Until you live with an animal it is hard to imagine all the personality and emotion that they have. Each one so different from the other. And in most cases, so ready to love and be loved.
I watched a TED talk by attorney, Steven Wise, who talked about the legal designation of animals. He talked about persons and things. He held up a pencil. This is a thing. And legally, it is okay if I break it. He demonstrated by snapping it in two. He then goes on to tell the story of how he is working through the legal system to get the status of chimpanzee's changed from thing to person. After all, their cognitive ability, compassion and emotional makeup is quite similar to humans. Isn't there something wrong about treating them like pencils?
I wonder sometimes about pigs. They are actually more intelligent than dogs. They also have the ability to feel emotion. Yet those in factory farms are kept in gestation crates where they cannot even turn around. An intelligent being imprisoned in a life of boredom and no relationships until it dies.
There is a lot of suffering in the world--both human and animal. And the problem is so big and so systemic that it feels overwhelming.
I liked it that Steven Wise shared that it will be a long fight. And that they are working toward change strategically.
As for us, we can throw up our hands and decide we can't make a difference or we can change our choices. For example, we could stop eating pork. We can select cosmetics that don't test on animals. We can share a smile with a homeless person. We can make sure we don't engage in activities that run on human trafficking.
Every little action we take that relieves suffering matters--even if it doesn't eradicate it all completely right away.
And one of those actions? Well, I'm going to go hug my dogs. Because love is a really strong antidote to suffering. And having relationships with our pets makes us more loving people.