While I was watching a video of a Portland, Ore., pet-store protest last night, I was reminded of how I felt at the Animal Rights Conference last year.
I felt so good knowing that people across the country -- and even around the world -- are doing what they can for animals.
The video featured the Radical Cheerleaders for Animal Rights, a group of women (and their pompoms), standing outside a pet store in the middle of a mall, chanting, "Rise up! Resist! Puppy mills should not exist!" among other catchy phrases. I give those women a lot of credit for having the moxie to stand in front of strangers and shout for what they believe in.
Fortunately, these Portland activists are not alone. Every day I read about the work of animal activists via my connection to people on Facebook.
A woman in Tennessee makes frequent trips to the city pound and shelter to pick up dogs facing imminent deaths. She then drives them to Chicago, where they have a better chance of being adopted.
Through her Podcasts, Colleen in the San Francisco area has convinced dozens of people, including me, to go vegan.
Vegan Outreach volunteers across the country pass out veg literature on an almost daily basis.
People gather to protest fur, foie gras and the horse-carriage industry every week.
Organizers, like two hard-working ones in Chicago, plan veg*an get-togethers so people have the opportunity to meet other veg*ans. These are a great way to re-energize after being surrounded by meat-eaters every day.
Still others try to raise awareness of animal issues via blogs or e-mail lists.
This list is just a tiny sample of the work that is being done on behalf of animals. It's inspiring to know that while I'm typing in the Midwest, someone else is passing out "Why Vegan?"s in the Southeast and others are shouting on behalf of dogs in the Northwest.
Admittedly my contribution pales in comparison to others'. But to paraphrase Colleen, it's not about doing everything; it's about doing something. Even those who don't consider themselves activists, but who simply choose not to eat meat, are helping animals in a huge way.
But I really admire the activists who get out there and raise awareness of animal issues, those who shake their pompoms in the face of the status quo.
(Photo courtesy of the Radical Cheerleaders for Animal Rights.)