Wow, where to start. I was sitting here watching some random Ben Afleck Christmas movie when a disturbing commercial came on. I think the goal of the makers of the commercial was to disturb me in a slightly different way, but I am disturbed all the same. With a backdrop of a weepy Sarah McLachlan song followed by Sarah herself coming onscreen to make her plea, I was appalled and here’s why.
This commercial was in support of animal rescue and protection. Obviously, I am not against this by any means and even though I am not an “animal person” I do not think it is okay for animals to be mistreated. However, to have an entire minute plus dedicated to telling me about how I can be involved in “rescuing animals from abuse” makes my stomach churn. Kind of like when I was riding in a van in Mexico and had the person sitting next to me say, “Oh look at that poor little dog,” without bothering to see the naked, two year old little girl sitting beside it in the dirt. All life is valuable, yes, but using what resources we have to ensure the safety of a cat over a child is wrong. To think of someone donating $100 to Sarah and her pets instead of putting that $100 toward assisting the children of Uganda to escape being child soldiers, a country where 50% of the population is under the age of FOURTEEN, or about a million other human justice issues is extremely frustrating. I appreciate that Sarah is trying to raise awareness for something she is obviously passionate about, but man, think of what could be done if she would shift her interests or channel her obvious passion for justice toward and even greater cause?
I know that I am probably giving some of you a physical reaction, and I get that. I know that there are animal lovers out there, or some of you who think that animal life is as valuable as human life. I don’t and in any situation if there is a choice between helping a starving child or a starving dog I am going with the child. I mean, wouldn’t you? Even if we focus on our country alone, how can we possibly begin to worry about taking care of neglected animals when we are neglecting thousands of children? There are many in our communities who suffer daily feeling ignored, unloved, lonely and rejected by their families. We live in a world marked by injustice. Sitting back and pretending like it doesn’t exist isn’t an option. I just hope this Christmas, if you are considering giving away some of your financial resources that you might consider the child prostitutes around the world, the daily rape of women in Darfur, the kids in your city who go to bed hungry, or the children in Africa who could avoid malaria by the simple purchase of a mosquito net before giving to your local animal shelter.
Hate me if you want, write a scathing comment if you must, I’m fine with it all. I respect that you love your animals. Really, I do. Maybe if I went out and got a puppy my opinion would change…well, not likely, but perhaps it would soften me to the animal lovers of the world. At any rate, keep loving your pets and the animals of the world. Be a vegetarian if you must. All creatures of this earth should be treated with respect and injustice should be passionately fought at all times. I’m going to continue to buy cage free eggs, meat from cows who spent their lives grazing in the grass, and chickens who weren’t hopped up on hormones and drugs. But I will continue to live as an omnivore, to call those who take care of animals “owners” and not “parents,” and when given the choice between rescuing an animal or a person, I’m going with the person. That, my friends, is just how I roll.