I want you to think for a minute about your dog or your cat and the love that you have for them. They may even be snuggling next to you right now! What about when you walk in the door from school? I bet they greet you with a wagging tail or a rub on your leg. The love your dog or cat has for you is unconditional. They may not speak to you in words, but they can communicate with you. You can tell when they’re happy, sad, excited, or hungry and when they want to play.
OK, now think about your favorite character from a show or movie or book. Are they an animal? What about that animal character makes them your favorite? Maybe it’s the character’s personality, how they make you LOL, or how you can see yourself in them. You would never want to see anything bad or sad happen to them.
Whether an animal is your favorite animal character or the sweet dog or cat in your home, you believe that they should be given a good and happy life. A life of happiness and not pain.
But what about the animals who are not allowed the chance to communicate? The animals who don’t choose to be farmed and then harmed for a meal. The animals who don’t choose to be taken from the wild or their families and held captive for entertainment. The animals who don’t choose to be bred only to race in front of a screaming crowd. The animals who don’t choose to be used for experiments. The animals who don’t choose to have their skin and fur stolen for clothes and shoes.
Well, I am here to talk with you for those animals.
My name is Dani, and I’m a 12-year-old vegan. Being vegan is a decision to not eat, wear, or use animals in any way for any reason. Since going vegan at 5 years old, I started to connect to animals in a more empathetic way. I started to see myself in them and realize the impact that I could have on their lives and the environment that we all share.
Animals Have Feelings
So, how can we connect loving animals to animal rights and being vegan? The same way you connect with your dog or cat and a cute cartoon character—by seeing them as an individual and as someone who is just like you. Animals feel love, have families, enjoy spending time with their friends, and even have thoughts and dreams. ❤️ You don’t have to talk to a cow to know that they wouldn’t want to die for a burger or a duck to know that they wouldn’t want to have their feathers pulled out for a coat. And there is no “nice” way to do these harmful things.
Animals Are Interesting Individuals
Did you know? Orcas in the wild usually live their entire lives with their moms and can swim up to 140 miles per day. However, in marine parks orcas have been separated from their family and are forced to live in tanks for their whole life.
Did you know? Chicken moms talk to their babies while they are still in the egg. But at hatcheries, chicks never get to meet or see their mom. 😢
Did you know? Mice and rats like to tickle each other and make chirping noises that would be like us laughing. But the mice and rats who are used for experiments and at school for dissection are taken from their family and are often sad and stressed. Plus, the way that mice and rats are used and abused is totally avoidable and unnecessary. There is no way, if they could talk to us in words, they would agree to the pain and suffering that happens to them.
How You Can Stand Up for Animal Rights
Humans are often bullies to animals, and I’m here to tell you there are ways to stop the bullying toward them. There are so many courses of action to advocate for animals and stand up for animal rights.
You can bring vegan food to school and other events, like birthday parties and sleepovers, to share with your friends and family while talking with them about the importance of animal rights and their food choices. You can wear animal rights T-shirts or sweatshirts and put stickers on your water bottle or school folders to start a conversation with kids at school. You can encourage your local bookstores and library to include kids’ books about animal rights and being vegan, like Amanda the Teen Activist by Catherine Kelaher, Bear Boy by Justin Barker, Not a Purse by Stephanie Dreyer, and Chickpea Runs Away by Sarat Colling.
You can create attention-grabbing chalk art around your neighborhood and town. Make beautiful pieces using phrases like “Peace Begins on Your Plate,” “Be Nice to Mice,” “I’m SomeONE, Not SomeTHING,” and “Friends, Not Food.” Instead of visiting a roadside zoo on a family vacation, find a true animal sanctuary to visit in order to support animal rescue and awareness.
Ready to get started helping animals? Become a PETA Kids member like me!