Living a Loving Life
On 11th and 12th May, we will be hosting a very special ‘Extinction and Regeneration’ conference in London www.extinctionconference.com.
As the conference approaches, Philip will be sharing a number of guest blogs from speakers and people of note. The first such blog is written by Joyce D’Silva, our Ambassador Emeritus who was also Chief Executive of Compassion from 1991 – 2005.
Joyce played a key role in achieving the UK ban on sow stalls in the nineties and in getting recognition of animal sentience enshrined in the European Union Treaty. She now speaks and publishes widely on the welfare of farm animals.
Most of us see ourselves as fundamentally good and kind people and we often do kind and loving things for others. We tell ourselves that we care for the poor, we love animals and we’re recycling, washing our clothes at lower temperatures, buying organic and free-range animal products and even not mowing our lawns, if we have them. Surely, we ARE doing our bit for the world?
Is the fundamental problem that we see other people and other animals as just that: “the other”? Might we do better if, instead, we saw all people and all other sentient beings as “another”? Then we might put our powerful loving forces into REALLY strong action to bring about a more compassionate world.
And what about the 80 billion animals whom we slaughter for our own food preferences every year, three quarters of them living in abominable confinement in factory farms? Are we so uninvolved in their lives and fears and pain that we see them too as “the other” and forget that each one is surely “another”, not so very different from ourselves?
If we believe that we need to eat them, then we might at least avoid consuming those who have been factory-farmed and parts of whose bodies make up the cheap meat options at the take-away or the supermarket. We might even question if we truly do need to eat them at all (unless recommended medically). We have to admit that many people are living perfectly healthy lives on vegan diets (the author included, for 48 years).
Psychologists and counsellors tell us we must begin by loving ourselves. I don’t think that necessarily means that we have to keep on eating ham sandwiches or tandoori chicken just because we love the taste.
Could we begin to see the soils and waters of the earth also as “another”? Are they not part of the whole natural world as we are? Is their healthiness and their wellbeing not fundamental to the future existence of a living planet?
As for those toxic gases which are causing climate change, can we reduce our 20th century reliance upon the machinery, the cars and planes, the heating and lighting, the meat consumption and the industrial processes which generate so much of them? I suspect we can all do more privately and become more outraged at government inaction. We may not want to glue ourselves to the motorways, but we all have voices which will be heard if we unite.
Living an active life of loving is a challenge to us all, (the author included).
Note: Compassion in World Farming believes that the earth and her beings are at crisis point. We are actively pursuing the routes of lobbying and campaigning, from the UK to the EU to the United Nations. To discuss these vital issues and generate even more loving action, we are holding an international conference on 11/12th May 2023 in London, where globally renowned speakers and activists will delve deeper and will surely inspire us in the present and for the future. We hope that as many of you as possible will join us in person or by video link (it is a hybrid conference).
Do check out the conference website: www.extinctionconference.com and reserve your place. Some concessions are available.
Let’s fill this planet with loving action to create a vibrant, flourishing earth inhabited by a wonderful diversity of beings, each one enabled to attain their potential.
This is an extract from an article Acting Now for People, Animals and Planet published in Resurgence and Ecologist magazine March/April 2023