United we stand, divided we fall

We’ve reised 674€. What’s this for?

l-unione-fa-la-forza3I often think of a sentence my aunt used to tell me. “Simona, take this thin rod by its extremities. See how easily it breaks? Now take a bundle… family should be like this.” This reminds me how connection, closeness and being supported by people who walk on the same path are important. If I see this “family” from a different point of view, the large Italian animal activists’ family, the picture of a bundle is really too far from reality.

The English and American way

It’s true, I’ve always loved and envied UK and USA citizens. I was born with the myth of the big rock bands and groupies, of the flower power and of punk. London and San Francisco were places were alternative people could live freely and have a future; where freedom of thought and speech was granted, where the cultural and social unrest was clearly visible and where I could leave the chocking toxicity of the Italian way of thinking. Unfortunately I’ve never lived in any of these countries but my curiosity for their way of thinking and acting is always alive. In USA they can live their American dream, what about us? What is the Italian dream? Being a football player? Or work in TV? The ALF was born in UK and there you can find the highest percentage of vegetarians, magazines like Cosmopolitan stated they will no more support the fur industry. In US you can find the biggest, extremist and controversial animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). In UK and in US people go to jail for their ideals, they set up important demos, they demand to be heard… and Italians? What do we do? We argue. All the time. For anything. Italian animal right/welfare organizations rarely co-operate and new organizations start every day… organizations that split immediately in smaller sections, just like our Parliament. A friend of mine pointed out that Italian activists denied illegal actions when they did them, even if they were clearly against animals welfare and against their ideals. And yes in US you have Bush Sr and Jr, but you also have Obama, who are our representative? Berlusconi? Franceschini? Bersani? Are we destined to give up?  Are our good intentions destined to fail? NO. But we must clearly see and know what we want to do, what we MUST do and that we do it FOR THE ANIMALS!!!

Let’s roll up our sleeves

When things become difficult, both fisically and mentally, there are some material points I always try not to forget:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about empathy. We need to be able to put ourselves in someone’s shoes and this is much more complicated when the “shoes” are paws and are biologically different. Life is important to a dog, a hen, a mosquito, just like it is important to me. Is it plausible for us thinking that a cat, a monkey or a mouse don’t like and don’t deserve to suffer like I don’t want to? And please put yourself in a bee’s shoes, or in a fly’s or in a sea kitten’s: see yourself drowning or chocking or being smashed by someone who’s bigger and stronger than you and for this reason he thinks he has the right to kill you. We often say snakes or rats or spiders are disgusting, and we say cows are stupid and good to eat… but are these valid reasons to abuse them? How many people you know that are disgusting or stupid? Shall we kill them all?

We are right. We, activists. Are right. Anybody who fight for social/enviromental improvement is right. And we are righter than anyone else because we give voice to those who can’t speak like we do. Men can get together and start a revolution, but animals? We can be both executioners and saviours for animals. Whose side are you on?

We are not omniscient. Since I went vegan the rest of the meat-eating world asks me a variety of questions I’ve never imagined I could reply to. They ask me about cholesterol, high or low protein level, how to raise a cow, how to save an eagle… and it’s CLEAR that I must save any abused or stray dog, otherwise I am not good person. Raise your hand if you’ve never been asked to host (forever) 5/8 kittens because “you know how to do it, you love animals…”. But when you talk about spaying or neutering, they look at you like a killer or like you’re insane because you go against the cat’s nature. Oh yeah! And YOUR nature is to let the cat deliver her kittens and then tear them apart from her again and again, 2 times a year, forever? Is THIS your sanity? No this is not fair. It’s true we have to raise consciousness on others, it is really important, but people have to learn that they can’t wash their hands like nothing happened.

Co-operation is vital. We MUST always remember that we do what we do for the animals, not for us. If we don’t go to a demo because we don’t like that specific organization we hurt the animals, if we publicly denigrate an activist’s work, we hurt the animals. We MUST remember that they come first, not our unusefull squabbles. I’m talking about you common people, not about politician who care about animals only during election period. But you people who rescue needy dogs, who adopt mice from laboratory, who make demos in summer and in winter… Don’t shut up, raise your voice against those who want to lobotomize you with TV and those who try to put ourselves one against the other in a sad war poor vs poor.

Revolution starts in your plate. You love animals but you’re not able to give up your hamburger. And you own a leather jacket but it’s ok because we eat cows. Maybe you are already vegetarian, but it’s difficult for you to become vegan ’cause you love Nutella and icecream (and maybe sometimes you eat fresh fish…). Well, I don’t want to talk about the problems you’ll have eating meat, the diseases you inflict to the planet and to the rest of the world population who have nothing to eat. I don’t want to talk about how animals are killed or treated and how we consider them “things”, there’s so much literature out there that you can easily get info. But just remember that mankind doesn’t need anything to live. What we see as a “need” (except for water and basic food) is a habit. We can give up almost everything we have and we’ll be able to survive. Animals must be equally considered, but we give them a different importance based on our personal cultural scale. We are shocked by Chinese people that eat cats and dogs, but what should an Indian say to us when he sees us eating cows? And what about an Arab when he sees us eating pigs? Read SKINNY BITCH for an exhilarating but scientifically complete reading and if you’re a man you can read SKINNY BASTARD

Inch by inch. I’d really love to do more for the animals, doing demos and exhibitions, becoming a vet, give them my voice, but often I am stucked in my daily life and work  frustration and really really tired. Pus there are so many abuses we perpetrate towards animals, abuses always new and bigger that most of the time I don’t know where to start. How can I solve this problem? Facing it inch by inch and not in its entirety. We cannot solve everything immediately, and it’s really better to spend time for the animals in the long run. It’s really better working for the cause once a week instead of burning out in a month. You can find many books to becoming an activist, for example:

Striking at the roots di Mark Hawthorne

PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights di Ingrid Newkirk

You can save the animals di ingrid Newkirk

I’d really love to leave you with a sentence that sums up everything, a motto like “Yes we can”, but the only thing that comes to my mind is that it’s true that one can make a difference. Why not you?


1 Comment

Filed under animal activism, animal advocacy

One response to “United we stand, divided we fall

  1. mhawthorne

    Great post, Simona. You raise a lot of important points. I agree that it’s better to do even a little for animals and keep going than it is to take on too much and run the risk of burning out. We are indeed stronger if we band together than we are if we fight alone. Keep up the good work — and thanks for getting active for animals!

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