From Dawn M.:
I’ve been reading your posts on Facebook, and on your blog, and they never fail to touch me. Ever since I was 11 years old and saw a fox hunt on tv (after which I locked myself in the bathroom and cried hysterically for about an hour and a half, until I was exhausted), I have done what I can in my small way to stop animal suffering and exploitation. I have written letters, boycotted, participated in protests (and been made to look insane by the media coverage)…and on.
I am in complete admiration of your continued work to stop the brutality that humans inflict on the animal kingdom, and the environment.
I have wanted to comment so many times to your Facebook posts…and then, I read the comments. Every time you post a blog or a FB post, you are inundated with the exact SAME stream of virulent ignorance. It’s like these people are reading off a cue card. And they have been saying the same things for literal decades. It makes me physically sick, and I feel that there is just NO WAY any of these hunting, meat munching, rodeo-riding, etc. enthusiasts will EVER get it.
So, I guess what I’m asking is, how do you keep your edge? How do you keep fighting against this megalithic wall of ignorance?
I burnt out back in the late 80’s from it, and tried to keep my fight on the down low by simply trying to educate people, one-on-one (it’s still difficult). But some days, I just wonder if it’s just the way things are, and that the world is going to end in a horrible lineage of extinction, pollution, and agony, and maybe I should just say, “Yeah, that’s life”.
I’m sure that having to hear hunters tell you that they are responsible for the conservation of species one more time must make your blood pressure go up 20 points.
I apologize if I’m rambling, but I feel like for all the years I’ve invested in trying to “fight the good fight” for animals, and now I’m looking at the VERY real possibility that rhinos, elephants, pangolins, and orangutans (as well as many more) will actually become extinct IN MY LIFETIME–well, I never wanted to see this day, and it is truly breaking my heart.
Whatever your secret is, Anthony, THANK YOU for continuing. Every bear that gets rescued from a bile “farm”; every pig that isn’t put in a gestation crate; every duck, chicken, and cow that doesn’t end up on a factory farm thanks you, too.
May you live a long and healthy life, and keep your strength and goodness. You are a credit to this miserable passel of thumbed apes that are called human.
Thank you, Dawn! Let me see how I could answer your questions: “How do you keep your edge? How do you keep fighting against this megalithic wall of ignorance?”
The short answer is: With difficulty and ease, depends. 🙂
Here is the long answer:
The first thing I can say is that my love for Mother Earth, for all species (including our own), all individual living beings, and our future generations, is deep, constant and undying. Nothing on the surface can touch it, disturb it, diminish it or pollute it. Based on this, what the ignoramuses, psychopaths and sociopaths say or do can irritate or anger me, but cannot discourage or suppress me.
Second, I have no requirements, expectations or even need for results, rewards or success. So, even when I fail, which happens far more than when I succeed, I am never disappointed. Every failure I regard as one step closer to success. And indeed, failures often serve as the best lessons in life. In this sense, I operate much like an automaton, as programmed. If the programming is to go forward regardless, then I move forward.
Third, according to my in-born disposition, with all the human emotions intact, including love and hate, joy and pain, admiration and contempt, all of which I do feel when I encounter a new or recurrent situation, good and bad, I let them stew for however long them take, then file them into my emotional archive and move on to the intellectual, the analytical, logic and action. If anything, I feel challenged as in a chess game. The worse the opponent, the more alive I feel, and perhaps the better I play. If I lose, I learn from my mistakes, and often win the next round.
Fourth, I guess it is a matter of faith, the faith that whether or not we win a battle, the war will eventually be won, the faith that darkness cannot dim the light, but light can illuminate the darkness. As long as we are in the light, as long as we are light itself, we shall prevail.
Fifth, it is also a matter of patience. In many a demo, the chant “When do we want it?” “NOW!!” rings in my ears. If the NOW does not materialize, many become discouraged. Often enough, and some eventually burn out, if not give up in despair for good. Most of the time, I just look at our work as a progression. I see every time we do not give up as an intermediate victory. The ultimate victory, I may not live to see it, but I know that if we persevere, it will come sooner than later.
Sixth, in most cases, doing something is better than doing nothing. So I do something. And when I do something, I may as well go all out.
Seventh, compassion is a basic ingredient of an ARA, and it is or should be all encompassing, even for the enemy. I want to destroy his atrocity, but I do not want to destroy him. Even if he is a psychopath, he is born as such and it is not of his choosing. If he has learned or been conditioned to commit them, he can unlearn and be unconditioned. Even if he is intentionally evil, Karma will deal him his just reward. Even if I’m stabbed in the back, I do my best to forgive them if/when they show remorse. I harbour no hatred in my heart nor carry grudges on my shoulders, for I would otherwise be eaten from the inside out, and weighed down with unhappiness for life.
I hope these make sense. Of course, endearing input like yours carry me forward a long way.
Your friend always,
Photo of tigress in Bandhavgrah National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India, by Anthony Marr
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)