Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most courageous figures in history—and he’s also one of the wisest. His words have inspired countless individuals to become better people. Here are a few of writer Robyn Moore‘s favorite quotes, followed by her thoughts on how his brilliant words can be used to help animals. A good reminder that until all the universes creatures are free.. none of us are truly free;
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
What really matters? Does it matter that billions of animals are suffering because of our individual choices—they’re being exploited for our food, clothing, products, and entertainment. Monkeys cower behind cage bars and have electrodes drilled into their heads. Chickens are crammed into spaces the size of a piece of paper for their entire lives. Lonely dogs sit on concrete floors in barren shelters day after day awaiting homes. Australian lambs have the flesh and skin on their backsides sliced off with gardening shears. Baby seals are clubbed to death. Rabbits are electrocuted and skinned alive for their fur. Elephants are shackled and forced to perform. Whales twirl endless circles in tanks the size of swimming pools. To me, all of this matters, especially when it’s my money that is holding these industries up. So I’m choosing to speak up for these forgotten and ignored animals, through my actions and my purchases. The animals are depending on us to break the silence.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
I understand why people choose to stay in the dark. It’s easier, and it’s true—ignorance is bliss. But for billions of animals, there is no bliss. There is only misery, loneliness, fear, and pain day in and day out. When you consciously choose to ignore the suffering of animals—and by animals, I mean the ones whose suffering is a result of our choices, the ones who end up on our dinner plates; whose skins we wear; whose bodies are cut, burned, and poisoned for our products; and whose daily lives are exploited for our entertainment. These are the animals whom most people turn their backs on. Out of sight, out of mind. But this isn’t a magic show: When we turn our backs, the animals don’t disappear. They’re still there suffering in their cages, crates, tanks, and other tiny enclosures. So before you decide that staying in the dark is better, ask yourself: Who it is better for?
The time is always right to do the right thing.
We can’t depend on others to make things right or wait for laws to be enacted. We have to do it ourselves. If each of us takes that responsibility seriously, we might actually make a difference. Doing the right thing is a pretty simple concept, yet most of us (often including me) often cave to societal pressures and other influences that steer us in the wrong direction. We need to remind ourselves that others, including animals, are depending on us to do the right thing.
MLK’s compassion lives on through his son, Dexter who is vegan. His wife Coretta was vegan for the last decade of her life. Dick Gregory, a fellow civil rights activist, who wrote:
Under the leadership of Dr. King, I became totally committed to nonviolence, and I was convinced that nonviolence meant opposition to killing in any form. I felt the commandment ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ applied to human beings not only in their dealings with each other—war, lynching, assassination, murder and the like—but in their practice of killing animals for food and sport. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and brutal taking of life.
As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, we honor a man who exemplifies compassion, courage, and integrity. I hope his words will inspire others to extend their circle of compassion to include justice for all … including the animals locked up on factory farms, fur farms and in laboratories, circuses, zoos and everywhere else that they sit and suffer.
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
Robyn Moore is a writer, Mother, and creator of the NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Families Meetup group. It’s a place for families to gather and exchange ideas, and where veg kids can have fun without having to worry about what they can eat or participate in. It’s a group of families who are choosing to raise their kids humanely, according to the belief that animals are not here for our use, whether it be for our food, products, entertainment, or clothing.