With regard to Larry Abbott’s letter, “Has Outrage Addiction Overtaken Animal Rights Issue?” [Dec. 13, Xpress], let me plead guilty to an affliction of a different sort. I do not suffer from outrage addiction. Rather, out of an abundance of love and compassion for all living beings, I suffer from the heartache that accompanies a minute-by-minute awareness of human cruelty and the lengths to which some people will go to exploit and inflict suffering on other creatures.
I’m keenly aware of the emerging science on the emotions and intelligence of animals, including those who are “farmed” for people’s dining pleasure. Of the love a mother cow, pig, chicken, turkey, sheep or goat has for her young and the distinctive ways each species expresses that deep caring. What’s more, stories abound of a mother of one species adopting the orphaned babies of another species.
I’m also keenly aware of the joy, curiosity and spirited playfulness many animals exhibit and their committed social relationships. Of their self-sacrificing behaviors and mourning deeply the loss of loved ones, including many times a loved human in their life.
Why are we prevented from going near factory farms? Not only to hide the extreme cruelty from our sight and stench from our nostrils. But also to obscure the cries of mother cows and their babies when torn from each others’ sides. I also am afflicted with incredulity that so many people knowingly avert their eyes to the cruelty their eating habits and lifestyles inflict on other precious beings.
And yet, in this mix of “afflictions” is also optimism and joy in the awareness that the tide is rapidly turning worldwide — often led by the younger generations — in understanding animals and adjusting eating and living habits accordingly. For as Martin Luther King Jr. foresaw: “One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.”
— Cynthia Sampson