Animals are beautiful creatures; this is a statement that most people would agree with. All over social media, people are sharing and retweeting that heart melting picture of a baby pig while they exclaim: "Look how cute! Oh my gosh, I just have to have one!" As a matter of fact, ask just about anyone if they consider themselves an animal-lover; they will likely say yes. Yet ask just about anyone if they consume animal products, attend the zoo, support the circus, hunt, or purchase (real) leather boots; again, they will likely say yes to at least one, if not more. A majority of these "animal-lovers" are not true animal-lovers. How can you rightfully call yourself an animal-lover when you eat them? How can you ethically call yourself an animal-lover when you attend the zoo and/or the circus? I swear, people will sit there ranting about animal cruelty as they shove a hamburger down their gullet. Here is the cold hard truth: unless you are a vegan who is against the zoo, circus, and hunting, then you cannot consider yourself an animal-lover. Now, before you attempt to argue invalid reasons as to why this statement is false, hear me out.
Since when is a dog more important than a cow? A cat more important than a pig? A goldfish more important than a salmon? The list goes on. All animals are important and deserve humane treatment...not just the select "few" as our society has determined. Every animal feels pain, not just dogs and cats. Think about your pet at home and how much you love him/her. Now picture this: your beloved pet is in a slaughterhouse, just hanging there, killed and waiting to be served as someones meal. Your beloved pet is shot for "fun" during hunting season as deers are because people argue that this is a sport. Your beloved pet is in a cage at a zoo, gawked at all day, and is not allotted nearly the amount of space that they need to be healthy. Your beloved pet is used for show at the circus in which they are beaten into submission. Your beloved pet is now gone so that their skin and/or fur can be transformed into clothing/shoes and sold at insanely high prices. All of these thoughts are disturbing...right? Well, if all of this is morally wrong to inflict on dogs and cats, then why is it okay to inflict such purposeful destruction on cows, pigs, chickens, lions, monkeys, and so forth?
As if all of this is not already sickening enough, let's not forget the fact that individuals and industries either profit off of the harming and killing of innocent animals, or pour large amounts of money into these businesses, allowing these acts to continue. Take zoos for example. People are paying into, and zoos are profiting off of, the abuse of animals. Additionally, people spend large sums of money on meat to eat and milk to chug, therefore contributing to the profit of slaughterhouses, along with various other meat/dairy industries. There are even individuals out there who pay an absurd amount of money for hunting licenses, which are then used to kill animals such as giraffes and elephants. (Yes, this is a real thing...people literally pay to kill animals for fun. This is extreme, and in all honesty, puts a person one step away from becoming a serial killer). I could go on and on. I would love to go into detail on the dangers of zoos, circuses, meat/dairy industries, and hunting, but that would turn this into a never ending article. (It is very likely that I will write one of my future articles on the specifics of one of these animal abusive industries, though).
None of this is to say that I, or any other animal rights advocate, is perfect. Nobody is born a vegan, obviously. I am actually still working toward becoming one. I have been a vegetarian for quite some time and hadn't realized until recently that the consumption of dairy and eggs also contributes to animal cruelty. I am guilty of owning a pair of Uggs, as I had simply been uneducated about the abuse sheep undergo in the creation of these cruel boots. (Obviously, I no longer purchase Uggs and have not in a long time. I am also extremely conscious of the clothing, shoes, and make up I purchase). Of course, I went to the zoo when I was little (what kid doesn't?), but as soon as I was made aware of how animals are treated in zoos, I made a promise to myself that I would never attend one again. The point is, I recognized and educated myself on the prominent issue of animal cruelty of all animals, not just pets. Once I became aware of this inhumane treatment, I made the change so that I would no longer be directly nor indirectly supporting animal cruelty.
It is never too late to educate/inform yourself and make the change to become a true animal lover. Animals cannot speak for themselves and they need us to stick up for them. Please, do your research and keep an open mind. If you choose to continue to consume animal products, attend the zoo, and so forth, then that is fine; that is your right as an American. But if this is the case, then please stop calling yourself an animal lover because you simply are not. You cannot pick and choose which animals lives are important and which constitute to the equivalency of garbage, but then have the nerve to call yourself an animal lover. I can promise that a turkey doesn't look at you in admiration as you gobble down his brother at Thanksgiving (pun intended). Step up, educate yourself, and gain some compassion for all animals.