“Live one day like mine.”
That is the message of recent advertisements for the October 2nd World Day for Farmed Animals global fast… and what a powerful message it is: feeling the suffering of another living being, feeling even just a fraction of that suffering. Indeed, before we can create social change, we must walk the path of empathy. We must feel so deeply for others that we are on the brink of tears at the thought of their pain. We must reach the point where the lines of distinction between “us” and “them” have not only blurred but have dissipated altogether.
So here is my story of feeling, of knowing that I no longer viewed the animals as “them”:
Towards the beginning of my involvement in the animal rights movement, I experienced a moment of empathic connection that I will never shake. One evening, I had seen a photo of a slaughterhouse worker who was wearing an apron speckled with blood. He was standing in front of a conveyor belt, and in his arms was a baby cow. There was a camera in the slaughterhouse, and just as the man was about to place the little cow on the conveyor belt that led to the kill floor, the cow happened to look up, directly into the camera. What was captured in that picture has haunted me ever since that night I first saw it: an innocent creature’s last look at life, so young and full of every colorful emotion imaginable, yet in that single instance overtaken by the dizzying confusion of sickening cruelty.
That night, I wept to myself as I began to realize the immense proportions of cruelty that people of the animal right movement are fighting against. There is, undoubtedly, a long road ahead to animal liberation, but in our moments of frustration, resentment or tired doubt, there is one thing we must always remember to do: feel. Feel for the animals. Feel what they feel, even if only for one day. Such feeling will surely set our activist hearts alight once again and feed our ambition to create revolutionary change.
Indeed, even as I felt the tears on my face, I felt something even more significant in my heart: passion. It was, after all, that moment of empathy and vast feeling that helped me understand what I am fighting for… and that solidified my sweet, stubborn promise to never give up on this cause.
Soon I’ll be feeling for the animals once again. On October 2nd, World Day for Farmed Animals, I will fast in remembrance of billions of farmed animals who are starved on their way to slaughter. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know this experience will only serve to strengthen my resolve to make the world a more peaceful, compassionate place.
So… join me?