December is Human Rights Month - Make the Connection
On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Rights—a document that articulates the need for “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” It was soon after that they decided to name the whole month Universal Human Rights Month.
Could you imagine living in the U.S. during a time when slavery was okay?
What about being eight years old and doing hard labor in a coal mine? If we think about it, all of these situations in history were considered okay at one point, and views from people against such atrocities weren’t exactly welcomed. Speaking out against such events would have yielded the common response “they are just slaves” or “they are just children” or “they are just women.”
I sure am glad we think differently about the way we treat each other now, but there is still more to be done. What about how the animals are treated? Just as people have continued to fight throughout history for human rights justice, we must continue to strive for animal liberation, so that their suffering will also come to an end.
Who says you can’t speak up for human rights and animal rights at the same time?
If we consider the ways workers are treated in the meat industry, it’s pretty difficult not to want to speak up for both. Working in slaughterhouses has been named the most dangerous job in America. Imagine, for example, having chickens moving so fast through the assembly line that they are often still conscious when they are put into the scalding tank. Workers in slaughterhouses are often injured while handling these terrified animals. When workers speak out about their injuries, many are fired. Indeed, all animals—whether human or nonhuman—experience the hardships of this bloody business.