“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order;
to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order;
to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our
personal life; to do that we must first set our hearts right.”
It is this very concept about which Confucius wrote that is at the core – at the heart - of my brand of activism. I believe, as Confucius implied, it is the individual hearts of humankind that must change to bring change. The human heart must embrace a broader and deeper compassion for all life. Old ways of thinking and “of being” need to change and evolve.
The inhumane treatment and living conditions of hundreds of thousands of animals on farms, in zoos, with circus performing animals, roadside attractions, animal breeders, exotic animal ownership, along with the brutal deaths of animals to fill the demand for animal organs, fur, body parts, ivory, horns and even blood (medicinal and ritual uses) must first be recognized as abuse, and as inhumane, before it can change, and before it will ever end. A paradigm shift in the animal and human relationship is essential.
A new breed of human must emerge out of the greater understanding that indisputably exists about how animals truly "feel" and how they experience a wide range of emotions and pain. Their experiences are as important to them as ours are to us. Their wants in life are much the same as ours. They want food, shelter, good health and happiness. They don't want to be hit, hurt, injured, used and abused. But without an immediate paradigm shift in the way humans regard them, animals needlessly and shamefully suffer unimaginably egregious pain at the hands of their human handlers and guardians. Human ignorance and greed must begin to spur outrage and ultimately be wholly unacceptable by the masses.
I support well designed (and competently enforced) legislation that ensures humane treatment of animals, as well as laws that guarantee rights to animals, but what also must coexist with these laws and regulations are human souls with hearts that will demand humanity and justice for animals. The hearts of people must be strong enough and loud enough to speak for the voiceless; to not silently stand by when animals are being abused, neglected and denied basic rights. No more turning a blind eye.