It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to PETA Prime! I am going to be writing here once a week or so-about wildlife, my travel adventures, financial advice, activism, and other important topics. So, I wanted to introduce myself and say, “Hello!”
First, I am a proud PETA Primer myself: I am old enough-and young enough-to know that Jeremiah was a bullfrog and that CCR’s lyrics refer to Lodi, California. I’ve been an animal lover all my life, but my rage at the cruelty of our society took some time to boil over. And boiling mad I am-at the outrageous abuses that are allowed to happen to animals every day, all over the world.
Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been spiritually close to dogs and cats, but I first started studying wild animals when I was a U.S. Marine in Vietnam. It occurred to me that we share many fundamental traits with all animals. We are kin in many senses. I went back to school to earn a doctorate in biology, studying animal behavior in the wild and teaching at universities. After that, I worked as a financial advisor for a major Wall Street firm for more than 20 years.
When I retired, I completed a circle by going to work as a nature guide in the jungles of Costa Rica. The eco-lodge where I worked harbors and protects the exuberant profusion of life in the rain forest. And that’s when it hit me: Life is too short not to join the battle to help our fellow inhabitants of this planet. The truth is that nothing will change if I don’t stand up and fight for what I most believe in-the rights of all living beings to pursue their own lives, to follow their own wishes, and to move, play, mate, and raise their young without being tortured, tormented, or slaughtered.
I was vegan and empathetic toward all animals before my epiphany in the jungle, but it was then that I realized that being empathetic was not the same as actively fighting to save them. Crying inwardly does not change the world. That is what brought me to PETA. PETA walks the walk, changing the world like no other organization can, and it has been doing so for nearly 30 years. Now I have the job of a lifetime with the PETA Foundation’s Planned Giving Department, where I help people provide for the future of this struggle. My job brings together my love of animals, training as a biologist, financial expertise-and burning rage. Where else could I do all that?
I will be sharing many ideas and experiences with you in these blogs, so stay tuned. But more importantly, I want to hear from you. I just told you my story-let’s hear yours. What brings you to the fight for animal rights?