|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
Coming to Terms with Abortion and Animal Rights
It has become quite the dilemma for us all, hasn't it? The majority of anti-abortion advocates support the killing of animals by eating meat, chicken, and fish. The majority of animal rights activists promote the killing of unborn humans by supporting a woman's right to an abortion. Neither side respects the other's doctrine. Neither side respects the other's principles. Neither side recognizes the perplexity of the spiritual contradiction presented in this impasse. The so-called "silent majority" of god-fearing middle America eats baby cows and pigs and lambs. Yet, they passionately allow themselves to voice outrage at a woman's choice to end the life of that human child growing within her own body. The beautiful children of the animal rights movement are vociferous in their disgust of those who experiment upon, and then kill a laboratory rat, yet, they delude themselves in rationalizing the pain and death that is delivered to a living, growing, sentient human being within the woman's body by embracing her right to put an end to that which lives. To abuse any living creature is to express a belief that the animal has no rights, has no soul. To practice harmlessness is to respect the right of all creatures; those able, and those unable to defend themselves against higher and more intelligent life forms. Who, then, is closer to possessing that abstraction of universal wisdom? Who practices consistency? Is it the man or woman who eats arms and legs from once-living animals, who also supports abortion rights? Or, is it the anti-abortionist who cries when any creature feels pain and experiences death at the hands of a human? Do all living creatures reside in a Darwinian world in which only the strong survive, and humankind's dominance over all other animals morally allows man and woman to kill in the name of pleasure, science, sport, or sustenance? Or, Has humankind reached that point in its physical and spiritual evolution in which no living creature deserves to die at the hand of a woman or man? Hasn't the time come in which 21st century alternatives allow for more compassionate choices? Do I swat a moth? Do I support an individual's right to end the life of a farm, circus, or lab animal, or future human? I once participated in all of the above. I hunted. I experimented upon animals in a lab. I laughed and cheered at the rodeo and circus. I also escorted a college friend to an Englewood, NJ clinic to have her 1973 abortion. For the past 30 years of my adult life, ever since Norma McCorvey (also known as Jane Roe, as in Roe vs. Wade) successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to uphold her right to an abortion, I too supported a woman's right to make that life or death decision regarding her unborn child. In order to be true to myself, I can no longer endorse the killing of any living creature. That also applies to creatures of the human kind. Even little ones whose tiny hearts beat, whose thumbs find their way to fetal mouths, whose brains respond to interior and exterior stimuli. I ask all passionate anti-abortionists to extend their sensibilities to animals who feel the sting of a knife, and whose painful lives exist and terminate only to put a smile upon human faces. Their self-actualization will occur when they adopt a vegan lifestyle. They are halfway there. I also ask all passionate animal rights advocates to extend their compassion to the human creature who is also an animal, and who also must have rights. In non-human form, the animal rights activist would demand justice for that creature. True fulfillment comes with understanding that all creatures are one. Every atom of every cell in every living creature had its origin in a star. Once the miracle of life occurs, once the heart takes its first beat, directed by the most intricate of devices, a brain, that creature has earned a right to live. There is only one tiny island, called middle ground, inhabited by a small minority of people who savor each of life's experiences by understanding the beauty of practicing harmlessness to all creatures. There is a mountain upon that island, called Olympus, where gods sit amused, entertained by the inconsistencies of human hehavior. Let us extend a bridge from that island to the mainland, and nurture the wisdom of that special place to all humankind.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dairy Education Board
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