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There are now more than 7 billion of us. Our human influence extends across the entire planet. Almost nowhere on land, in any of the oceans, lakes, rivers, or in the entire atmosphere, is there a place beyond the reach of our technology or the sheer force of our numbers. As a result, the animals who share our world are vulnerable to our infringement, individually and collectively. They have no place of ultimate safety, and as our numbers grow, as more of us around the world adopt a lifestyle predicated on the consumption of material goods and a diet based on animal products, non-human animals are increasingly displaced from their natural habitats and bred into existence in ever-increasing numbers on farms. They are thrust into dangerous and unsustainable situations in which they cannot survive, much less thrive, without intervention on the part of those who see and respect them as individuals with inherent dignity and worth. Whether born on a farm, on the street, or in a forest, individual animals caught in a hostile environment created and controlled by humans need our help, no less so than do our fellow humans who lack the political freedom, financial means or the knowledge needed to keep themselves safe.
The Peaceable Practice of rescuing animals is not a matter of seeing or treating other animals as helpless and dependent by nature, but rather, of accepting the moral obligation to assist those whose status is like that of refugees, captives or accident victims: those in the unfortunate position of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; those who, through no fault of their own, have nowhere to go; and those who do not have the ability to get medical care for themselves or to set up a safe place to live.
Each time a person comes to the aid of an animal who has been struck by a car, or helps free a sea creature tangled in a net on the beach, each time a person makes a home for an individual whose fate was to be brutally killed by a slaughterer's knife or a hunter's bullet, a step is taken to right a terrible, all-pervasive injustice. Likewise, each time someone adopts a homeless animal from a shelter, rather than purchasing an animal who was bred into existence to be sold, not only has an individual been saved from untimely death, but the way is being paved for a future in which animals will no longer be killed for lack of available loving homes. And for those giving and receiving aid, either short term or long term, the door is opened to an extraordinary connection that can teach us to better understand what it means to be respected, valued, and perhaps even understood.
The Peaceable Practice of rescuing animals is a commitment not to stand by when others are in distress or being exploited, and to take responsibility within the limits of our abilities for the well-being of vulnerable individuals and for the positive resolution of situations that we did not create. It is a form of courageous generosity, a gift to an individual in need that betters ourselves, and the world.
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Learn to see animals as individuals
Connect with animals
Adopt a plant-based diet
Advocate for animals
Preserve, protect and restore animal habitats