I know I’ve been blogging a lot about vegan things as of late, but many things in the news and in my life have inspired me to revisit why I am vegan, rather than just linger, statically, in that state. In Boulder, once we move there, I hope to join up with a few vegan organizations to do more outreach, and a news article I saw today sums up why it is so important to me to do so.
This article was posted on the PPK this morning. Basically, a woman bought a five-legged puppy for $4,000 to save it from being sent to a freak show. This story is heartwarming, but it is also disturbing on a number of levels. One, it is completely insane to me that animal freak-shows still exist, that the freak-show operator was going to spend $3,000 for the privilege of exhibiting and exploiting this animal, and that the cost of rescuing this animal was so high. I think this woman did a great deed in rescuing Lilly (the puppy in question), but frankly, I think stories like this are ultimately problematic.
This dog deserves a good life, but so do all dogs. As much as we might “aww” over this tale of love this is only one dog, and there are so, so many other animals, perfectly healthy animals, languishing in shelters, with adoption fees of far less than $4,000. It makes me wonder about human nature, why humans are so good in a crisis, but so terrible with invisible problems that can be safely ignored and tucked away.
The woman who adopted the puppy had this to say about her reasons for spending so much money: “I felt like I needed to be an advocate for her because she can’t speak.”
Well, that is an awesome quote, and even though this woman might not be vegan (I don’t know), this sentiment is the core philosophy behind being vegan, at least to me. I truly believe veganism is living one’s desire to be an advocate on behalf of the voiceless. Veganism is about pushing aside your “bacon fever,” or desire for constant convenience, or your personal taste, or cognitive dissonance regarding factory farms, or perhaps just blindness toward the fact that animals have feelings, desires, hopes, societies, morals, and hearts just like us, and extending compassion toward the oppressed group of the entire animal kingdom. It is about realizing no one is too busy to be vegan, or that there is nothing stopping someone who works on behalf of the rights of human animals to extend that compassion outward toward all animals. It is about really thinking about how the dogs that are cooped up in shelters, hopefully triggering our sympathy to adopt them, are leading infinitely better lives than the pigs (who are of comparable, if not greater intelligence) who are are slaughtered every day.
I know humans are capable of great and inspiring compassion, and love, and selflessness. I just wish more humans would be open to exploring that compassion, love, and selflessness with animals other than kitty cats and puppy dogs and other creatures considered “pets” instead of “dinner.”