I was once asked why I do not advocate childrens’ rights. Similarly, a family member asked me why I do not like children.
I responded that promoting animal rights does not mean that I disregard other rights or dislike other beings. Yes, I have chosen a childfree life but that does not mean I wish to see children harmed or that I feel the rights of children are unimportant. I have chosen to focus on animals because I have an affinity with them.
Studies have shown that there is a circle of violence: where there is cruelty and abuse to animals, there is cruelty and abuse of women and children. Most juvenile delinquents have started their violent ways by abusing the most vulnerable nearest to them: animals. I have heard horror stories (a puppy whose ears were stapled to a garage door by youngsters) and been around when a puppy is euthanised because he was beaten by youngsters with a brick.
What happens to these children? Our law is inadequate when it comes to protecting animals (we have the Animals Protection Act and I will cover this in a separate blog) and prosecuting offenders, even where they are above a criminally responsible age. If the offender is held criminally liable, the punishment is often in the form of a very light fine.
Animals are part of the most vulnerable in society, together with women and children. As long as we all choose where to enter the circle to make a difference and stop the circle of cruelty from turning, be it with helping animals, protecting women or nurturing children, we help to break the chain and circle of violence.
“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” Thomas A Edison