When I interviewed for the Humane Education program, the director asked me how I would deal with coping with some of the information I would learn about. How would I keep my spirits up when some of what I will read and see is the sort of thing that most people would turn their eyes away from, like the ASPCA commercial that has Sarah McLachlan’s song, “Angel” playing in the background?
To be honest, it’s been hard sometimes. Luckily, one of my coworkers went completely vegan at the beginning of the year so I have someone else to talk to about the whole factory farming thing and why we have both gone vegan. With her, I don’t have to hear “I’ll never be able to NOT eat meat,” or “Why don’t you eat dairy? The cow has to give milk and it’s not like they’re killing her for the milk.” She “gets it” when I say that I don’t want to be part of causing any animal pain, and she doesn’t look at me like I’m nuts when I say that I’m considering feeding my dogs a vegan diet such as V-Dog.
It can be kind of depressing (or maybe disheartening is a better word) to see what is happening to so many animals every day and know you can’t stop all of it. Add to that the quandaries you find yourself in, trying to figure out how to best spread the message about becoming vegan or vegetarian, or how our climate is changing every day, or why it’s better to adopt an animal or rescue one off of the streets instead of buying one from a breeder, thereby encouraging the use of puppy mills or the existence of backyard breeders. Some days, you wish you could still be ignorant of a lot of the pain and suffering that animals go through for humans. But deep down, you know it’s better to be awake and aware, than to not know what really goes on behind slaughterhouse walls.
So, you push through things and you watch or see images that hurt your heart. But you do it because the animals need someone to be their witness. Someone to be their mouthpiece. I also tell myself that my brief suffering of watching the event is nothing compared to having actually gone through it.
I’ve found that I have needed to spend some time out in the sun and a lot of time holding Snuggles close to me, especially when watching documentary films like The Witness or Earthlings. I’ve also found writing in my journal to be so helpful in guiding me through the crazy maze of my thoughts. Posting on here has been cathartic too.
I try to not beat myself up for having eaten animals and related products in the past, or for having worn wool and used products that involved animal testing. That was when I didn’t know better. All I can do is help the animals now, going forward, both by my own actions and lifestyle choices and by writing posts like this one from January. (In case you want to see more animal issues awareness posts of mine, look here. And for other posts about my love for animals, look here. Of course, there is some overlap.) In case you are wondering, yes, I still have plans to make lots of updates to this website and making changes to incorporate suggestions that some of you generously offered in response to my post of last December when I requested input from you, my readers!
Last night, I came across a job board called VeganJobs.com. You have no idea how excited that made me! These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been spinning circles, trying to figure out how to earn a living wage while still working in an animal-related job. Unless you are the executive director of a shelter or sanctuary, the jobs are usually very low-paying and as I have my student loans, I can’t afford to take a job at any less than what I am now. It’s hard enough at my current salary level.
It was on VeganJobs.com that I came across the website, Bite Size Vegan and her corresponding YouTube channel. She has so many educational videos on her channel, and many can be shown to kids or young adults. I want to help spread the word about the incredible work she is doing so I am sharing it here. Please go give her some love!
My last few posts have been longer than normal, so I’ll stop this one here today. Today, I’m feeling more upbeat and hopeful about things. I may not be chosen for the jobs I’ve applied for but now I know there are jobs out there that I would love to do and for which I feel qualified. There is light out there at the end of the tunnel.
As always, thank you for reading. Please share if you know someone who you think can benefit from reading it. And as always, comment if you have any thoughts!