A Holiday Thought: Compassion Includes EveryonePosted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF's Founder and General Counsel on December 11, 2006
We animal rights advocates are sometimes accused of being people haters. I don’t believe that; I think it’s a myth. Well, okay; a few activists come to mind who fit that description. But, overall, in the 27 years that I’ve been actively involved in the animal rights movement, most of the people I’ve met or worked with have been activists on multiple issues, concerned not only about animals, but also about a wide variety of environmental and human rights issues.
I’ve always liked people, especially children. Despite what I read in the newspapers and see on the evening news, I believe people are basically good. If you think about it, any effective advocate for animals has to have a basic respect for humans. If I didn’t like and respect the people I’m trying to reach on behalf of the animals, I would fail to communicate my message. This isn’t rocket science–humans are smart, not only on IQ tests, but on an intuitive level. If you don’t like them, they pick up on it fast and they stop listening to you in a heartbeat. For better or worse, we are all the animals have to represent their interests and our job is to speak on their behalf as eloquently and convincingly as we can. That means that we must embrace, understand, love and nurture our own species. When ALDF’s staff and Board sat down together several years ago to discuss our closely held values and why we do the work we do, the value of compassion to humans and animals alike was one that we could all agree upon and it is included in our list of core values. It makes perfect sense to me.
Happy Holidays to all of our friends, two footed, four footed, finned and winged.