On Sunday we posted a Facebook photo of the magnificent Tucker Cow — a post that included the phrase, “love trumps hate.” It prompted many followers to ask if Catskill Animal Sanctuary is political. The answer is: most definitely. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we neither campaign for nor endorse candidates for office. But do we take a position on issues of importance to us? Yes, we do.
We dream of a world without animal suffering and exploitation. But in America, agribusiness has a lobbying budget far larger than the budget of all farmed animal sanctuaries combined. In a David vs. Goliath world, we have to be political.
Pigs and chickens, cows and turkeys are as individual as you and I, as emotional as you and I, want their lives as much as we want ours, and experience pain, suffering, and terror no differently than you or I. In other words, in the ways that truly matter, we are all the same. This truth is what drives us to extinguish a barbaric industry that inflicts on innocent beings a level of torture and suffering that no person of good will would wish upon a depraved criminal. But the notion of a plant-based nation challenges our institutions, our farmers’ way of life, our cultural and familial traditions. And so our work is, by definition, political.
We know that agribusiness is the leading cause of water pollution, species extinction, topsoil erosion, and the destruction of Earth’s precious and ecologically vital rainforests. It is also responsible for more carbon emissions than all types of transportation combined. But we live in a time when climate change is called a hoax. We have to be political.
Catskill’s mission is to champion veganism, but what fuels that mission is an unwavering belief that all who breathe — regardless of regardless of race, religion, social class, sexual orientation, or species — are entitled to joy. “All hearts yearn to sing,” is how I often inscribe my books. You see, when one’s heart is truly open, ALL suffering is intolerable. There is a line connecting voting rights, desegregation, immigration, marriage equality, and our work to free animals from suffering at human hands. We have to be political.
Like you, we only have so much time in the day. We’re a small staff and much of our time and budget go towards the daily care of well over 300 animals. But our hearts? Our hearts are an endless resource, and we will use them to champion love for every living being.
And so again, friends: may love trump hate. Always and forever.
Kathy Stevens, Founder and Executive Director