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September 21, 2012: EFFA: Helping both animals and humans

Originally posted on September 21, 2012 on this blog.

One of the things that sets EFFA apart from other animal rights organizations is that we are not only about animal rights. EFFA has always been about helping animals while helping ourselves to grow as humans at the same time. The first part is clear, - we do stress the importance of helping other animals; the importance of identifying areas of our relationship with other animals that have to be rethought and made more fair. To us, for example, vegetarianism is the correct way of life, as it minimizes the suffering of other living beings. We believe that vegetarianism, like any change that leads to less suffering, represents progress for humanity. Apart from not eating meat, we stress the importance of respecting other animals, and of being wise enough to know the difference between allowing some animals to "just be", and protecting those that need our protection.

So how does our philosophy relate to humans? First, we believe in cause and effect, and, consequently, that that the suffering and death of millions of animals around the world daily has an adverse effect on our lives. It would be naïve to think that all the suffering and death experienced by other animals just vanishes into thin air. Consequently, by minimizing this suffering, we are, in fact, minimizing the negative effects thereof and making the world a more positive place. Second, we believe that the actual act of killing an animal (or having someone kill an animal for us) is harmful to us on many levels. Apart from creating the above-mentioned negative effects of that animal’s suffering, it creates a secondary negative effect for us personally for having taken a life. What we’re saying here is not at all mystical or hypothetical. If you are in doubt about the very real, physical violence and negativity inherent in mistreating animals, visit a slaughterhouse or any other such place. Most people, upon doing so, would agree that our concepts make sense. Thus, by eliminating actions that directly or indirectly cause harm to other animals, we are eliminating several different negative effects. This makes our own lives better.

Third, we believe that there is a lot of good that comes from helping, especially helping innocent beings. We encourage people to get involved in helping animals, because we have a personal connection to that particular issue and feel it to be very important, but there are many other ways to help improve the world as well. Many of our ideas (including many of those found in our text "A Life of Meaning") have to do with leaving selfishness behind, seeing beyond our personal needs and reaching out to those who really need our help. Just as we feel that harming, killing, and abandoning animals is, in itself, a harmful act, we believe that the act of helping these creatures (and others) is, in itself, a very positive act, one that will lead to a better world.

These are three ways in which we believe that we all can benefit from our philosophy. By adopting some of these ideas into your own life, you too can start to make a REAL positive change, both for yourself and for the world around you.

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