Like it or not, we are all being called upon to answer for the excesses of our society. My 401(k) plan has been downgraded, I think, to a 201(k) or maybe even a 101(k). My IRA is now my ira. And who knows how long the global economy will be in the tank? Not I, although in tough times like these, I do know who gets the short end of the stick. It’s not the rich people or poor people, old or young, black or white. It’s animals who usually fare worst of all.
This economic setback has produced some disheartening news about how animals are faring. Many animals who were people’s companions are being left in foreclosed houses to die of starvation. One recent case included 42 cats and 3 dogs who were left behind when their owners were forced to move. Animal shelters are swamped with those whose guardians have been forced to downsize and can no longer afford to keep them, and animals who are being dropped off are often ill because of poor nutrition and a lack of veterinary care. Horses are being abandoned by the side of the road. It goes on. Wherever animals are forced to live in abusive situations, we can only expect it to get worse. Individuals and businesses are cutting back to the essentials for themselves, scrimping on food, shelter, and care for the animals who depend on them. People are making harder choices about their food too. Is it worth paying extra for cage-free eggs or free-roaming chicken? Can they afford compassion? On the positive side, the cost savings of a vegan diet are more pronounced than before: Soybean prices have collapsed even more than the stock market. My financial advice: Go vegan!
We are seeing something very special happen as well. Out of adversity comes opportunity, and we are seeing extraordinary people taking on this daunting challenge to save animals. Many people I know are putting in extra time helping out at their local animal shelters and redoubling their efforts to personally assist animals in need wherever they find them. PETA’s donors are an extraordinary lot, because they think not only about coping with their own difficulties but also about helping animals, who are even more desperate.
In addition to hands-on help, there are financial actions that we should all be taking to make sure that animals and those who fight for them survive these trying times. Let’s make our money speak for us and make our spending patterns reflect our values by being compassionate and cruelty-free. And it is more important than ever to support the charities that are fighting the hardest for what we stand for. I personally support PETA because I think that it delivers the biggest bang for the buck. No other group in the world makes a bigger impact for animals per dollar donated. And I’m checking the paperwork on my financial accounts and legal documents to make sure that they are in good order to benefit animals for generations to come. I join the many PETA supporters who are ensuring that we will continue to shine light onto the darkest corners of our society where animals suffer. We will indeed let the sunshine in.