How to Love Animals With Empowering Action

Becci is a creative woman who spends a great deal of time contributing to animal welfare in whatever capacity she can, from stuffing envelopes to going out to educate the public and do protests. Her caring spirit brought her husband Roger onboard as well, and she has a clear understanding of the true impact that animal products have on a personal and global scale.

Can you sum up that impact for me?

It’s such a pervasive issue that it’s a little hard to sum it up, actually. But I’ll say that animal agriculture has a negative impact on so much of our lives-it’s the leading cause of environmental destruction, a massive waste of resources in a world where resources are running low, and a source of unimaginable suffering and cruelty.

You’ve talked about the direct effect an individual – even though they may never see the animal whose life they saved – “you leave meat off your plate, or buy make-up that wasn’t tested on animals that’s one less being that’s been born, and killed, for you.”

The way you describe them as ‘beings’ struck me as quite heartfelt. How do you view human beings and other beings that makes them so important to you as opposed to an omnivore who sees animals as totally different from human beings?

Anybody who has had a dog or a cat knows that they feel joy and fear, as well as pain, and that they have friends-and even enemies. We accord a special status to the animals that share our homes with us, but the truth is that there really isn’t anything that separates them from the ones that we eat, wear, and experiment on.

Tests have shown that chickens experience empathy, that fish can count, that sheep can recognize and remember the faces of up to 50 of their flockmates for years. (They are apparently also quite talented when it comes to recognizing human faces.) Pigs do better than chimpanzees and small children when it comes to various video game tests. Turkeys have a fondness for classical music. Elephants, chimps, pigeons, and dolphins recognize themselves in mirrors. (This is something that human children can’t quite manage until 1 ½ or 2 years old.) Once we thought that tool use was restricted to human beings, but now we know that lots of other animals use tools-dolphins, primates, and different types of birds.

The more we learn about animals, the more obvious it is that in many ways, we aren’t all that different. We can’t justify treating them as if they are.

How is your drawing practice going? What are you working on?

I’m still drawing (mostly birds-I’m studying feather tracts specifically) but most of what I’ve been doing lately is sculpting. I recently finished the cake topper for my sister’s wedding. It was the biggest project I’ve ever done, clay-wise, and it took me a few months. There are definitely some things I’d like to change but I’m fairly pleased with how it came out. Being able to finish it was a mood booster for me and gave me new confidence in my sculpting abilities.

What do you find fulfilling about being an activist- what successes or satisfying moments have happened?

I’ve only been an activist for 7 years now but even in that short period we’ve seen a great deal of change. When I first started out, many people didn’t know that factory farming was an issue, or even that it existed. A lot had never even heard the word “vegan”. Every time Liberation BC has an event, we talk to people who are interested in learning more, people who say, “Wow, I had no idea things were this bad.” For a long time, the animal agriculture industries have relied on deception and omission, but now information is getting out to the public, and that’s what the animals need. Grinding up “useless” male chicks born to the egg industry, separating calves from dairy cows only hours after birth so that we can turn them into veal, and many, many mutilations, all done without painkillers-these things are only a few of many routine, established practices that have gone on for decades entirely unchecked. We still have a long way to go, but the fact is that because the information is out there, people are beginning to understand that there is a very major flaw in the system, and that it is our responsibility to fix it. And so what I’m saying is that there are a lot of small successes, interspersed with a lot of frustration and sadness. We are moving in the right direction.

What would you recommend for someone who wants to make small changes towards becoming vegetarian, or even becoming more of an activist?

I’d say that you should take things at your own pace. If you feel that you can go vegetarian or vegan right away, great! If you’re more comfortable with taking things slowly, you can reduce your consumption of animal products while learning more about eating a vegetarian diet and trying out new recipes. Lots of people find the concept of Meatless Mondays to be helpful. There are so many resources on the web; I would suggest checking out our resources page for a few of them. Sometimes people say that they could never go vegan because they just love cheese too much. To that, we say, “Okay, go vegan except for cheese.” There is such an incredible amount of suffering in the world and the fact is that every single one of us has the ability to chip away at it. Changing one’s diet is a learning process for everybody and some of us take longer than others. I would also suggest that anyone making dietary changes also ensure that they are getting proper nutrients.

As far as becoming an activist, you should go with your strengths. I work on the website because that’s my strength. I am a writer and a research nut, but I’m less confident when it comes to speaking to people. I leave that type of work to volunteers who are good at it. Are you an artist? Make art that reflects your values and share it. Can you bake or cook? Make food for your friends and family, or bring some yummy vegan cupcakes to your workplace. Are you a good writer? Send letters to the editor. And almost anybody can leaflet. (If you’re interested in getting involved in leafletting, I’d suggest Vegan Outreach; they are great people and do amazing work. ) The internet has also really opened up the world for activism. Even if you’re super busy-and many of us are-you can post YouTube videos on Facebook, or send links to articles.

Whatever your strengths are, I would also definitely suggest coming out to Liberation BC’s volunteer nights. We have them every month and they’re a fun way to learn and meet other activists.


Thank you!!!

Visit Liberation BC’s ‘Going Vegetarian’ Page.

Liberation BC

Or visit Katana Dufour for Art & Love-Light

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