And you probably also feel great pain at how they are often treated by humans.
Sometimes it’s even disheartening that so little progress is made so slowly.
But there’s good news.
As part of the human race, the more we contribute to raising human consciousness — with respect to animals but also in general — the treatment of animals by humans is bound to improve as well.
This is because raising consciousness is a way to work more closely with cause rather than with effect, or symptoms.
Right now, the way animals are treated is abysmal and this article won’t detail the atrocities. If you aren’t aware of them, but would like to be, the film EARTHLINGS is an excellent place to start. It’s about practices that are typical yet — with good reason — are always hidden from view. But be forewarned, it’s a moving film which may literally traumatize you, like it did me. (You can check out some reviews here. They are compelling.)
Another source of excellent information is the PETA website (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). If you yourself are ever interested in living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, they have lots of helpful information, free kits to help you make changes, lots of recipes, and leads to really great resources.
Veganism, and Cruelty-Free Living
If you do look into going vegan, you’ll find out that it’s not always just about diet (i.e. not eating animals and/or animal products).
It’s more about a “cruelty-free” way of life.
A cruelty-free lifestyle involves not eating or using any type of animal product, especially when the animals were mistreated during processing.
Many of us don’t think about it but this means not supporting industries that promote the fancy leather car seats (or furniture), leather shoes or jackets, animal hide accessories, down clothing or bedding, fancy or beautiful feathers, fur, boar bristles, wool products (including lanolin), and even silk. Some vegans even shy away from using honey unless it’s from a natural and organic source.
It’s startling how many of our household products, from toiletries to cleaning supplies, are tested on animals. Even some of the companies that claim not to test on animals sometimes contract out to a third party who does. Most of these testing practices are cruel. And of course, some of our medicines/drugs (such as Premarin) are derived from animals who are treated horrifically.
There are often times when animals, insects, etc. encroach on us and we have to draw the line somewhere. Again, there are many humane options available now, and thankfully most are available to all of us via the internet.
It may take more time to research and use these methods, but a conscious, kind person will make the effort.
As you read these stories you will see that whenever I was properly humble and willing to let something besides a human be my instructor, these various four-legged, six-legged, and no-legged fellows shared priceless wisdom with me. They taught me that perfect understanding and perfect co-operation between the human and all other forms of life is unfailing whenever the human really does his required part.
~ Foreword to Kinship with All Life, by J. Allen Boone, 1954
So there are many ways we can all play an active role in our own lives to honor animals as sentient beings.
Doing so not only benefits them but it benefits us as well.
A conscious person always benefits from living in integrity, and conscious integrity allows for nothing short of respect for all sentient beings. (Including our fellow humans, by the way!)
And if you get nothing else from this post, get this:
As part of the human race,
raising your own consciousness will necessarily
help raise the consciousness of human-kind in general,
with countless positive side-effects.
And it’s a most rewarding type of activism!
How You Can Make a Difference
Consider adding just one additional practice to your lifestyle that is respectful of animals or will help raise human consciousness with regard to them.
And really, it’s not always even about “adding” a practice as it is merely “substituting”.
And note that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! This is an important thing to remember. So many don’t do anything because they know they are not willing or able to “give it all up”. But that’s not necessary! Perhaps you could be vegetarian one day per week. Or be vegetarian instead of vegan.
Anything at all that you are willing to do is a step forward.
Here are some ideas (most from this article) and resources:
- Practice being conscious and aware (lots of ideas right here on this site!)
- Watch the eye-opening film EARTHLINGS – (you can watch for free HERE)
- Browse the PETA site
- Consider going vegetarian or vegan
- Purchase and support cruelty-free items and products
• those that don’t contain animal products
• those that are not tested on animals << great link!
- Use a humane option next time you have “pests”
- Support any animal welfare group with your donation of time or money (see below for my favorite)
- Read Kinship with All Life by J. Allen Boone (it’s delightful!)
- Read Animals as Teachers and Healers: True Stories and Reflections by Susan Chernak McElroy (also delightful, and heart-warming too)
- Share this article! (Buttons below. Thank you!)
In closing, I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes about these magnificent beings (also quoted in the film EARTHLINGS):
We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. … We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
~ Henry Beston
Thank-you in advance, from all Earthlings!
Great Holiday Gift Idea!
If you’re an animal-lover, and have friends or family who are animal-lovers, consider this:
Animal-Kind International (AKI) is an excellent non-profit, where 100% of your donation goes to their cause; NOT to overhead, NOT to promotion, but directly toward animal welfare.
♥ ♥ ♥
If you make a donation in your gift recipient’s name, AKI will send them a holiday card letting them know and showing the animal you/they helped! Isn’t this a great gift? I think so! (You can see their latest newsletter for more details about this. And don’t you just love Squiffy?)
♥ ♥ ♥
On their site, they show many of the individual animals they are in the process of helping. You can make a general donation or sponsor a particular animal.
They do such good work, I hope you’ll take a moment to check them out.
And even if this gift-giving idea doesn’t ring your chimes, keep them in mind when you feel it in your heart to make a donation to help animals. ♥ (Subscribe to their newsletter, follow them on Facebook, and/or read their wonderful blog written by Karen, AKI’s founder!)
Thank-you! And Happy Holidays to you and “yours”!