Author unknown, January 8, 2020 Ecovegan Spirit
I was moved to tears by this video and still am every time I remember it.
It shows a woman, Toni Doherty, in Australia rescuing a burned and distressed koala from the bushfires.
Sadly, that koala, who was later named Lewis, had to be put to sleep in a koala hospital due to the severity of his burns.
This is just one instance captured of the terrible desolation, panic, trauma, and suffering that the countless animals who have been caught in these fires endure before dying.
I grieve about this catastrophic bushfire crisis that does not yet see the end in sight. As of this writing, the bushfires have killed at least 24 people. They have destroyed more than 1500 homes, and the total area burned is estimated to be at least 12.35 million acres.
It is estimated that one billion animals have been killed in these fires and tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around a tragedy of this magnitude.
Not as disseminated and as common knowledge as the certainty that these unprecedented fires are caused by the climate crisis, these manifestations of the climate emergency are, in turn, directly linked to animal agriculture. In fact, animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change.
The relationship between animal agriculture and the climate crisis is explained here quite well and succinctly by abolitionist vegan, Linda McKenzie, who cites several reliable sources to highlight why veganism is key in attenuating the climate emergency.
Of course, there is no difference between the one billion animals killed in these fires and the many billions of animals killed every year for food.
Assuming the woman who rescued the koala is not vegan, she risked her life to save someone in distress who is no different from the animals she treats as mere things by eating them every day.
Like any other nonvegan, she cares for some animals while supporting the exploitation of others who are in no way morally different, thus fueling the demand for the products of needless suffering and death.
To be clear, I commend Toni for rescuing little Lewis and all who are doing everything they can in Australia to save as many animals as possible from dying in these fires.
The bravery and selflessness that she displayed by risking her life to save Lewis from being burned alive move me to tears of grief but also hope.
Despite the horrendous violence we humans are committing against the sentient beings of this planet by either killing them directly or destroying their habitats, be it through the human-created climate crisis or other ways, we are also capable of great acts of love, nobleness, and justice for others, human and nonhuman. It is that part of ourselves that we must connect with if we are to act as mature moral beings on this earth, never mind survive at all.
If you, dear reader, are nonvegan and are, too, disturbed and deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of little Lewis and the one billion animals in Australia who perished in these bushfires caused by the climate breakdown, I urge you to please go vegan now.
It makes no sense to care about some animals while treating others as mere things.
There is no justification for using domesticated nonhumans for food, clothing or any other purpose.
All animals deserve to live in peace and be recognized for the nonhuman persons they are. And recognizing the moral personhood of nonhuman animals means not just helping to the extent possible those in danger, but at the very least, going vegan.
At this point, we must shift to veganism not just to act in a morally coherent manner towards nonhumans and respect their fundamental right not to be used as a mere resource.
That is, we are committed to veganism not only to act in alignment with basic fairness as moral beings towards nonhuman animals, (which is no small thing for leading an ethical life) but to heal the climate emergency that we are causing, in large part, by our immoral acts of animal exploitation.
My heart goes out to all humans and nonhuman animals in Australia.
I cannot find the words to express how deeply saddened I am that they are going through this ordeal or even begin to grasp the extent of their suffering and this crisis.
It is on us to do everything in our power to change and live in this world in a way that is life-respecting and life-affirming. This, at the very minimum, means going vegan.