Letter: Why I’m an animal rights activist

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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
Asheville

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8 thoughts on “Letter: Why I’m an animal rights activist

  1. Elizabeth Gordon

    As an ethical vegan, I share Cynthia Sampson’s perspectives on other species and the cruelty that our species needlessly and continuously inflicts on them. However, the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that ends her letter is a fake. I have seen this quote in various social media platforms for years; the ease with which misinformation can permeate and persist is an unfortunate part of our online world. Editors should be aware of this and do their part to prevent it. https://mountainx.com/opinion/letter-why-im-an-animal-rights-activist/

    In any case, thank you Cynthia for speaking up and for being an animal rights activist!

  2. SpareChange

    I appreciate Elizabeth Gordon’s intellectual honesty regarding the quote. Thank you.

    As for the letter writer’s comments, I am still waiting to see a simple, unequivocal condemnation of the actions of those vegan activists who are the subject of Mr. Abbott’s letter, and who have harassed and threatened violence against those with whom they simply disagree. Instead Ms. Sampson provides yet another recitation on her self-righteousness and moral superiority based upon a facile understanding of the ethics of diet and food choices.

    • NFB

      “As for the letter writer’s comments, I am still waiting to see a simple, unequivocal condemnation of the actions of those vegan activists who are the subject of Mr. Abbott’s letter,”

      Sadly, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that.

  3. Feeltheburn

    If you don’t like eating meat, don’t eat it. It leaves more for us meat eaters.

    • Jeremy

      It’s not that simple. Your “choice” to eat meat is harming someone else.

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