If there is anything significant that I have learned throughout the sixteen years of my life it is that love matters; and not the kind of love that you have to force out of your being, but one that escapes truthfully through your presence. If we choose to speak to people about animal rights or an issue that we feel strongly about, “but do not have love, [we are] only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” that frustrates and pours out hatred into the ears of others (1 Cor. 13:1). Speech without love becomes “meaningless talk” (1 Tim. 1:5). The most influential force within humanity is love, as it moves us to rejoice in truth and continue to have hope for a more compassionate and healthy future. There are always going to be seasons of war and hatred that try to overpower the greatness of love, but each day we are given the option to reside within either. If there is anything, this world truly needs it is not explicitly a movement of animal rights, but one that includes a movement of love.
Now, to be blunt, yes it is sometimes one of the most challenging tasks: to love, especially those that disagree, frustrate, or even taunt you on your beliefs. However, how are you supposed to move people’s hearts about your beliefs without a spirit of love being spoken out through your tongue and your actions?
Humans don’t respond physically towards a movement or idea until they become responsive emotionally towards it. The challenge in spreading a movement like animal rights is not just about unconditionally loving non-human animals, but it is about sharing that love beyond humanity. We cannot begin to become emotionally attached to the life of other species until we genuinely start to care about the well being of one another. Yes, that includes people who have made mistakes in the world or for others, which have used hatred as their primary weapon, which disagrees with your beliefs and those you merely think don’t deserve love. All human beings deserve respect and love as do all the lives of animals. This is what the animal rights movement is about, isn’t it? It is about spreading compassion to all animals, and humans lay directly underneath that category, so if you believe in this movement then you must first look at how you love people, all people, not just those that are easy for you to love. You have a choice in who you disagree with and those you want to surround yourself with, but you don’t honestly get the choice in who you love.
Note: Now, there are always circumstances in which human beings act within atrocities that are difficult to speak about, and I am not saying by loving them do their actions become acceptable, but I am saying that without love life is meaningless. Humans are just like animals, we ‘all have the same breath; [we] have no advantage over [them]. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return (Ecc. 3:18-21)”. So, with that said, each is the same, and each deserves mercy, for what else matters more than love?