Animal Rights Activists



I have (somewhat) recently reconnected with a very close friend from highschool.  In fact we dated… well as much as two kids in the ninth grade could date in 1970-71.   As we began to catch-up via Facebook, emails and phone I became quite surprised at where life has taken her.

The Readers Digest version is that her passion is being an Animal Rights Activist (ARA).  She is also a vegan.  I’ve never know an ARA before and to be honest my thoughts about “those people” have been pretty negative.  After all my total knowledge of ARAs and their intentions consisted of sound-bites and the typical things you see in news reports.  Of course, if you think about it, news organizations usually try to find the nuttiest person in any given group and portray them as the norm of that group.

I have had occasion to interact (via the internet) with some of her co-hearts and pretty much without exception they have been pretty hard-core, rude and vile.  Their interactions  with me left me with the feeling, “wow, if you want someone to see your point of view you sure need to change the way you approach us “non-believers.””  Honestly, if it were not for the relationship I have with my friend and the way she has approached me with this issue I would not even consider changing my views much less consider at least considering changing my diet to exclude eating things with a face.  I have cut back on my meat intake and am still trying to muster the courage and planning skills to institute a ‘NO MEAT MONDAYS” in our home.

I do know that there are some companies who treat their animals as just a means to putting more money in their bank accounts.  I do know that some animals are ill-treated and abused.  But I must admit that I still think that while animals should NOT be abused it’s still okay to eat meat.

Then there is the other side to the Animal Rights movement.  Pet stores that use puppy mills.  I just can’t stand that.  Heck, if there were a protest here I would even consider going out to show support or even join in the protest.  However, my life is such that I wouldn’t make the time it would take to organize and lead such a protest.

I’m certain at this point that I haven’t adequately stated the case for my Animal Rights Activist friend.  That was not the intent of this Blog post.  I just wanted to get you thinking and ask a few basic questions.
So here’s my question.  What are your thoughts and feelings toward Animal Rights Activists?  Do you eat meat?   Do you wear leather products, etc.?  Would you be willing to at least consider adopting a lifestyle of at least one day a week with no meat in your diet?


20 Responses to Animal Rights Activists

  1. krislinatin says:

    ARA’s are crazy, and altho it would only take me a minute to fall over the edge and be as crazy as they are, my God holds me back. Being as we are to love, those people don’t love others….
    no, i dont eat meat. neither does my son.
    do not wear leather products and do not buy them [with the horrible exception of my running shoes with bits and pieces on them]
    i think everyone should consider at the very least, 1 day of no animal products.
    even if ethical reasons are beyond you, the health benefits are enormous!


  2. lawyerchik1 says:

    What are your thoughts and feelings toward Animal Rights Activists?

    A: They taste just like chicken.

    Do you eat meat?

    A: Yes. As often as possible.

    Do you wear leather products, etc.?

    A: Absolutely. Although, I draw the line at leather pants.

    Would you be willing to at least consider adopting a lifestyle of at least one day a week with no meat in your diet?

    A: ……… No.

    🙂 OK, now that I got the general silliness out of my system, most of my answers (all except that first one!!) are the same. I don’t think I know any ARAs, but I am with you on the puppy/kitten mills, and I honestly (most of the time) would rather give money to help animals than to help most people. I also think that the wanton killing of animals is wrong.

    I have a “gray area” when it comes to habitat preservation questions – I think that there are too many “endangered species” designations, and I think that in some cases, the reasons for those designations have little, if anything, to do with the preservation of a given species. That said, though, I do have a hard time considering that some species, like the passenger pigeon, for example, are no longer on this planet because nobody cared. Those decisions should be weighed, but I don’t know who is the best arbiter of such decisions.

    To tie in with your previous post about children and adoption, part of the reason I’d rather give to animal causes than to most people causes is because I think that there are too many people who see animals as accessories, rather than as responsibilities. I also know that sometimes, people get to the point where they can’t take care of their animals anymore, and I know that they must be so heartbroken to let their dog(s) or cat(s) go, but they have no other options.

  3. Joy says:

    You know what a bleeding heart I am Michael so I don’t need to tell you how I feel about animals and how much I love them.

    Do I eat meat? Yes I do. I love meat. I don’t really consider a meal a meal without meat. I’m not going to apologize for that either. I am an adult and this is how I live my life and how I’ve lived it for the last 51 years. It’s my right.

    I can’t stand activists. Whether it’s those who dump paint on people who wear fur or throw eggs. People have to accept people for who they are. Love them for who they are.

    Listen, it’s not up to me to protest anyone else’s choices. If someone wants to eat meat, wears leather or blows up red balloons on Thursdays, it’s up to them and not up to us to tell anyone else what to do.

    I think it’s all very fine and well to give your views to someone ONCE. Then leave it alone or all you are is a nag or an “activist” (who in my opinion are extremists) and I don’t want either one in my life. I don’t tell anyone else what to do and I don’t enjoy other people who feel they have the right to be judgmental or preach to others. People who are rude to you in any way trying to shove their opinions down your throats are no friend of yours.

