Friday, February 15, 2013

Confronting the Truth

“I don’t believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.” -Gary Larson

This week's Podclub podcast (Here if you missed it) was only one episode of many I listened to this week from Our Hen House. This is definitely a new favorite for me as a Vegan and lover of animals.  I feel like I have so much to learn and what better way to find out the truth than by listening to the witty banter and in depth interviews conducted by the lovely duo of Jasmine Singer and Mariann Sullivan. I feel like I know them after listening to them chat about their wedding day in New York. In this episode they interviewed Dylan Powell, an animal activist who is working hard to end the animal cruelty taking place at Marineland in Niagara.  

It's easier not to think about what's going on. It really is. It's easier to pay the entrance fee to the zoo or aquarium and enjoy your day looking at the animals without worrying about how they got there, where they are going or how they're being treated. I found myself in this position a few months ago. I had an L.A. Zoo pass and I knew how to use it! It only took one day to change my view entirely. 

We had ridden our bikes to the zoo with the intention of finding a nice bench and relaxing in front of one of our favorite exhibits before riding home. On that day, the elephants were finally within viewing range and we were so thrilled. The male elephant was hanging out by himself over in a corner near some chairs so we sat down to enjoy the view. What a magnificent animal! We sat there for at least a half hour wondering why he was taking a few steps forward and then a few steps back. He'd stop only to bob his head up and down repeatedly. I even joked that he was dancing for us. When we got back home I checked the Google to see why elephants bob their heads.  

Billy The Elephant
Help Billy.Org

The second my search results popped up, I knew I had two choices. I could close that window and retain my ignorance or I could dig in and start reading. I dug in. By the end of the evening I knew head bobbing is not normal and how Billy the elephant has a whole slew of people trying to get him transported to an animal sanctuary. Billy isn't the only one either. I continued reading about mistreatment of animals, elderly animals being "retired" in very inhumane ways, how no exhibit in a zoo can come close to allowing an animal to live as it would in the wild and even though we are keeping some species going, they could never survive in their natural habitat if taken there and released.

I never went back to the zoo.

This is the path I've chosen. I want to know what's happening no matter how painful. I'm aware that learning the truth means I have to make decisions I don't want to make. I have to give up things I don't want to give up. The same thing happened when I started learning about the food I was eating or the products I was using on my body. Once I knew they had a hand in harming animals or that they contained toxins that were bad for me, I had to replace them with something else.  

I'm so thankful for resources like Our Hen House and I hope you listen and learn a few things too.

That was a very mind expanding podcast for this week's Podclub meetup. Podclub is a weekly meeting of adorable ears and the smart brains between those ears. Just Jill and Soft Spiral have a lot of amazing words for you to read about this podcast as well. You should visit their blogs now and on other days too. 

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