is an adaptation of a story called The Star Thrower by Loren Eisley:
"A young man was picking up objects off the beach and tossing them out into the sea. A second man approached him and saw that the objects were starfish.
The second man asked: 'Why are you throwing starfish into the water?'
The first man replied: 'If the starfish are still on the beach when the tide goes out and the sun rises high in the sky, they will die.'
The second man said: 'That is ridiculous. There are thousands of miles of beach and millions of starfish. You can't really believe that what you're doing could possibly make a difference!'
The young man picked up another starfish, paused thoughtfully, and remarked as he tossed it out into the waves, 'It makes a difference to that one.'"
This story is poignant, because it reminds us that while we can't personally help every single animal in the world, we can each make the world of difference to an individual animal by adopting a homeless one. Those who can't adopt can foster. And those who can do neither can volunteer their time at a shelter.
Adopting, fostering or volunteering and encouraging others to do the same is an important way you can help animals directly and immediately.
The environmental movement is failing animals. It's well-known that animal agriculture is an environmental disaster and one of the top causes of damage to the planet - in fact, more than all the cars, trains and planes put together. So the environmental movement should advocate for people to adopt the most environmentally-friendly diet of all: a vegan diet. But it's not.
The feminist movement is failing animals. Industries which exploit animals are built on the the violation of females for artificial insemination, the stealing of babies from mothers, and the killing of females once they're deemed unproductive. Veganism, therefore, should be something the feminist movement advocates strongly for. But it's not.
The socialist movement is failing animals. Socialism is about justice for all. But there is no inclusion of non-human animals as receivers of this justice. The fact is that while billions of animals are tortured and killed yearly for no greater reason than enjoyment, convenience and habit, there will be no justice on this planet. How could there be when the most disempowered of all groups - non-human animals - continue to be exploited in such mind-boggling numbers? The socialist movement should be one hundred percent behind veganism. But it's not.
Religion is failing animals. All religions talk about non-violence, yet they're not talking about veganism which is non-violence in action. The world will not - cannot - be non-violent when the innocent are being brutalised and killed without a second thought. Religions should all be advocating for veganism. But they're not.
Veganism is a way of living, including diet, which supports the environmental movement, upholds feminist ideals, defends the socialist notion of justice, and embodies every religion's call for non-violence. That's a tick in every box.
These are the five ways you can help animals right now:
So why am I interested in animal rights? Why not human rights? Or women’s rights? Why did I choose animals to defend?
Well, I put my energy into animal rights NOT because I don’t believe in human rights or women’s rights - I absolutely do - but because while there are plenty of people who speak for humans, there are not so many (in comparison) who speak for animals.
The next reason I've chosen to advocate for animal rights is that animals are the weakest in our society. In fact, in the eyes of the law they're not even beings. They're just things - mere property, and therefore no different to a pair of shoes or a table. So not only are animals the most vulnerable among us, but they can also be tortured and killed with impunity.
My final reason for choosing to be an animal rights advocate is that animals are treated so appallingly. In fact, nothing humans have ever done to other humans can compare to what we do to animals. While millions of people in the world are being ill-treated, there are BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of animals enduring worse. Animals are the most abused of all the abused beings on the planet.
Writer Milan Kundera said: “Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test...consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”
That's a great point. And as we’re currently failing miserably in this test, I want to do what I can to help set that right, because our fellow earthlings deserve to live in a world that is respectful and just towards to them.
So, in summary, I am against any and all oppression towards anyone - both human and non-human. However, I've personally chosen, for the above reasons, to use my time to advocate for animals.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.