Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Question 2: Single Lesson


-I have had the pleasure of reading your book The Animal Activist’s Handbook and have been volunteering with The Humane League here in Boston. From my experience so far I have to whole-heartedly agree at the point in your book where you admit that it is easy to let your emotions drive the advocacy and end up feeling angry at the world for not jumping at the chance to stop something terrible from happening. In order to be a more effective activist, what do you think is the most important thing for animal rights advocates to keep in mind while working for their cause?

I’m glad you found the book useful. It is part of my penance for all the mistakes I’ve made in my life – not only refusing to jump at the chance to go vegetarian, but later, spending years indulging my anger instead of pursuing constructive advocacy that actually helps animals.

It took me years to realize this, but if we really want to make the world a better place, we should look at history. Many people have been angry at past injustices – and rightly so. But the individuals who actually brought about meaningful, lasting change aren’t those who simply expressed their outrage. Rather, those who really changed the world worked from an understanding of human nature and how societies change. They pursued realistic, methodical campaigns. These types of actions are rarely high-profile or emotionally cathartic. But if we truly want to help those suffering, we can’t simply be angry. We also have to be ruthlessly rational in how we use our limited time and resources.

-Matt