On the holiday that honors the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are reminded that, in his words, “The time is always right to do what is right.” There is no time better than now to take action against racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of injustice, including speciesism. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I believe that.
“There comes a time,” Dr. King also said, “when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” I believe that, too. Advocates for animal rights such as myself have been attacked, ridiculed, marginalized, arrested, and imprisoned for our beliefs, but we continue to stand up and speak out for what is right. Such things are a small price to pay for justice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Most people, when shown how their actions support cruelty and given options, will make compassionate choices. This is how the animal rights movement has all but obliterated cosmetics testing on animals, ignited an explosion of vegan options in supermarkets and restaurants, started a fur-free revolution, and forced circuses and marine parks to abandon cruel and exploitative animal acts.
As Dr. King once said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” For all those oppressed, and that includes animals, it is our duty to break that silence.