by Camryn Parsons

Reading the article “animal cruelty could result in a five-year jail sentence under new law” in the guardian, I felt a mix of emotions. The majority of people would probably feel one. Before reading my article, I suggest reading this one, and discovering what indeed you feel:

England is making progress in the world of animal cruelty. If they create a five-year jail sentence, they will match in law with Australia, Canada, and Ireland. But how truly relevant can this progress really be when it comes to animal rights as a whole?

Everyone seems to “love” animals. But no one seems to actually want to help them. It’s easy to support these new laws and regulations. It’s easy to say you are good to your dog. It’s easy to overlook many of the problems really at hand.

We have a school and a country of people obsessing over cats and dogs. If someone harms one of them, things can often get personal. A crowd will rally behind said animal. But how much thought has this hypothetical put into the other ones? The other animals tortured and killed but much more often ignored…

We are humans and we are hypocrites. We ruthlessly judge China for their Yulan festival of seizing and killing dogs for food. And do we judge ourselves for the same act? No.

I love dogs. Love love love. My dog is my best friend. I’d take a bullet for her (I’m not even kidding). I have a list of all the various types of dogs I am going to rescue when I’m older. Pit bulls, huskies, wiener dogs, etc. etc. etc. You get the point. But I am not unique in this matter. Dogs have a voice through much of our human population. So if you fight for an end to dog abuse, good for you! Keep it up. But there’s a lot of us here fighting for this matter. I’m not telling you to ever, ever, stop the work you’re already doing. Whether it be fostering a dog, protesting against dog fighting, or volunteering at your local rescue shelter, you are making a difference, and this difference matters. This difference is changing lives. But, these are not the only lives that matter.

So I encourage you, whoever you are, to broaden your activism. We are used to being around domesticated animals like cats and dogs, so naturally, it’s easy for us to stand up for them, taking their side no matter what. We are not around pigs, chickens, and cows on a daily basis, so sometimes we can forget the cruelties they face. We can disregard how cows are tortured, how they are artificially inseminated to give birth to babies that are ripped away from them so soon after birth. We can ignore that all this is done so for the production of milk. We can pretend that these babies are either killed for veal if they are male, or abused their whole lives like their mothers if they are female. But to disregard, to ignore, to pretend is to kill.

I opened my eyes when I was seven years old and realized I was young and hypocritical. I suppose the same holds true now – I’m still young and hypocritical. I have seen the truths of the dairy industry and yet still consume those products. So I am not taking a stand saying I’m superior for not eating animals. Because guess what? I am still responsible for the horrendous lives of cows, especially considering my favorite food is cheese. So I get it.