I really cannot give you a universally accepted definition,
but after reading the words of those for and those against
rights for animals, one shapes an image of that which makes
us (on the animal rights side) think and perform as we do.
"People Promoting and People Opposing Animal Rights"
edited by John Kister, Greenwood Press, 2002, page 133.
One individual's contribution:
"I do recall one very strange incident, though. It was at
the beginning of the deer hunting season several years ago.
I rented some professional animal costumes. I was dressed as
a dear, and we also had a turkey and a bear. We rented a four
wheel drive vehicle. We taped posters with antihunting slogans
on the windows, and placed an effigy of a hunter on the roof,
complete with beer can in hand, orange vest, and arrows
protruding from his back.
We drove around the country, getting beeps, giggles, and thumbs-up
from passing motorists, and dirty looks from the men outside the
hunting supply stores. We knew we'd gotten our message across to
the community. It was a very cathartic experience, and we laughed
as we rode through town.
Suddenly we caught sight of a large buck running into the street
in front of our vehicle. It was a Saturday afternoon, and he ran
full speed into heavy traffic, so he must have been running from
a hunter. Thankfully, our driver reacted in time, but the deer
slammed into the car right next to ours. It smashed the driver's
side window and somersaulted over the roof of the car, landing on
its feet and running off into the woods.
There's no question that the deer was injured, and probably died
of its wounds. All of us in the car started crying. Someone asked
why this had to happen - were we being punished? For me it was a
reminder that although we can have our fun, we must never forget
that the animals need us. There will always be work for us to do."
This passage and that which follows were written by Kimber Gorall.
"There was one dog who looked truly depressed, and a burly man was
teasing him. I told the man to leave my dog alone, and I took the
puppy home. I had recently given away my television, so when I got
home from work each day I had nothing to do except play with "Spike."
A few things quickly became apparent to me. I was the center of my
dog's universe. Given that his life expectancy was perhaps a dozen
years, a single day of my life was equal to an entire week of his.
I felt an enormous responsibility to ensure his quality of life.
Most importantly, though, I began to realize how intelligent,
sensitive, and perceptive my dog was. I found myself reexamining
everything I'd ever been taught about the way animals should be
treated. Inevitably, I questioned why we treat some animals with
reverence and others with no respect whatsoever."
In my opinion, the following link represents the finest tribute
to a companion animal that I have ever seen on the Internet:
http://www.kimbergo rall.com/ spike