    • lawyerchik1 says:

      I totally agree, Joy! I also think that those people who dump paint on fur or throw eggs at others for wearing fur or leather ought to be prosecuted for assault and vandalism/damage to property. Amen!!

  4. This is a very thought and interesting post on a topic that I have been thinking about myself.

    This weekend Chris and I went to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky which is the largest natural cave system in the world. The park rangers were EXTREMELY concerned about their bats and maintain a vigorous bat education program.

    It was fascinating because we don’t typically think of bats and animals to be protected but they are the only major natural predators of many insects. (One bat can eat 1,000 mosquitoes A DAY!)

    I definitely think we ignore nature and natural processes at our peril.

    I think the bat thing is similar to what we learned about bees. Bees are crucial to our entire agricultural system, as well as our environment.

    But we don’t really care about bats or bees, or the delicate systems we disturb.

    P.S. as far as toning down on eating meat, Chris and I have found that mushrooms are HUGELY helpful. (Assuming that you like mushrooms, of course.) Mushrooms can get such a robust flavor, it’s not the same of course, but still pretty awesome.

  5. Chris says:

    As a mutual acquaintance and facebook friend of said ARA I was also intrigued by the destinations that life’s twists and turns brings us to. She actually lives nearby and I may have unknowingly waved to her as I passed by a group of picketers outside the local Petco store (puppy mills ya know). “NO MEAT MONDAYS” – why not take it a step further and make it a spiritual discipline to fast one day a week?

  6. thedailydish says:

    @Hayden – we put up a bat box shortly after buying our house. Still not sure whether we have any (it’s up high) but it makes me feel good knowing they’ll have a nice dry place to live. You could do one too!

    @Mssc54 – john and I aren’t vegetarians currently – but we were for many years. Now that I’ve had to cut salt from my diet, i will eat anything i can, and meat is low in sodium. Having said that, we try to eat as much vegetable protein as possible. Meat is expensive, and we are watching our wallets. Beans and mushrooms (thanks Hayden) are great substitutes. As is tofu, if you like it. We make homemade low sodium soup 2 or 3 times a week – which is not only supremely healthy, but is a great way to eat more veggies and skip the meat. As for animal rights activists – even if their style leaves you cold, their agenda & hearts are in the right place. Try to be patient & understanding. And encourage them to do the same.

  7. Des says:

    I think one of the biggest animal rights activists and conservationists is Ted Nugent. Here’s a guy who loves animals as well as eats them. The only difference is he kills what he eats. I think that if you’re willing to eat meat, then you should go through the experience of killing and cleaning what you eat at least once.

    No one ever got queasy pulling a turnip out of the ground and boiling it.

  8. A bat box is a great idea, but I don’t know if we are too close to the road to have one. (We live in a pretty urban area.)

  9. krislinatin says:

    I totally agree with Des, and if more people did that, there would less violence against animals and humans.

  10. Lindsey says:

    Well… Did you know I used to be a vegetarian? 🙂

    I think that being aware of our economy and the effect it has on our planet is a GOOD thing. The meat industry has a lot of pitfalls- but so do a lot of industries. I’m a big fan of not only eating less meat, but consuming less in GENERAL- from meat to toys to the clothes on our backs. Living smaller brings a lot of benefits.

    There are a lot of days I don’t eat meat. My household has no meat mondays, wednesdays, fridays… and we don’t really miss it. A good hearty Marinara sauce doesn’t need hamburger, a great baked potato dish with cheese and onions and mushrooms doesn’t miss the ground turkey, a good lasagna with tons of garlic and basil doesn’t need the sausage. Ironically, the biggest reason we eat that way isn’t that I used to be a vegetarian and don’t really even *like* meat (It’s a texture thing. I can’t get over the thought that I’m eating muscle and it makes me want to gag) but because we can’t afford to eat meat every day. It’s just not in the budget.

    But I do think that learning about animal rights is important- not just because we should be good stewards of our world (did God create chickens to live ten to a cage with broken legs and antibiotic shots to stay alive?) but for a host of other reasons- free range chickens are better, buying local is better, buying from Farmer John down the street helps your community, big corporations are the enemy of democracy, etc.

    Gonna stop rambling, now.

    Interesting post. Interesting discussion.

  11. lawyerchik1 says:

    I was going to keep my mouth shut, as I’ve already said too much ( 🙂 !), but I did want to point out that, whatever your philosophical position might be, there is health to consider. For example, the treatment of iron deficiency anemia includes the following recommendation from the Mayo Clinic:

    “You can help prevent iron deficiency anemia by eating foods rich in iron, as part of a balanced diet. Eating plenty of iron-containing foods is particularly important for people who have higher iron requirements, such as children and menstruating or pregnant women.

    Foods rich in iron include:

    Red meat


    Meat sources of iron are more readily absorbed by your body.”

    Note that last bit: “Meat sources of iron are more readily absorbed by your body.”

    It’s one thing to have a philosophical position that is based on whatever you like, but don’t make yourself or your family sick over it.

