Each of us in the animal movement longs for justice for those victims of human cruelty and neglect.
The victims of those who abuse and abandon dogs, of the puppy mill operators, of the slaughterhouse owners and workers, of the hunters, the poachers, the bullfighters, the dolphin killers, the sealers, whalers, dog fighters, horse racers, etc.
We fantasize about the abusers receiving treatment in kind.
But we know justice is a dream, as are our fantasies.
The need for justice is a compelling concern. It consumes our thoughts and screams in our ears. It forces us to evaluate what we believe, what we value, and what is the truth. And it constantly prods us to keep working to reduce the number of victims, to prevent future victims, to try to end as much cruelty as we can.
Ending cruelty is likely an impossibility. It certainly is a mind boggling undertaking. Even if all the cruelty to dogs, cats, whales, seals, horses, laboratory animals, animals in testing, and animals in entertainment were to end, even if we ended all the deaths of animals hunted, animals poached, animals trapped in snares, and in steel-jawed traps, those fished, dredged, gill netted, speared and harpooned, even then, the remaining victims still number in the billions per week.
Those are the animals trapped in the food system. Animals owned by businesses. Animals considered commodities. Each and every one of whom will be killed to line someone’s pockets. The magnitude of the horror is amost beyond our comprehension. It has been observed that a single death is a tragedy, but that a million deaths is a statistic. That truism is based upon our inability to wrap our minds around the scope of horror.
How can we accept a world in which humans murder billions of animals each week for food, clothing and vanity? How can we accept that our friends and neighbors are complicit in the horrors? How can people be so thoughtless and uncaring that they would allow baby calves, lambs, chicks, and piglets to be mistreated for their short lives, and then brutally have their throats cut?
What of those who torture bulls in bullfights? Do you share my hope that the bulls would win every time? But even on those rare occasions that the bull wins and is not killed by the matador, he is brutally killed out of sight of the crowd.
Seals clubbed to death on Canadian ice floes? Whales shot with harpoons by Japanese psychopaths and Norwegian brutes?
Dolphins herded into killing coves and impaled with spears? Lobsters boiled alive? Elephants killed for ivory? Foxes, mink, and dogs electrocuted for their fur? Monkeys, rabbits, and dogs poisoned and tortured in testing?
The horrors are too much to bear. Too much to absorb.
Even animal activists have difficulty imagining the scope of the suffering caused by greed, profits, and businessmen and their hired thugs.
We long for some justice in a world with precious little of it. Some buy into a sky wizard who will sort it all out later, and who will mete out the appropriate consequences for the evils that humans do to animals.
The capitalist moguls who sit in boardrooms while the blood of innocent creatures is shed on their orders. The politicians they bribe and who enable the killing and cruelty industries. The lawyers that protect and defend them, the talking-head conservative apologists who extol capitalism as freedom and the American way.
All are the enemies of life, of animals, of compassion. Of justice.
But most animal activists are resigned that justice will not come, and does not exist.
But justice is possible.
Not through some sky wizard, but at the hands of a revolutionary government. A government which would arrest and prosecute the abusers of animals. One which would exact justice from those who offered none to the animals they neglected, abused, exploited, and murdered.
The best chance for animals would be our working toward that revolution and the revolutionary government which will follow.
The fact that justice could be done is a powerful incentive for even those wary of revolution.
For those of us fighting the Animal Holocaust, a day of reckoning for those responsible is a passion.
And a goal.