If you are vegan, you likely have had the accusation that ‘you think animals are more important than humans’. People can get defensive around vegans, so the best advice is to simply respond with love. Vegans tend to be empathatic and compassionate beings, who actually care about all beings and the planet, as a rule. In her book Thanking the Monkey, Karen Dawn (founder of DawnWatch that is an animal welfare news media watch) writes how ‘feisty vegans’ are often ‘made feisty’ by having to put up with nasty remarks and judgements, when actually all they want is to eat their dinner in peace!
She writes that ‘compassion is not a pie’. You don’t just slice up the pie and not have enough love and compassion for another species, just because you love one type of animal. Love is love, you can keep eating a pie that keeps on giving. She also quotes a well-known phrase from George Angell, who founded the MSPCA (Massachussetts Society for the Protection of Animals).
When asked why he spent so much time protecting animals when there is so much cruelty to men, he replied ‘I am working at the roots’. Good answer. Because it’s known that the way you treat animals, often determines how you treat humans (domestic abuse, serial killers etc). George was a lawyer who became passionate about animal welfare, after seeing two horses literally raced to death. However, he also advocated for laws to safeguard human health (against the adulteration of food).
Why Animals Matter as Much as Humans
You think those dogs will not be in Heaven? I tell you – they will be there long before any of us. Robert Louis Stevenson
I wonder if every animal is a spirit. If they are all spirits sent to you? And how you treat them, is what you are. Paul Kingsnorth
I think I could turn and live with the animals. I stand and look at them long and long. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick, discussing their duty to God. Not one is demented with the mania of owning things. Not one kneels to another. Walt Whitman.
Dogs are wise teachers, if we would only cock our heads and listen. Who jumps for joy at a visitor at the door, can’t wait to run outside, is overjoyed at the tiniest gift, plays as if there is no tomorrrow, and sleeps the sleep of the righteous? Dogs! Edward Vilga
How is it that animals understand things I do not know? Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words, and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul. Frances Hodgson Burnett
Let us remember that animals are splendid beings in their own right. Who have evolved alongside us as co-inheritors of all the beauty and abundance of life on this planet. Marc Bekoff
Animals are more than ever a test of mankind’s capacity for empathy. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or some claim to equality. But in a sense because they don’t; because they stand powerless before us. Matthew Scully
Because we have viewed other animals through the myopic lens of our self-importance, we have misperceived who and what they are. Because we have repeated our ignorance, one to the other, we have mistaken it for knowledge. Tom Regan