  12. Charlotte says:

    Michael – thanks for blogging on this topic. As an Animal Rights Activist I was curious to hear what people outside the movement think. I’m actually pleased that the reactions didn’t seem as negative as I was afraid they might be.

    As ARAs, we need to keep in mind that people like you and the people who read your blog are our “audience.” You are the people we are trying to reach. So your opinions matter, and we should listen to what you say.

    There are so many things here that I want to respond to! I’ll try to pick and choose a few so that I don’t ramble on and on. (You’re welcome. LOL)

    I wonder why Kristina thinks “those people don’t love others…” I find that is a common misperception, but I’m not clear on where it comes from. The majority of my ARA friends are also involved in activism for other (human) causes. I do, however, agree with her that “even if ethical reasons are beyond you, the health benefits are enormous!” Well said! 🙂

    Joy states that eating meat is her “right.” That is debatable, but she does have the freedom to make that choice. There is only one fundamental right — the right to life. And when you exercise your “option” to eat a sentient being (and it is optional), you take away its one fundamental right. I believe that all sentient beings have a right to live a life free from suffering inflicted by others. Animals have feelings. And if we treated dogs and cats the way we treat cows and pigs we’d be arrested. Might does not make right. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

    And I wonder if she sees the irony in beginning a paragraph with “I can’t stand activists.” And ending it with “Love them for who they are.” 🙂

    (Quick note to Chris – we protest outside of Petland, not Petco. The important difference is that Petland sells puppies from puppy mills. And I hope you do wave at us when you drive by. Honk, too! Thanks for your support!)

    Des. Des, Des, Des. Ted Nugent is neither an ARA nor a conservationist. Don’t get me started. But I like your suggestion that “if you’re willing to eat meat, then you should go through the experience of killing and cleaning what you eat at least once.” And I loved “No one ever got queasy pulling a turnip out of the ground and boiling it.” I’m stealing that and using it.

    And finally, to lawyerchik1…
    Foods rich in iron:
    Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
    Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
    Collard Greens
    Mustard Greens
    Turnip Greens

    “Meat sources of iron are more readily absorbed by your body.”

    Ummm. So? Is there a race to absorb iron? Why is it important or significant or even pertinent that meat sources of iron may be more readily absorbed? Are they also more readily eliminated? If you are anemic, it’s going to be a lot easier for you to pull off a leaf of spinach than to slaughter a cow and eat its liver.

    “It’s one thing to have a philosophical position that is based on whatever you like, but don’t make yourself or your family sick over it.”

    You (or your family) are not going to get sick because you/they got iron from a vegetable source rather than from a dead animal.

    “Nutrition” is not a valid reason to end the lives of sentient beings.

    For me, it’s about trying to live a cruelty-free lifestyle. About being gentle to others – people, animals and the planet.

    I was raised on meat – we had meat at every meal. But when I learned about the cruelty inflicted on animals raised for meat, and the horrific conditions that farmed animals live in, I knew I could not contribute to that suffering. There are zero drawbacks to being vegan. It’s better for your health, it’s better for the planet, and it spares the lives of animals that are just as smart and personable as your dog is.

  13. Carol says:

    I am also an AR activist and a vegan. As are most of my family and my friends (including Char!). These folks are not crazies, but the most caring, compassionate folks you can imagine. They are people who have stopped buying the myths that our society has tried to push on us, and are living the lifestyle of kindness and compassion. Healthy and happy folks, who are not afraid to speak up for what is right. How can anyone not want that honest, healthy lifestyle? …. Char is absolutely correct when she says “There are zero drawbacks to being vegan. It’s better for your health, it’s better for the planet.” And the food is delicious, too!

  14. Kristina B says:

    Wow, Charlotte! So well said on so many levels. You are clearly the most well informed person on this blog not to mention the most insightful, compassionate,rational and probably the most healthy one as well. Thank you!

  15. Laura says:

    If you are going to continue to rape, exlpoit, and murder at least admit what you are. Don’t tell me you have a “right” to do it. Might doesn’t make right. Because if it did, then I have the right to kick any meat eater smaller than myself in the face until they bleed out their eyes and ears. You (or I depending on the circumstance) may have the might, but you don’t have the right, because it is WRONG!

  16. Charlotte says:

    @lawyerchik – People get sick for many reasons. Lack of meat in the diet is not one of them. Your cousin may not have had a balanced diet, but if her diet was unhealthy, it wasn’t because she didn’t eat meat. But it doesn’t surprise me that a doctor would tell a patient to eat meat. Doctors are not nutritionists.

    Animal protein has been linked to many cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. It is much healthier to eat a plant-based diet.

    I think I’ll let the “cows in India” remark slide…
    Anybody? 😉

  17. kweenmama says:

    There are actually days that I don’t eat meat, not because I think it is wrong or anything, but because I am simply in the mood for pasta and veggies. Extreme ANYTHING makes me nervous. I think you should live the way you believe, let people know that that is how YOU believe, and then let them choose how THEY want to live, without judging. Just my two cents worth…

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