because they can’t speak

July 20, 2009 at 9:45 am (thinking, vegan living)

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.”



  1. Gina said,

    What disturbs me about this story is the fact that the puppy is scheduled for an immediate surgery to remove the leg. Now, if the extra appendage is hindering the dog, or is going to cause damage or injury to her, then yes, by all means, perform the surgery. But if the limb is nominally functional, then I really have to say that I question the logic behind its removal. Is this safe? Is this the best for the animal? Or will *cutting off one of her limbs* merely make her “normal-looking?” Because if all this surgery is going to do is make the dog just like any other dog, and not potentially save her life, then I think it is cruel to unnecessarily remove the limb. Again, the article does not state whether or not the surgery is a necessary one, and, again, if it is a life-saving or extending measure, I am all for it. But I think about how I, for example, would feel about losing one of my limbs, and I would be completely traumatized. How do we know that this poor puppy won’t be equally traumatized?

  2. Gina said,


    This article answers my previous question – was the extra limb hindering this puppy’s quality of life. The answer – a resounding yes! Thankfully, Allyson Siegel was able to expedite Lilly the puppy’s surgery in order to both improve the dog’s health and well-being, as well as keep her out of the hands of someone who would have kept the hindering limb in order to exploit her.

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