When people ask me why I’m vegan, one of the main reasons I give is because I don’t want to play any role, no matter how small, in the suffering of living, feeling, and loving creatures. Inevitably, some people say something like “well, they’re still going to continue making beef for us to eat, you know?” Or “chickens are still going to continue laying eggs, so what are you stopping, really?” Um, a lot. And I’m sure it means a lot to every animal that doesn’t have to die just so I can eat it.
Here’s the thing. One person can make a difference. The guy who made the Cowspiracy movie – from his own research, he went vegan and thereby saved (and continues to save) some animals from being sent to slaughter as he’s not consuming them anymore. And by making the movie, he changed my mind into becoming a vegan. And I’m sure he’s changed more minds than just mine. So, he did do something.
During my medical leave, I finished reading a book by Gene Baur called Farm Sanctuary. Again, a man who started small, but who has changed many, many lives, both human and animal, over the past thirty years. It really inspired me to want to do more. So I reached out to them after reviewing their website. I saw that their pages on pending state and federal legislation were from the last congressional and legislative sessions. I asked if I could help them update that information, since I’ve got the skills to look up that sort of thing. They graciously took me up on my offer.
So, as they suggested, I reviewed the information on a few of the major animal welfare organizations and then did some additional searches on my own, for federal legislation. And I found out this week that the information I sent to them was used to update a newsletter being sent out to about 100,000 members and it would even highlight an act that they didn’t know about before I found it, called the SAFE Act. SAFE stands for Safeguard American Foods Act, and if passed, this bill would prevent health hazards posed by consuming horses raised in the U.S., by prohibiting, via interstate or foreign commerce, the sale of horses to be be used for human consumption. I feel good, knowing my efforts made a difference to them, and I hope, down the line, to the people reading their newsletter. (And I hope it will make a huge difference to the lives of horses in this country also.)
So, YES, people, you can do something. The only way to ensure your failure at making a difference is to sit there and bemoan how little you can do, and not even try. I refuse to do that anymore, especially after having read Best Friends: The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Sanctuary. They saved the lives of so many animals who had been abused, or neglected, or just dropped without any emotional thought on the part of their “owners.” As I was reading through it (in just two days’ time), I just kept thinking to myself, I would LOVE to work there and help the animals!! Imagine being around a lot of other people who feel the same way about animals as I do. Plus, it sounds simply gorgeous, as I know many parts of the southwestern United States are. (FYI, in their recent edition of Best Friends Magazine, they discuss how important it is to contact your state legislatures about animal welfare issues. See page 16.)
Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the MA Humane Lobby Day. One of the speakers talked about a bill that had been introduced this session called “A Bill to Protect Puppies and Kittens.” Think of that title. As she said (and I paraphrase), “who in their right mind can vote against a bill that aims to protect puppies and kittens??”” Well played, ma’am, well played. 🙂
And if you still think that you can’t do something, well, look at what the power of people in some of our state legislatures can do. Don’t take my word for it – check out this clip of John Oliver from his show Last Week Tonight.
And finally, I’ll point you back to a post I wrote last year about a movie called Opening Our Eyes. It’s about what individuals have done in various parts of the world and how their efforts have changed the lives of so many over time. You just have to MAKE the decision that, YES, YOU CAN make a difference in this world. Things may seem depressing some days – I’m not immune to it. Some days, after seeing the news, I wonder “what in the hell is wrong with this world??!!” But then, I think, if we all just give up, then it will all go to hell. So, we can’t let that happen. Don’t let other people’s fears project onto you and keep you from doing something. I’m not. It’s why I am willing to take the steps I’m taking to change the course of my life and make the world a better place for animals. Because every little bit helps. (And if ever I forget that or doubt myself, I look around at my furballs and know better.)
Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone! If you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe, or drop me a line below in the comments. Thanks for reading, as always!
4 thoughts on “If you think you can’t, you won’t. So, just do it.”
“To make a difference in the world, it only takes one optimistic person, who can gather millions of people to make the change.” – Gia Russell
You are making a difference Terri! Keep doing your thing despite what others make say.
Thank you, thank you, Kelvin. I am planning on doing just that.
Great post! I am inspired to do more and to make a difference everyday, no matter how small it seems. Your explanation for being vegan is true. I would like to see those same people that argue against it have to kill the animals they eat. Wouldn’t happen. They all love to push those terrible facts to the back of their minds. But I have news for them, it’s still there. The terrible things are still happening to those defenseless animals, and therefore happening to them, whether they face it or not. We are all in this thing together. It’s like smokers. Even though they know it is the nastiest habit in the world and every cigarette is killing them, they continue to deny, deny, deny… We will make a difference.
Yes, I think there is a lot of “willfull ignorance” in this world – if I don’t think about it happening, it’ll all be ok. But it won’t. I think we all need to find our way to communicate about it, too – some people prefer the more direct approach – I prefer to try to educate people where I can. That’s why I want to be hands on with animals so I can show people what they can do and are capable of, and how much they enrich our lives.