Rain Without Thunder: A Plea For Animal Rights

Law & Order “Whose monkey is it anyway?” (2001)

A Plea For Animal Rights: Raises the question of animal ownership, and anything that can help people begin to question their own relationship with animals should be encouraged.

Why are we still fighting this? The fight on behalf of animals to not be eaten, or worn, or used for entertainments, or in any way subject to cruelty and exploitation has been going on since at least the time of Pythagoras. A fight that has been going on for over 2,500 years.

Yet, good people are still asking, pleading, begging, and fighting, for Animal Rights.

How long must we fight these same fights… the fight to end human slavery lasted though the Roman Empire, and continues to this day. Eastern European sex slaves and children in Africa and Asia are sold into slavery, that was suppose to have ended in 1833, when the House of Commons in England approved the Emancipation Bill.

Frederick Douglass, USAmerican abolitionist and supporter of women’s sufferage, was a former slave, who fought to end slavery said “If there is no struggle there is no progress“.

This quote was remembered in a piece by Henry Spira, a man who fought hard for animal rights. He made the connection between the fight to end human slavery and animal slavery.

As Henry Spira wrote in Fighting to Win (1985)

If I had to sum up all these points in a single phrase, it would be: keep in touch with reality. Dreaming about how great it would be if animal experimentation were totally abolished does nothing to bring that day closer, and it does nothing to help the animals who will suffer tomorrow and every other day we continue to dream. We need to be realistic about where our society is today and where it may be persuaded to go tomorrow. To liberate some animals today and to have some chance of liberating all the animals eventually, we need to study the realities in a detached way as a guide to action. Who profits by animal abuse? Who holds the levers of power? Who calls the tune?

To fight successfully we need priorities, plans, effective organization, unity, imagination, tenacity and commitment. We need, too, to remember the words of Frederick Douglass, the black leader of the movement for the abolition of slavery:

The editted Douglass quote that was included in that article has been reproduced in an expanded version below, to a provide a deeper understanding of the context.

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”

“This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.”

Frederick Douglass, “The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies.” Speech, Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857

The pleading for Animal Rights will not continue for ever. There will come a point where people stop asking, and start taking. When ARA‘s realise their pleas fall on deaf ears – It will be at this point Animal Rights moves to its next stage.

Polite asking will move to struggle, and the fight will begin.


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