Being an animal lover sets you up for some criticism. It goes with the territory. But I happen to be the kind of person who believes in being as “fair” a screaming liberal as I can be. If that makes any sense. There seems to be a misconception that people who believe in the humane treatment of animals don't care about how people are treated. I don't strictly care about animals — I care about the elderly, children, the poor (and I include myself in that statistic as I have teetered on the edge of extreme poverty, like when I was homeless for about 3 months; and just making it from paycheck to paycheck), any and all groups which may be considered “minorities,” and anyone else who is in a position to be taken advantage of, including animals.
I got to thinking of the time I protested the circus in the late '90s and had patrons shouting at me to “get a real job” or ask me why I didn't try to “help homeless people or something.” In fact, I have “tried to help homeless people or something.” I also worked with people with disabilities for about 9 years, spent the summer fundraising for a nonprofit reentry program for formerly incarcerated juveniles, and volunteered with shelters for domestic violence victims. I was the volunteer special events coordinator for my ultra-liberal church, a coach for a unified Special Olympics basketball team for about 4 years, and a host for people in transition between group homes and independent living.
I also believe in the idea that, when we are able, we are responsible for our fellow man – and animals. Karma, in a way.
I think our society has more than enough beauty and cleaning products. Just because this particular kibble has more cornmeal than the last incarnation does not mean animals have to die. Just because some woman wrote Revlon and asked for a more glossy lipstick does not mean more and more inhumane tests have to be run to create that ultimate super-glossy long-wearing shade. It's absolutely ridiculous.
I believe that a society can be judged on the way it treats its animals. Some people tote around toy chihuahuas in $1000 D&B handbags, while the guy across the street from me beats his German Shepherds with a 2×4.
I think it's wrong to scare little kids with nasty coloring books showing Ronald McDonald as a bloody, evil butcher chopping off the heads of cows. I think it's unethical to compare chicken farms to the Holocaust.
But I don't understand what's wrong with not buying a particular brand of dog food.
I think there are many ways to test medical products and new drugs (as well as mascara, bleach, dog food, and shampoo) without necessarily killing an animal, but I am not asking to (nor will I) boycott a company for coming up with an AIDS vaccine or cancer cure.
I'm sorry if my opinion about any of this bothers some people. It is my choice and I'm not asking anyone else to follow me. My last post wasn't about “why” I thought people should boycott whichever organization or company I boycott, it was just some random thoughts on what I don't, personally, choose to do.