After the toasts, lets get out the elbow
grease. What happens in the new millennium isnt a matter of hope,
a land of wishes and dreams, or a crystal ball type of thing. It is
a practical, almost quantifiable, matter. Every step forward, from how
many new vegans there will be, to how soon Procter & Gamble drops
all animal tests, to the end of the trade in animals skins and
puppy mills, depends on how often we do and say something to make it
happen. Computer programs didnt spontaneously appear in classrooms
to replace the stinky formaldehyde frog carcasses any more than Garden
Burgers appeared magically on supermarket shelves, and Sears didnt
decide to cancel its sponsorship of the Ringling Brothers circus all
by itself. Someone had to say something, write something, challenge
someone over the curriculum, the menu, the store manager, the legislator.
Nicely, or not so nicely. Sometimes it was just one person,
a child even.
When people say they feel helpless, theyre way
off base. The animals are helpless; we arent. We are powerful.
No one will lock us up in a dungeon and pull out our fingernails if
we exert our freedom of speech, our freedom of choice, our consumer
spending power. We have the luxury of saying what we think, of refusing
to do what we do not believe is ethical, and of educating others. We
can freely wave our banners, post our placards, speak our minds, and
then go home to sleep soundly in our comfy beds.
Every campaign now in progress will increase exponentially, depending
on how vigorously we educate those around us. If we reduce our work
to wishing instead of doing, the ripples in the pond stop. Its
that simple and that boring. You know the story about the cat who has
a litter and, within six months, her first litter is having a litter
and within a year, she and all the females from the first litter and
now all her granddaughters are multiplying the problem?
Well, the math works the positive way when it comes
to the lifeblood of our movementactivism. Every single person
we educate, even if they resist the process initially, will inevitably
influence others in their workplaces, homes, and elsewhere. If you sponsor
a billboard about spaying or fur, of course some of the people who read
it will discuss it with others and spread its message on.
We will make or break animal liberation in the next
millennium. This could be the Animals Millennium. The nine billion
chickens and pigs and cows and turkeys eaten just in this country every
year would beg us to make it so. Beyond them, in the seas, in the forests,
in the laboratories and on the fur farms, are many more billions of
dear beings who have only us to count on. Lets make our new millennium
resolutions and make our resolutions count!
Ingrid Newkirk is President of People
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Her latest books are You
Can Save the Animals! 251 Simple Ways to Stop Thoughtless Cruelty and
250 Ways to Make Your Cat Adore You. Contact: 757-622-7382, or www.peta-online.org.