Compassion In Action

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Scotlund's Blog

They Are Not Voiceless

We as individuals and a society are constantly confronted with issues of injustice, intolerance, and abuse; sometimes it is directed at our fellow humans and even more commonly towards non-human animals.  It is often said that the victims of these injustices are voiceless.  In the case of humans, it is a metaphorical statement implying that they have no influence or power, with animals it is meant both metaphorically and literally.  I have a different view, I believe they do have a voice even if it is just the voice that caring people hear in their own conscience that says something like: “that’s not right”, “someone should do something”, or “I can’t be a part of this”.

Following my conscience, I have chosen to make my life’s work protecting animals.  They are not voiceless. Though scientists are reluctant to call their form of communication language, animals do speak to each other and they speak to us. They communicate to us when they are happy or sad, fearful or upset, wanting our presence, or when our attention is unwanted and we are forcing ourselves upon them. With every method of conveying emotion and desire, they speak to us.  They tell us to stop taking them from their habitats, stop caging them, stop chaining them, stop abusing them, stop torturing them, killing them, and exploiting them.  They speak, we are just not listening.

If we think about our actions that directly or indirectly affect others, human or non-human, it is clear the negative actions are unwelcome.  Often these negative behaviors are encouraged or sanctioned by society, tradition or corporate marketing, making it easier for us as individuals to choose not to think about our actions or their repercussions. There is always someone ready to do the dirty work for profit, hiding much of the ugliness and making it convenient to ignore.   Just as most consumers don’t think of the child labor that make abundant cheap clothes imported for our masses or the other unethical measures some businesses take to offer us a product or service at “the lowest possible cost”.

Great efforts are made to hide from all view the suffering of people and animals exploited by unscrupulous industries, because that knowledge and awareness would force each of us to accept responsibility for playing a role in that suffering. In our human arrogance, if we choose to remain ignorant, our lives may be easier or more convenient in the short-term, but it will always be at another living being’s expense, a being who was also born to live in this world and who is as deserving of an opportunity to live a valued life as we are.

I believe we all have a role in and a responsibility to create a society that values all life.  I am told daily that I speak for the voiceless, I don’t, I take action against injustice, I do it directly through my work at Animal Rescue Corps and as importantly, through the daily decisions I make.    I believe that the endless, seemingly unimportant decisions that we all make every day can make the greatest difference in creating the society that we wish to see, IF those decisions are informed and made with thoughtfulness and respect for all.  Part of the practice that I have adopted includes:  reading the ingredients of everything and choosing not to consume animal products, buying sustainable and cruelty free products, researching the origin of products when possible and trying to always make compassionate and respectful decisions.  I share the philosophy widely attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, working “to be the change I wish to see in the world”.  Giving more thought to the decisions I make every day is, to me, the basis of being that change.  I hope that by sharing my practice it will help to inspire others to give thought to the choices they make.  There is no place of perfection, but there can be a sense of enjoyment in always learning more and allowing that knowledge to guide us in making ever better and better decisions.

All of us may find, at times, in order to make better choices a level of convenience is sacrificed – we may have to spend a little more money, look a little harder or wait a little longer to find a compassionate option for a product we are searching for, but the value of being informed and knowing that our decisions are in line with our values is not something that can be measured in dollars. We are what we consume and it is this consumption that creates our trends and what binds us together as a society.  Generally speaking our consumption today is not sustainable and is often born from the suffering of others. As compassionate individuals our actions are filled with contradictions, but when we put our contradictions on trial, meaning becomes clearer making change possible.  We must think before acting, we must start the change by being the change.

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19 responses to “They Are Not Voiceless”

  1. Jill Parker says:

    You are such an inspiration and I wish you success in all your endeavours to protect our beloved animals. If only there were more people like you this world could be a really wonderful place. Lets hope you and people like you will slowly “make a difference”.

  2. Linda Larson says:

    Just curious about the photo of the dog in this article who looks identical to my dog. What kind of dog is it? Lets keep saving our 4-legged friends if you want a pet go to one of the services that save them Humane Society ect! Thank you for the wonderful article.

  3. aileen hogan says:

    I so believe in what you are saying and respect all that you do for the animals of our world. Thank you for leading the way and taking action against injustice.


  4. Thank you for your eloquent post and all that you do – may you continue to inspire others for years to come!

  5. Victoria Rickman says:

    Life changing information that comes from your life changing actions and compassion. Thank you.

  6. Roberta says:

    My hope for the humans of this world is to live by example, the best way to influence or to teach a compassionate lifestyle , is for you to live it, in the hopes others follow.
    You have continued to be a great teacher, your work with animals is unrivaled and people have great respect for your
    kindness and humility. Please continue to show what this kind of thinking and actions can do to save the wonderful animals who have been living in such horrible conditions.
    ARC is a true beacon of light in this crazy society!

  7. steve wilson says:

    Your doing great work, thank you.

  8. Sheila says:

    I really look up to you. You are a real example. Please come to visit us, Uruguay really needs your expertise! Sheila

  9. Gloria says:

    You are such a kind, thoughtful and compassionate human being !!!

  10. Marla says:

    I am so impressed and I want you to know that every dog you help is one more soul that is saved from a bad life or even death. I would love to do the same. Thank you.

  11. Anita Peakes says:

    I got your message load and clear and I will endeavour to live by those principles. Thank you for the enlightenment! Anita

  12. Susan Furman says:

    Very inspiring words. Bless you for your compassion and caring. Each and everyday I try to live my life trying to do what I can for the voiceless. I hope and pray the world inhabitants grow to see we are all meant to live together in peace and love.

  13. Ben says:

    Where did that photograph come from??

    That looks JUST LIKE our Daisy, we adopted her from a shelter just 3 weeks ago.

    Would like to know just the City, State!

    Thanks much,


  14. Debby Ledbetter says:

    As always, Thank You once again & YES! I did & do like the article! Animals just know! & I do listen to them! Outside of living my life in general, which is mostly a life of advocacy! So happens at the top of my list of *favorites* are dogs & Elephants! I’d give a lot to work with you at ARC! I have so much more than the utmost respect for you &your *group* of the most wonderful & dedicated people! THANK YOU for ALL you do & SO much more! Animals have so much to teach us! I hope we will all be teachable! & LISTEN to these wonderful beings!! Thank You always!! Debby

  15. Annie says:

    God bless you and your family <3

  16. Rose Marleen says:

    Scotlund, you are an inspiration. I sincerely wish I could work with you.

  17. Shelly says:

    Ben, sorry, just saw this. Cinderella was saved by the ARC in Tennessee. She is such a love, so sweet. She has a FB page Cinderella’s Journal if you would like to see her now.

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