Note: This letter was taken off of the e-mail list ar-views during a discussion
of the importance of letter writing. Pamelyn was criticized by many people for
suggesting that more should be done and this was her response to those criticisms:
I didn't realize I was going to upset so many of you! Why are so many letter writers
defensive? Do you think it's because in their heart of hearts they realize that
they could be doing more, but feel safer just writing letters to the editor while
eating a vegan muffin inside a comfortable apartment or home?
I don't mean
to say that writing letters is wrong, just that if you had to choose the most
effective way to spend valuable time and energy, I think in many cases it would
be protesting and risking arrest, rather than writing letters to the editor. Not
only would the media be more apt to print the story, but people would have to
wonder why people are risking their freedom for the animals; and they'd be educated
in the process. Human rights were never won by writing letters, even though many
of them were extremely well thought out and well written.
And to address
the assumption that I am looking at people who write letters as the enemy, instead
of people who really deserve it, I think you misunderstand. I do not think you
are the enemy at all, although I'm beginning to think by all the comments, that
you might be your own worst enemy! By REFUSING to look or question what MORE we
could be doing to help animals and discussing the most effective ways we can liberate
them from their enslavement, I think we are patting ourselves on the back for
a job well done, when the revolution has barely even begun. It is a peculiar Western
personality trait to think that whatever feels most comfortable is the best or
the right thing to do. I think it falls under our self-centerdness and self-praise
that is certainly recognized by other cultures, if not our own.
remember the day that most inspired me in this movement, the people I met that
day, and their perceptions of the Animal Rights Movement in America (which in
my opinion were right on target). We were sitting out in the cold, dank weather
of England, by the sea waiting for the lorries to come by. People had driven six
hours or more to protest and block these trucks. They came every weekend for months.
Their were old people with canes holding signs with graphic pictures blown up,
and teenagers that had taken different trains to get there, and again would come
routinely and had been coming for months.
I asked some of the protesters
how they could make the long journey every week, and stand out in the rain for
hours upon hours throughout the night, (these by the way were hundreds of people,
not just a few). They said they looked at it as their duty, their part time job,
(most had full time jobs during the week). They said they wouldn't feel right
sitting at home, they had to be out where the animals were being abused and trucked
off, or in front of research labs, or McDonalds, etc.
I of course asked
"Why is it that in America we just can't seem to get out and do this type
of thing? It's hard enough to get people to drive forty five minutes to protest
a circus let alone six hours every weekend." They replied that they didn't
read much about our movement over in England, but they said that they got a sense
the people in America were fairly self centered and would rather be doing more
comfortable things like going to health clubs, movies, watching TV., etc. (and
I will include in this list, writing letters to the editor, if that is all you
do! ). Did you ever stop to think that if letters to the editor were so important
for attaining animal liberation, then why do we still have the veal crate which
has been banned in England for years now? The people I spoke with couldn't believe
that they were still legal in the U.S.
I say let's look to Countries, and
cultures where there has been greater strides in animal liberation than what we
have attained here in the U.S. and learn from them. England is a great example.
There is always something in the paper on what the militant animal rights activists
are up to with regards to labs, slaughterhouses, live export trade, etc.
very same day in England, thousands of people marched through a town to protest
against animals in laboratories, (which we also had the honor to participate in),
they would wind their way through town and stop the march outside every McDonalds,
Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken along the way and sit down in the middle
of the street or rush the buildings. That is why the groups who do more protesting
and are out there on the front lines, like the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance,
the groups in No Compromise, people like Cres, etc. should be our leaders and
our inspirations to do more.
In closing, I think discussions regarding strategies
we employ are very important to talk about, and I don't believe it is chastising.
It's a heck of a lot more important than complaining about the vivisectors, the
media, etc. Let's get off our duff's and start doing more. I know it's a pain
in the neck to drive long distances to stand out in bad weather protesting animal
abuse and risking arrest. But in my opinion, until we start doing more of this
all the letters in the world won't change things significantly for the BILLIONS
of animals being exploited.
And one last thing; I am not tooting my own
horn because I'm the first one to say I should be doing more also. But we must
push ourselves out into uncomfortable situations. I remember how lonely and uncomfortable
I felt the first time I did a protest alone, in the rain. People were yelling
at me, but then others were praising me. It's better to have one person out there,
than no one, (although it really irks me that I couldn't find a few more people
willing to protest with me), In my opinion, their excuses weren't convincing.
the more people the better; but don't stay home because you can't find anybody
to go with you. All you need is a huge, graphic photo ( you can do this at any
printing place that enlarges photos on their color copier), and a good caption
on poster board. Let's stop praising ourselves for doing "whatever we can,
even if it's a little thing" to help animals. Let's start looking at what
we can do to bring about animal liberation sooner. How about if we all committed
to spending one full day every weekend to doing a protest, or going to a college
campus and distributing animal rights literature? If we can't spare one day every
week to be active in this movement, than I fear the animals will be waiting a
mighty long time to be liberated.