REDLANDS - Animals have a friend in Susan Finsen and Katherine Noble-Goodman, both of Redlands.
The women, who have been friends for almost 10 years, met through their husbands, Lawry Finsen and Stuart Noble-Goodman, both professors at the University of Redlands. It's not surprising that they struck up a friendship, as they share several of the same qualities: both are mothers, vegetarians, animal rights activists and teachers.
"My whole life, I've been connected to animals," said Finsen, a philosophy professor at California State University, San Bernardino. "It took me until I was 23 to become a vegetarian. I did animal research in college and questioned the ethics. I was asked to kill rats at the end of studies, and I couldn't do it. That got me to thinking, `Well, what about the meat on my plate?"'
"When my brother was 12 and I was 10, he announced he was not eating another animal," said Noble-Goodman, a freelance writer who sometimes teaches at the University of Redlands. "I was 14 when I became a vegetarian, and now all of my siblings are."
Both women read "Animal Liberation" by Peter Singer, a book about animal rights and the ethics behind it that came out in 1975.
"After reading the book, you'd have to change your logic if you continue to eat meat," Noble-Goodman said. "My entire family read that book."
"When I read it I asked myself, `Is that \ any different from other exploitation, sexism or racism?"' Finsen said. "I began thinking about it as a philosopher."
Finsen's pets include cats, dogs, turkeys, pigs and more. She is a member of Barnyard Rescue, which started as Californians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It is an animal rights and educational organization, and in the early years Finsen and other members would protest fur and animal research.
"We were in your face, and then decided to change our tactics," she said. "We started rescuing farm animals that came into the county animal shelter. It started with a duck, then the shelter workers became more cooperative and realized I was a sucker. There were two pathetic pigs that they loaded into the back of my Honda Civic wagon.
I looked at them in the back of the car and said, `I have no idea what I'm going to do!' It's been a real learning experience."
E-mail Staff Writer Catherine Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org