Opinion Piece

Making a Difference

By 3 September 2020No Comments

Making a Difference

by Simone McAllister

Whether you walk for kilometres distributing flyers for the next election; or attend vigils and rallies and donate to animal rights organisations; or sit at your desk and share petitions and information from your computer – every effort and action helps.

I’m reminded of the story The Star Thrower; part of a 16-page essay by Loren Eiseley, published in 1969. It describes the narrator walking along the beach one morning and noticing a man picking up one of thousands of starfish and throwing them back into the ocean. Here is an adapted excerpt of the most poignant part:

“There are so many starfish, you’ll never be able to save them all… In fact, this is likely happening on beaches all over the world. You’ll never be able to save enough to make a difference.”

The man smiles and picks up another starfish, throwing it into the ocean, “I made a difference to that one.”

There are many adaptions, but the principal theme is the same; that even the smallest thing can make a difference.

Too often human beings do nothing. We have opinions and feelings about an issue, but we let someone else handle the problem, we assume someone else will. We’ve all done it. ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I don’t know how’. The trouble is, if we do nothing because it seems too difficult or unattainable, then nothing is exactly what we will achieve.

When I feel disheartened and defeated because of the continuous slaughter of millions of animals each year for consumption, I go to this story and it builds me up again. I do the same when I hear of yet another racehorse having a fall around the track and subsequently being put down. And for the greyhounds, abandoned cats and dogs and for the test subjects in laboratories; all of which the pain is unimaginable.

One of the most impactful ways to reduce the slaughter of animals is to become a vegan. Supply and demand dictates that if we require something and continue to purchase it, the supply will continue. Imagine just one person in each household around the country becoming vegan. Now imagine this across the globe. And because they’ve talked to friends and discussed the importance of animal rights and the fact that we do not require meat to live, we can potentially double the numbers. Now imagine these people feeling better from a healthier diet and having a more positive and happier outlook as they no longer consume animal flesh and contribute to their suffering and death.

Joining an animal rights group is a wonderful way to stay informed about how you can make a difference. It connects you with like-minded people and keeps you focused on your purpose. If we bring people up-close with images of factory farms, the brutality of horse and dog racing, the torture of rodeos and the devastation on dairy farms through websites such as Vegan4life.org.au and Animal Liberation Queensland, we are making a difference in an intelligent, informative and profound way. We are saying the torture, the capture, the abuse and murder of animals – sentient beings – is wrong.

It may seem impossible to change how humans view animals – as theirs to eat and use however they feel. But remember, progress results from vigilance. Another way to raise awareness is by wearing apparel representing animal liberation groups. I also have a cute t-shirt that reads “friends, not food” along with some new ‘ink’ that keeps me close to my passion. It sparks conversation and thought, and this is always a good thing.

I shared my first opinion piece for Vegan4life.org.au with my family and friends. I received lots of praise and encouragement, and this is always nice. But the most satisfying response I received was from my friend Yvonne in The Netherlands, who replied immediately telling me how she’s been researching on the internet on becoming a vegan. I’m thrilled to report she immediately signed up to the 30-day challenge. Sharing my writing piece gave my friend
the push she needed to start giving to animals instead of taking, along with ongoing help and guidance; one starfish at a time.

© 2020 Simone McAllister