Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Standing Up For Animals In Everyday Life

  Standing Up For Animals In Everyday Life

It's a beautiful, sun filled day, one that I thought might never come after the long, harsh winter we've had here in New York City. I'm in the third hour of my son’s baseball double-header and all I can see before my eyes are Rawlings cleats, Rawlings gloves and baseball uniforms issued from our league. In school, it's a different story. On gym days, all you see are Nike sneakers. Nearly every kid in my son's class has Nike gear except for my son. 

I made it a point to never again buy another Nike product when the company endorsed convicted dog fighter Michael Vick as their spokesperson. Being a pet writer, I have read numerous horror stories of the devastation that was incurred upon countless dogs that were tortured in his multi-million dollar dog-fighting ring that spanned six years. After that, it was inconceivable to comprehend how a company that prides itself on family values could ever want such a person to represent them. My kids agreed with my vow to not patronize a company or anyone that would support dog fighting, and we have.

Sometimes, it is more difficult to stick to our promise.

Just a few weeks ago, we got news that the NY Jets, our family's favorite football team signed Vick to a contract. Immediately horrified, I again wondered why the Jets would do such a thing just as I had wondered how the Philadelphia Eagles had down the same the year before. Of course, the decision to stop patronizing a team or company, or even boycott one, for the sake of animals is a relatively easy thing to do. It doesn't require dangerous actions like rescuing pit bulls from illegal operations or even alerting authorities to illegal happenings. It is more of a silent protest (although asking kids to give up their favorite team isn’t quite the easiest thing to do either). Even larger organizations are protesting. Just a few weeks ago, SUNY Cortland began a petition to ban Vick from their premises where NY Jets training camp normally takes place. 

It is a less dramatic action, one that might go unnoticed by many yet collectively, it might just hit the company where it hurts most... in the pocket. Just as dog fighting rings are run solely for the profit of the people who own them, companies, sports teams and stadiums also depend on money to thrive. If we choose to boycott those who support dog fighting, whether directly or not, we can say no, it is not OK and we will not forget. So sorry, NY Jets, but you’ve lost another family of fans this football season.

The most important things in life we want to teach our kids are much bigger than money, like doing what is right and protecting life. By being animal advocates, we not only help make immediate lives of animals better, but we also demonstrate to our kids how vital it is to stand up for those who cannot fight for themselves.

Image: Imgur
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