, but kids never killed themselves because they couldn't stop from being bullied. Everyday, I hear groups calling for greater accountability and for "smaller government." I am not exactly sure what a smaller government is, but I know there needs to be a change. The ironic part of our governmental system is that it is a republic. Contrary to popular belief, we do not live in a democracy. In a democracy, everyone is required to cast their vote and contribute to the decision making process. Democracy can only work when everyone is involved. A republic is a system of government by which a representative is elected that is a reflection of his constituent’s wants, feelings, and desires. This representative is elected on the premise of doing "the people's work." Without getting into an involved political science discussion, in a republic, we also have the ability to recall (vote to remove from office) someone that is not meeting the needs for those whom elected him into office... I feel that there is not enough of this accountability occurring.
This brings me to my thesis of this paper.  Vegan-ism is defined as eliminating the practice of consuming animal products including eggs and milk, not using animal derivatives, and not using animals for testing and experimentation purposes. I argue that vegans not only abstain from those practices, but that vegans are advocates for animal rights as well. Since animals cannot speak for themselves and vegans have the broadest understanding of animal abuses, hidden animal ingredients in non-food based items, if vegans do not speak for the animals, then who will? It turns out that vegans always have the opportunity to tell others what veganism is all about, why they have chosen to live a vegan lifestyle and in so doing encourage others to do the same. Here is where a divide typically occurs, though. There are some vegans that will never back down from a chance to present the facts about the health risks associated with the consumption of animal products, inform about animal farming practices, and discourage medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and biological testing on animals. The majority of vegans do not do this, however. Their default position is that no one wants to be told that what they are doing is wrong and that nobody wants to "hurt anyone's feelings." Without a doubt, animals that share many of the same physiological characteristics as humans: central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, digestive system, reproductive systems and are able to see, smell, taste, feel, and hear just as humans do. So how does a vegan that claims that they do not consume animals nor encourage animal abuse feel that allowing their family and friends to do so warrants no response and no continued action towards prevention? A vegan's ultimate goal is to eliminate all suffering and killing, but when that is not possible, to minimize its impact to the greatest extent possible. If the vegan feels that animal abuse is unjustified, is not the act of confrontation the lesser of the two, easier? Standing up to the abuser causes no violence to them, no suffering, no abuse, and no death. Words are less painful and less lethal as well.
A vegan that does not eat animals but still uses animal products is a vegetarian... One can't go along for the ride while others rob a bank and not expect to share the responsibility. One cannot get into a car sober and let the one that has been drinking to drive and not expect that they could die... and one can't let others sell drugs out of one's home and think they cannot be held accountable to the authorities. Pacifism describes one that feels opposed to the violence, but doesn't do anything about it. Pacifists are described as: "Someone opposed to violence as a means of settling disputes;" "One that follows a doctrine that all violence is unjustifiable;" and "One that believes that war and violence are morally wrong, regardless of the circumstances." There is nothing in this description about one would do to end the violence. There is no action other than what one believes in. There are no animal rights pacifists!
Some could say that they practice, passive-resistance, that they fight against the cruelty but without confrontation, but that would be inaccurate for these individuals as well. Passive-resistance is described as: "The practice of achieving socio-political goals through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political non-cooperation, and other methods, without using violence;" and "Non-violent opposition to authority, especially a refusal to cooperate with legal requirement."
The problem with this is that we have to go back to their default position of, "I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings," and "I don't want to get involved." Passive-resistance is about being involved to make change. Telling someone that you disagree with their point of view and leaving it at that does nothing. No social change ever came about from one saying, "I don't like that behavior." That is only the foundation of opposition, but changes do not occur unless there is movement. For example, going to Sunday dinner and not eating the animal products demonstrates that you don't eat animal products. Not going to the Sunday dinner can be your passively demonstrated way to not partake in that event. Not going to the horse races demonstrates that you don't want to be a partner to animal abuse, but it also demonstrates that you don't want to partake in the festivities with those individuals because of the behaviors they do. The point is that you have to do something and the other has to know that you are doing it! It has to be visible and it has to be memorable or your protest goes unnoticed.
Lastly, there is activist. We are familiar with the terms, human rights activist and animal rights activist. An activism can be described as: "Intentional action to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change;" "One who is politically active in the role of a citizen, especially one who campaigns for change and one who is conspicuously more active in carrying out any occupational or professional functions;" and "The attitude of taking an active part in events, especially in a social context." Sitting back, just providing information, being subtle, being passive-aggressive, and being passive-resistive is not being vegan. They are not compatible. While vegans want peace for all living creatures, since 95% of the United States is not vegan, taking a passive approach does nothing for change. No one would be passive about their children skipping school or stealing, no one would be passive if being accused of a crime they didn't commit, and no one would be passive if their life was in jeopardy. That is the point. The majority are doing so much damage to the planet, that while the planet will recover when all of us are gone, there is little hope for recovery while we are ravening it! Additionally, since there are so few of us, we can't afford to let some people do things one way as others say, "I am going to do things my own way." The argument is not about what we want to do or how you and I feel about any of this, but it is about how the animals feel about it. They don't want to be abused, they don't want to be cooped up, caged up, corralled up and fenced up... and they definitely don't want to be murdered, raped, and abused!
There has to be consistency! If you don't believe in animal cruelty, then you have to prove it. Your actions will speak volumes more than your words in this case as actions are killing our animal cousins. It is going to take actions to challenge action! It is going to take facts to challenge myths and it is going to take courage to overcome cowardness!"