Guest Blogger, April Lang (aprillang.com)
Psychotherapy, of which I’m a practitioner, is about change: people changing their habits, their lifestyles, their ways of seeing and being in, the world. Helping human beings become enlightened so they can live happier and more fulfilling lives is very important to me. But I also care deeply about another type of enlightenment – opening people’s eyes, minds, and hearts to the cruelty experienced daily by the majority of the world’s animal beings. Illuminating for people how each day, many of their lifestyle choices end up hurting and exploiting animals, is a critical first step on the road to change. A great way to accomplish this I recently discovered, is through humane education.
There are many ways to help animals. Writing letters to newspapers and corporations, attending demonstrations, rescuing, leafleting, tabling, imploring policy makers to vote on animal-friendly legislation, becoming vegan, organizing fundraisers, are all important ways to help animals. And, like many others, I have engaged in all. But when I discovered the power of humane education, I knew I had found my ideal forum to fight for the world’s animals. Watching the hocked and horrified faces of the teenagers when they saw and heard for the first time evidence of the daily brutality inflicted on animals at factory farms and slaughterhouses, was powerful.
Whether we’re educating adults or children, it’s important to convey to the populous how pervasive, entrenched, and horrific animal exploitation is. While there can never be any guarantee that hearing the truth about animal cruelty will persuade someone to live more compassionately, it’s still vital that the information be disseminated. The truth, while often hard to hear is crucial, if transformation is to occur.
Each of us has particular proclivities and passions and when advocating for animals, it’s really helpful if we can tap into what those are, so we can be as effective as possible in the type of advocacy we choose. While I have only just begun my journey as a volunteer humane educator, I know it’s an area of activism that fits both my mindset and temperament and is one that I will continue to pursue.
Ultimately, the particular type of advocacy we choose to engage in is not what matters most.
What’s important is that we all keep working as diligently as possible to make our world a safe place for all the animals.
April Lang, LCSW, is a vegan psychotherapist and writer in private practice in New York City. Please visit her website at www.aprillang.com for further information.