The year was 2000, and I was searching for a mission, a way to make a difference before I left this planet. My love for animals pushed me to fight for chained dogs—the forgotten dogs, the dogs languishing in backyards with no one to speak on their behalf.
Even though I loved all animals, and shortly after forming Dogs Deserve Better became vegetarian (and now mostly vegan), I always carried a deep fascination for cows. Those faces! I just wanted to squish them and kiss them all over.
But a part of me always thought, “if I can’t get people to care about the dog suffering on the chain, how can I get them to care about the cows, pigs, or chickens laying on their plates?”
I never envied those who fight on the front lines for farmed animals—the difficulty of their mission made mine look like child’s play.
But now, today, we have a fight that must engage every animal rights activist in the cause of human rights. This very moment in America we are facing a level of crisis unprecedented in my lifetime, a crisis that has given me and many of my fellow animal advocates serious pause in our daily lives, disrupted our work for the animals.
As people told me to calm down, as they advocated for “let’s wait and see”, “let’s give Trump a chance”, my heart, mind, and soul all knew there was no need to do any of that. It would be as bad as we thought—no, it would be much worse.
I grew up with a narcissistic father and I then married a narcissist; I know what happens when people like Trump come into your life.
EVERYTHING FRACTURES. Everything is destroyed.
We’re seeing it already in myriad ways that you don’t need me to elucidate for you. Here are takes on what we’re dealing with, and reading these articles can give you a good picture of what’s really been going on.
Without human rights there are no animal rights. If our fellow human beings—or we, ourselves—are terrified, enslaved, marginalized, ostracized, killed, or imprisoned for being different than “the all-powerful white man”, who is left to care about the harm that is being done to animals?
When we as humans are in survival mode, we have no room in our psyches to care about the animals we share our planet with.
When our fellow Americans lose rights to basic dignities like equality, safety, homes, we cannot expect them to stand with us to fight for the animals. We can’t expect them to donate, we can’t expect them to protest, we can’t expect them to give us even a part of their soul—they have nothing left to give.
Every fight for human rights is a fight for animal rights in the end.
Therefore, today I ask all my friends who fight for the animals to also stand and fight for our basic human rights as citizens of these United States. I know that many of you already are, and you have been inspiring me for months. I thank you.
Each and every American has the right to equality—whether we are white, black, brown, or tan in color, gay or straight, woman or man. We have the right to equal pay for equal jobs and to live without fear we will be dragged from our homes for speaking out. We demand the right to feel safe in our homes, our land.
We insist the U.S. maintain our democracy, that we don’t allow Trump to become the dictator he obviously believes he can be. We must resist.
As much as we want to devote all our time to the animals, we must now divert at least a portion of that time to standing for our fellow human beings, no matter their race, color, creed, sexual orientation, or country of origin.
I signed up for this daily action, below, but there are myriad ways to get involved. I pledge to do more to fight for our democracy, and I hope you will too.
A fight for human rights IS a fight for animal rights.
God help us all.