Kind: The Little Word With The Big Heart

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A young child holds an umbrella over a cat in a rainy street. An image showing one small act of kindness, that went viral a couple of years ago | Credit: Unknown

Whatever way you view kindness, it’s a thing to cherish.  It’s the key to a better world.  Even the small acts of kindness make a big difference.

Kindness has the ability to inspire and melt the heart.  To renew faith in human nature. And to lift spirits in an increasingly busy and disconnected world.

Kindness is also a chain reaction. All it needs is one person to start it. One kind act can impact an entire community.

If we are all focused on being kind, we can create a movement of change.

During Covid-19 who could fail to forget the many, and often, hidden acts of human kindness?  Not just from the amazing doctors, nurses and paramedics in the NHS who worked day and night to help the sick and dying, but to the delivery drivers, those working in essential services and the members of the public who took it upon themselves to support their local communities and those unable to help themselves.  The news was full of individuals, young and old, from up and down the country and all around the world.  We took to social media to share the joy we felt in witnessing unselfish acts of pure kindness.  From a musician serenading his neighbours from his flat balcony, to others launching online art and hobby clubs for children, from individuals helping the elderly to fight loneliness and to hotels delivering free meals to NHS staff, to name just a few.  Individual heroes proving that kindness has a power and an ability to win, against even the most dreadful of times.

It was the true definition of kindness – a type of behaviour marked by acts of generosity, consideration, or concern for others, without expecting praise or reward.  And it was wonderful to witness.

The Voiceless

So often, I find in my world that it’s the act of kindness for the fellow creatures that share our planet, that stir my soul.  The dedicated volunteers who give their lives, or a large part of it, in the defence, rescue or support of animals.  Those people who recognise that animals have no voice.  They are caring, compassionate and unconditionally kind.  They are good people, but all too often I see a good deal of trouble being taken over domestic animals and rightly so, but far less regard given to those that are farmed. Yet the abuse that farm animals receive through the industrial farming machine, makes it the biggest abuse of animals on the planet.  It’s not just unkind, it’s cruel beyond words and all too often it’s hidden behind doors, out of sight and out of mind.

Why this disconnect with the life of the sentient animals who provide our food? How can we react strongly to cruelty to our companion animals, yet seemingly turn a blind eye to the intolerable suffering of farm animals? Is it a genuine disconnect that has developed over time or a lack of information? Scientists have proved beyond doubt that pigs are every bit as intelligent as dogs, yet the life of a pig on an industrial farm is appalling. Mothering sows giving birth in farrowing crates so small they can’t even turn around for weeks at a time. Piglets’ teeth are often clipped and their tails cut off without anaesthetic to stop them from tail biting in the barren conditions. Our current food system exploits all farm animals mercilessly, often keeping them in intensive confinement and treating them merely as commodities. At Compassion in World Farming, as many of you know, we campaign tirelessly to end all factory farming practices.

‘Build Back Better’ has become a slogan to represent the way the world needs to recover from the current pandemic, biodiversity and climate emergencies.  I’d like to suggest that ‘Build Back Better, And Kinder’ would be a much better slogan, not only to help our global recovery to a nature-friendly future, but also to help restore faith in humanity.  A simple reminder, that kindness has the power to heal our own hearts, as well as others.  A mantra for us all to live by.

We all need to be kinder, not just to ourselves but to one another, to animals and to all life on this planet.

In short, ‘If you can be one thing, be kind, to all kinds’.

Note: Philip will be speaking alongside other well known animal advocates, Peter Egan, Marc Abraham and Jill Robinson at Kindfest 2021 on Saturday 13th November, on ‘Kindness and Animals’ at 2-3pm. The festival is an online celebration for #WorldKindnessDay run by volunteers with profits going to charity.  Last year 6,000 tickets sold to 28 countries.  It promises to be a wonderful and very special event.  Link is here

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