For most of her life, Marsha Hargreaves recognized that there was something wrong with people’s view of animals as “things” to be used and abused. It saddened her, but she didn’t know what she could do about it. Then she attended her first demonstration, and now Marsha is an animal advocacy powerhouse. Writing letters, sending e-mails, holding demonstrations, and educating people through her group, Savannah Veggies and Vegans, she makes a difference for animals every day. We asked Marsha to share with us some advice for budding animal defenders:
What made you want to get active for animals?
It always made me sad to read about the suffering of animals, but I stayed in the comfort of my chair without taking action. I now understand that sitting around feeling sad is useless. Get up! Go! Do something! For 56 years, I did nothing. Now I’m doing everything possible to make up for the time I wasted.
How does being a part of PETA’s Action Team help you stay motivated to fight for animal rights?
I find great joy in meeting people who share my passion. It gives me hope and motivation to do even more. My first venture into real action was a demonstration against Ringling Bros. circus. I was a bit nervous, but excited about taking a stand. We handed out educational brochures about the horrible training methods and misery of the elephants. We held posters, smiled, and exchanged pleasantries with the circus attendees. There was nothing scary about my first demonstration. In fact, I loved it!
What do you think is the most important action someone can take to help animals?
Stop eating them—that’s number one. Promote kindness and compassion toward all beings. Don’t just sit around and feel sad. Get out there and help animals! Write a letter or e-mail, speak up when you see an animal suffering, live your values. The animals need you. Together, we can make a difference for them.
This post originally appeared on PETA.org.