A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy

Me and Ingrid Newkirk

Me and Ingrid Newkirk, founder and president of PETA

“A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy,” are the famous words of Ingrid Newkirk, founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She spoke on those exact sentiments when she came to Atlanta last month during her Naked Truth tour. Ingrid pointed out that we’re all the same inside – us and our fellow beautiful creatures – and we share traits with animals, so why treat them as inferiors?

Did you know that fish track time; groundhogs use verbs in their communication; parrots give their offspring unique names that they retain throughout their entire lives; and bonobos respond emotionally to music and can play an instrument within minutes of being presented with it?

Bonobo on Keyboard

Bonobo on Keyboard via http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/07/09/gabriel-interspecies-internet (check out their video of the bonobos playing the keys)

It’s amazing what animals can do! Check out these videos that Ingrid shared with us: the first one shows a bird stealing chips from a convenience store and the second one is a horse unlocking the doors to different stables. I find them both hilarious!

Ingrid encouraged us all to never be silent. She inspired and motivated me to speak up for the voiceless. Once afraid of pushing my “agenda” onto others, I’m ready to step out of that comfort zone and gently inform people about how they can join a major movement toward positive change.

As Ingrid said, knowledge is a gift, even if it doesn’t feel comfortable receiving it at the time. People don’t like to think about what has happened to their meat before they eat it. They don’t like to think that it once had emotions, feelings, a beating heart and, the one that always gets me, eyes. I look my dog, Dali, in the eye all the time and know that she’s feeling something. So, tell me, what’s the difference between eating your dog and the cow that’s sitting on your burger? Or the piece of chicken that’s in your stir-fry? These are things to think about and consider when you sit down for your next meal. Someone once informed me about the impact I had on animal suffering when I was eating meat, and every single day I’m so thankful for this knowledge.

Q&A with Ingrid

Q&A with Ingrid

I’m going to end this post with a poem that Ingrid shared that was really touching.

“Coat with fur
Hat with feathers,
Lobster broiled alive,
Shoes and bags in sundry leathers
Of animals who’ve died.
Hunted, trapped, and torn apart
For me to satisfy
And, who am I?
And what my rank?
That I may live
And they must die?”

Have you seen Ingrid speak live? If so, what was your reaction? Have you had someone in your life make a major impact on you regarding animal welfare?

Thanks to my new vegan friend, KG, for sending notes from the event, which helped me write this post!

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