“I am sometimes asked, ‘Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?’ I answer: ‘I am working at the roots.’” – George T. Angell
Working in animal welfare, it is rather common for people to question why my efforts and anyone’s money should be going towards animals when there is so much suffering in the world for humans. Many times I have heard people say something along the lines of: “why don’t you help your own kind first, and once that is done we can move on to animals”
One of the things that really frustrates me is when talking to someone about my work, they ask me some question like “if someone held a baby and a puppy over a cliff, which would you choose to save if you could only pick one?” Seriously?! Unless someone is completely deranged and sets this situation up, there will never be an instance where I have to choose between saving a person and saving an animal. No one is going to hold my dog and my brother over a shark-filled pool and say I can only save one. So let’s stop using that ridiculous question of “who would you choose” since it’s pointless. This is not a contest about which I care about more, humanity or the animal kingdom. There is absolutely no need for there to be a choice, and I personally believe the two are irrevocably connected.
I am working to make this world a better place. A place where we value other lives as much as our own, whether it be another human, a dog, or a guinea pig. Yes, there are many horrible things happening in this world, genocide still occurs despite our “never again” from the Holocaust, dogs are still being skinned alive for “fashion”, war still rages on even though we fought a war that was to end all wars, both people and animals alike are dying of starvation every hour, and daily there are murders of almost all species.
All these horrors are connected. They all require us to be understanding and care about something we cannot directly relate to – yes, you don’t look like that woman in Africa and you will never meet her, but it’s your duty to stand up for her when her country tries to unjustly kill her. And true, that cow seems stupid to you so why care that it lives in a factory farm, but we have just tipped the very deep iceberg in terms of understanding the intelligence of other species and even if it’s not intelligent that doesn’t give anyone the right to torture.
We all need to open our hearts and minds to make improvements in this world. I work tirelessly to teach compassion and save lives. Yes, the lives are not human, and some of you will argue it’s less of a life, but human lives are positively affected by my work, too. If we stop killing dogs, we’ll stop killing people. And if we stop torturing people, we’ll stop torturing animals. Trust me. Compassion is contagious.