Desmond Tutu: We Must Fight Injustice to Animals
Today marks Desmond Tutu’s 84th birthday. The South African social rights activist has fought against apartheid, poverty, racism and homophobia, and his campaigning hasn’t just been restricted to humans. His stance on animal rights is also inspiring.
In The Global Guide to Animal Protection, he wrote the following:
I have spent my life fighting discrimination and injustice, whether the victims are blacks, women, or gays and lesbians. No human being should be the target of prejudice or the object of vilification or be denied his or her basic rights. I could not have lived with myself, as a Christian and a bishop, if I had looked the other way. But the business of fighting injustice is like fighting a multiheaded hydra. As one form of injustice appears to be vanquished, another takes its place. Even if the path of progress seems interminably long, we can content ourselves with the sense that injustices to other human beings are at least on the agenda, or mostly so.
But there are other issues of justice – not only for human beings but also for the world’s other sentient creatures. The matter of the abuse and cruelty we inflict on other animals has to fight for our attention in what sometimes seems an already overfull moral agenda. It is vital, however, that these instances of injustice not be overlooked.
I have seen firsthand how injustice gets overlooked when the victims are powerless or vulnerable, when they have no one to speak up for them and no means of representing themselves to a higher authority. Animals are in precisely that position. Unless we are mindful of their interests and speak out loudly on their behalf, abuse and cruelty go unchallenged.
Wise words indeed. To celebrate Archbishop Tutu’s birthday, take a moment to speak out loudly on behalf of animals. From speaking out against animal testing to protesting against the cruelty of factory farms, there are many ways for you to make your voice heard.