For as along as I can remember, my love for animals and my interest in helping all types animals avoid suffering is somehow seen as weak. Somehow, the fact that I love cats, dogs, rabbits, cows, pigs and sheep and care deeply about wild animals and habitat conservation isn’t taken as seriously as my other beliefs in participatory government, the right to free speech, women’s access to health care and promotion of human rights and respect for all people regardless of religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, mental health, or political ideology.
The image of an ‘animal lover’ as irrational or unrealistic seems to give other people the right to disregard our thoughts, opinions and judgements as ill-considered or label our decisions as “just because she likes animals so much.”
Yet the truth is that a spectrum of animals lovers, from dog owners to vegans, are scattered throughout our society and, until recently haven’t been noticed by mainstream society as a force to be reckoned with. But why shouldn’t they? The ideology to protect animals is a closely help belief my many Americans, and is based on our ability to empathize with other beings just like our laws to protect human society.
That’s why I was so “surprised” to see political quibbling resulting from the Obama campaign’s ‘Pet Lovers for Obama‘ that called this sub-campaign simply ‘pandering’ to voters (ref: TheBlaze, The Business Insider). You can pretty much call any political campaign ‘pandering’ based on the abysmal track record that politicians, in general, have on following through with campaign promises (sometimes through no fault of their own). So why is “Pet Lovers for Obama” called pandering and “Women for Obama” not?
I think that answer is quite simply that the Obama Campaign thought of it first. They publicly admitted to Americans that the love you have for animals close to your heart is important, valid and real, and they have confidence in you as a voter to make good decisions.
Whatever your vote in local, statewide or national elections this coming November, please remember that your voice as an animal lover, as a pet owner, and/or as a vegan/vegetarian matters. Remember to vote.