A few thoughts about Responsibility…

I just watched the documentary “Earthlings,” lent to me by a vivacious & quirky massage classmate–a retired court reporter who is a vegan and an animal rights activist. I told her I was interested in why she chose to become a vegan & champion animal rights. She asked me if I was thinking about becoming a vegetarian. I told her no, not necessarily, just that I was interested in why she had chosen that lifestyle. So the next day, she brought me this disturbing and thought-provoking video to watch.

I have to admit it wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t come away with message that I needed to stop eating animal products or wearing leather immediately. Rather, I came away simply thinking long and hard about any unintended contributions I was making to a sick underworld.

The purpose of the film was to shed light on the fact that animals are suffering a lot of cruelty for no good reason. The images of animals enduring pain & abuse on the streets, farms, slaughterhouses, fur factories, circuses, and zoos, in spite of animal rights regulations, really made me wonder what kind of society I was living in.

Most of us buy without much thought to origins, and discard tons and tons of waste every year without thought. For the most part, we live our daily lives without much intention at all–unconscious living, as Oprah would say. I’m just as guilty as the next person.

We tend to place the responsibility on our government to keep our food, jobs, families, and environment safe…while taking minimum actions personally. Despite our social and evolutionary progress, my fear is that we are still in danger as a species of swarming and spreading over the earth, devouring as many resources as possible, and leaving behind unprecedented toxic waste, carnage, and suffering directed at fellow earthlings.

Some see animal cruelty as a symptom of other larger, underlying problems, and I’m starting to understand. I’m discovering I live in a society that is blind to many personal responsibilities, one of which is the responsibility for treating with respect the animals that feed, clothe, and entertain us.