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"Error is harmless, while reason is left free to combat it." These are words written and spoken by Charles Sumner in his Crime Against Kansas speech back in 1856. In his speech, Sumner vehemently attacked the defenders and sympathizers of slavery. Yet, just 12 years earlier, the United States Congress had enacted a 'Gag Rule' against reading or discussing any petition regarding the issue of slavery. Reason had been stripped of its power to combat injustice. Fortunately for Sumner, a grumpy old former President, John Quincy Adams, fought tirelessly to restore the right of petition and freedom of speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. But, even still, Sumner was attacked shortly after his speech and hit over the head with a cane until he was unconscious and nearly dead by a pro-slavery member of Congress.
Make no mistake, the issue may have changed from human slavery to animal slavery, but the defenders of injustice are using the same playbook in trying to silence us. In his day, Charles Sumner was called a radical for standing up against slavery and refusing to be patient or bite his tongue in regards to the injustice he saw. Today, the same thing is done to those of us standing against animal abuse. We are called extreme and constantly told that we are too vocal and preachy. And with laws like the AgGag efforts sweeping the nation to silence people from reporting what is really happening to animals, it isn't hard to see that yet again the government is trying to restrict our rights to protect injustice against those who would stand against it. And in 1856, the united voice of the South cried out, 'What will happen to the plantation owners if the slaves were to go free? They would be reduced to poverty.' Hard to believe that anyone would justify slavery by claiming that it might harm another person's financial wellbeing. Yet, this is the exact argument used today. 'What will happen to the workers in the animal agriculture industry? You are costing people jobs by fighting for animal rights.' Different issue, same argument in defense of injustice. Our own government refers to people that stand up against the injustice done to animals as 'eco-terrorists' because it might hurt the U.S. economy. And while we might not be beaten over the head with canes, I know that many of us have been threatened with violence. And when people to prominent to be threatened with violence speak out, they are threatened with lawsuits for speaking the truth.
And yet, even when pointing out the obvious, we are told that we can't compare the issue of human slavery with animal slavery. Why? Is not the point of history that we might learn from the study of it. The comparisons are glaring to even the blindest of eyes. We need only but catch the slimmest glance out of the corner of our eye to be overcome by the similarities in how the defenders of injustice operate over the course of history.
So lately I have been feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to do for animals and I think that makes it hard to choose exactly what I should be doing for animals. So today's post is just to speak to those of you who are feeling the same way and say let's work together and instead of doing nothing, let's do something!
Like what? Well, you could...
I am really excited to see what we can all accomplish this week!
Be an Animal Warrior... a Voice for the Voiceless!
(see more from Elle in the Elle's Journey Section)
People are always so astonished that Hitler was able to gain the support of the majority of Germans prior to and during World War II. How could someone committing such atrocities have the support of the people. But I would argue this is no different than how the meat, dairy and egg industries maintain the support of the population of omnivores. They use brainwashing and propaganda ('you need protein', 'milk does a body good', and funding the nutrition textbooks and controlling government agencies making nutritional guidelines), they use peer pressure ('vegans are extreme', 'everyone eats meat and that will never change'), and as a last resort they use threats of violence ('I'm going to eat extra steaks because of you', 'I'm going to slaughter my animals extra painfully because of you speaking out against eating animals', 'I'll hunt extra animals because of you', and the beef industry tried to sue Oprah Winfrey for saying she'd never eat a hamburger again). This is the only explanation that really makes sense to me. And people are hiding behind what they see as a free pass to continue supporting the animal holocaust: everyone else is doing it. This is why vegans receive so much hate and animosity. We represent the truth as it smacks the world square in the face. I really don't believe that most people are comfortable with what is happening to these innocent beings. Yet, they continue funding and supporting these abuse of animals. As long as they can hide behind the idea that 'everyone else is doing it', they'll keep going with the flow and assume that somehow everyone committing the same crime makes it less of a crime. Fortunately, more and more people are realizing that just because everyone is willing to support the abuse and murder of animals doesn't make it acceptable. We must convince people to think and act based on their inner moral compass which points towards all living beings deserving to be treated with fairness and justice and not society's broken one. We must truly learn from the past if we want a brighter future. If you can't see the connection between modern animal agriculture and Nazi Germany, you may need to have your vision checked. Somethings are too obvious to conceal regardless of how badly society wants to ignore the connections before their very eyes.
I was told by a Smithfield site inspector (video with that audio included below) that if pigs traded places with us they would do the same things we do to them to us. Yet, I have no doubt that only humans are capable of the cruelty and evil that we do to animals.