Because of vegans, a whole lot of animals are suffering less. Circuses are phasing out wildlife, animal shelters are becoming more popular to adopt from, sanctuaries are on the rise, 8 million people in the US are vegan equating to the lives of about 24 million animals being saved per year. Equating to that much less births of animals in terrible systems per year.
Of course, it doesn’t totally eliminate suffering, animals still die all around us, for the sake of our friends and family who don’t value animals in that way.
It can be really difficult to grasp what we can’t directly change. Even if we spending literally all of time to educate, promote, donate, volunteer etc etc.
We have to remember that all beings are stronger than we imagine. Think of all of the terrible things in your life, but somehow you are here, reading this. You made it through, or perhaps your making it through. But you are present, and so far your survival rate is 100%. If it was any less you wouldn’t be here.
When we think of their suffering, we suffer. They say that people who are being tortured, the most painful thing for them, is thinking what is going to happen next. It’s not certain that animals are always living in the present, but at times it appears to be the case, their immensity for forgiveness, their immensity for compassion towards us despite all ills, their immensity to shift our lives and our consciousness just through their being. There is a video about foster cats who have shifted the lives of inmates after a cat room had been created at a prison, where prisoners take care of the cats. One of the inmates said, “This is the first time that I’ve actually genuinely cared about something outside of myself”, and many other beautiful things were said about the cats presence in the prison. These beings are really the heros of our times. Despite the suffering they may be in, they maintain their propensity to touch the hearts and lives of so many people. We may think we speak for the animals, but the animals certainly hold their own. And perhaps people have a greater chance of listening when they have that chance to connect directly to an animal, not necessarily to us.
Although these animals mostly live in situations that aren’t ideal for them, it just seems that often they also try to make the best of it. I think about parakeets who are kept in homes and cages, their wings clipped. These little birds often maintain high energy, sing and generally make the best of their situation. It doesn’t stop me from doing my best everyday to speak out against breeding animals, or the wildlife trade, but I think it helps me shift the perspective, I don’t think they would want me to suffer for them. Already they are going through this unnatural situation, do they want me to drag myself down for them? I don’t think so. I think we can use our current situation to free our minds, and be as clear and precise in our activism as possible. And perhaps more importantly than speaking out, is acting, and actively creating opportunity for people to connect with animals in meaningful ways. We are in this together, and hopefully a tide of compassion will take over the earth.