This past year was a very productive year for animal advocacy and animal rights!
So many progressive changes came out of 2013, that it is impossible to fit them all into one article. We are thankfully living in a time where we are giving more rights and awareness to animals and their lives. The seeds of compassion that have been planted are starting to grow.
Activism and science have been able to inform and educate the masses and people are starting to change their views on animals. This change is happening on a personal level for many people, but also on a national and global scale as well. In our country we are seeing a lot of progress on the animal agriculture front.
Big corporations are moving away from horrific farming practices and embracing more humane methods. Companies such as Papa John’s Pizza, Burger King, Costco and many more have pledged to move away from horrific practices such as keeping mother pigs in gestation crates. More restaurants are also adding more vegan and vegetarian options along with cafeterias in schools and hospitals. In fact, this past year we saw more new vegan and vegetarian products than ever before on the market.
The Humane Society of The United States reports that this past year they were able to secure 107 new state laws to protect animals. These laws range from banning shark fin products in three states to enforcing stronger protection from animal fighting. The Humane Society is currently in the process of starting a campaign that would end dog fighting worldwide. Hundreds of corporations and schools across the country and globe have also switched to purchasing their eggs from cage-free facilities rather than supporting horrific battery cage farms.
On a global scale we saw Israel banning products tested on animals, Costa Rica banning sport hunting and also closing down public zoos. We even saw India granting dolphins “non-human personhood.”
These are just a few of the many progressive changes that came out of 2013. This change, and shift in how we perceive animals, is only going to grow stronger in 2014 and the years to come.
When truth and education come into play, we can help animals more. We are seeing more undercover investigations of animal cruelty being exposed than ever before. Whether this is from factory farm investigations or from documentaries like Blackfish, the public is gaining knowledge about how animals are really treated.
Now, more than ever, people are questioning captivity and how animals are raised for food.
Social media also plays a big part in spreading the word. When we learn about inhumane and cruel realities that we no longer want to support, a lot us share the information on our Facebook or Twitter pages. The walls are becoming more transparent and more people are feeling a moral obligation to share the truth.
What lies ahead for the upcoming year looks very promising as well.
Even though the year has just begun, amazing new things are coming out that will greatly help animals. On January 3rd, the Cooking Channel debuted the first all vegan food cooking show with chef Jason Wroble called “How to Live to 100”. This show will guide viewers on how to create healthy “superfoods” while being cruelty free.
In New York City the mayor elect Bill de Blasio rang in the New Year with a proposal to outlaw horse drawn carriages in the city. The mayor stated that horse drawn carriages are “inhumane” and that “horses do not belong in a congested, urban setting.” This is huge news especially since horse drawn carriages have been such an iconic attraction in the Big Apple.
We are shifting away from traditions that are cruel and outdated because we are becoming more aware of animal emotions and suffering.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still a massive amount of work and awakening that needs to occur. This progress is just the beginning of a long struggle. We still live in a world that greatly exploits animals. Activists and organizations are just now tapping into this progress and so much still has to be done.
As you read this article a pig somewhere sits on a truck to slaughter, an elephant is taken from the wild and forced into captivity and a lonely monkey lives out their life in a cage of isolation.
The injustice is so large, it is really hard to imagine it all.
Martin Luther King once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
This is an amazing time in history to be alive and helping animals. I truly believe that years ahead we will look back at how we treated animals as barbaric. Animal awareness continues to spread and it is becoming one of the greatest social justice movements of our time.
The time is now to be a voice for the voiceless.
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Assistant Editor: Laura Ashworth
Photo: elephant archives