Expanding the Circle of

Compassion and Peace

In this time of great grief and violence, many of us go to peace rallies, write to our legislators, and affix the peace dove with the US flag on our windows. We hear prophets of peace and compassion gently exhort us to have peace in our hearts and work for justice for all even when it seems easier to feel hatred and seek vengeance.

However, I rarely hear a call to actually include all in our circle of compassion and peace. The unnecessary suffering and death of non-human beings doesn't find its way into the words of most activists, even though Mahatma Ghandi (the great advocate of non-violent resistance to tyranny) said that the character of a nation can be judged by how it treats the animals.

If "the personal is political," then one of the ways to nurture compassion and peace is to live without causing unnecessary suffering and death to non-human animals as well as humans. This choice can be made every time we eat, dress and choose our entertainment. By avoiding animal flesh and animal products (dairy, eggs), we refuse to participate in the unnatural life and terrifying death that most "food" animals endure. By avoiding fur and leather, we say "no" to the violent death of animals struggling in painful traps, going insane in tiny cages on fur farms or being killed for their skin. By avoiding rodeos, circuses, races and other forms of entertainment which involve cruel treatment of animals, we cast our vote for animals living their lives as nature intended. By all these choices, we add to the compassion and peace which is so sorely needed for all of us.

To receive peace-filled recipes and other information, contact People for Animal Rights, POB 15358, Syracuse NY 13215-0358, (315) 488-PURR (7877), linpar@acmgfcu.net

_Linda A. DeStefano