"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
And a little child shall lead them...
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea."
Ever since the beginning of time, humankind has dreamed or perhaps
remembered in the dim, dark, distant recesses of the physic, of an
abundant world where life is lived in harmony and balance. A
world in peace with justice where the inherent connections between
animals, people and the earth are understood and respected.
Ancient myths and stories tell of such a place.
In the new millennium -- a time of new beginning -- our
longing continues, not for a new place, not for an old place, but for a
changed place. We long for a place of peace, consideration,
concern, caring and compassion, a place where respect for all is the
conscious order of things.
"This much we know.
The earth does not belong to man; Man belongs to the earth.
This we know.
All things are connected like the blood which unites one family.
All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
APE (Animals, People and the Earth) is an animal rights
organization promoting respect for "every living thing" as in the poem
above, "Dance Lightly with the Living Earth...Respecting Every Living
Thing." APE holds that there is no conflict in "Dance
lightly with the living earth... respecting every living thing" because
there is no need to choose among various alternatives. It is
not a question of either/or, i.e.: either: people
or the earth, or, either: people or the
animals. It is a question of both/and,
i.e.: both: people and the earth,
and: both people and the animals. What is good
for the one is good for the other and what is bad for one is bad for
the other because as Chief Seattle said: "All things are
connected." Quantum Physics stresses the interconnectedness
of all being. Moreover, only the demented could take
pleasure in killing or cruelty which comes from a will to dominate and
control. Psychological health prescribes empathy and
compassion for all living things.
"As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower livings beings,
He will never know health or peace.
For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other.
Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."
"Dance lightly with the living earth... respecting every living
thing" is first of all, a question of life-style. How we
live reflects our values. Each of us makes that choice by
the way we live. It reveals what we love. It
makes us transparent. While not everyone can take on all the
"causes" that need attention in this complicated society, most of us
can take on a life-style of responsibility that fosters respect for,
and the well being of, other living things. This includes
our precious earth. Let us not despoil her. It
becomes a matter of integrity.
"To thine own self be true."
APE, the full name, Artist Advocates for Animals, People and the
Earth, strives to bring the dream of humankind for harmony and peace
into reality. APE is a non-profit, educational organization
working primarily through the arts to explore, demonstrate, enlighten,
transform, empower, heal, explain or describe an understanding of the
relationships and interconnectedness between animals, people and the
earth. APE emphasis art because art fosters creativity and
reaches deeply into the soul.
"We cannot have peace among men whose hearts
find delight in killing any living creature."
APE takes art in a broad sense and considers everyone an artist who
works responsibly in creative activity to reveal truth. The
poem, "Dance Lightly with the Living Earth", can be considered to be
love spelled out. It lists the main connections between
animals, people and the earth and as such, embodies the philosophy of
APE. Because the lover, both embraces the object of the love
and also seeks the good of the beloved, love energizes the philosophy
expressed by the poem. Love therefore, causes
action. Moreover, the 'respect' mentioned in the poem,
directs the actions of love so that what is considered to be the true
good of the beloved is what is sought. Otherwise love could
be selfish, smothering or misguided.
"I want to realize brotherhood or identity
not merely with the beings called human,
but I want to realize identity with all life,
even with such things as crawl upon earth."
First of all "let us each one" have concern for
oneself. Take care of one's own body: eat
properly, exercise, sleep enough and use all one's faculties well, for
one's own good and for the common good. Do not abuse one's
own body. Take care of one's own mind: learn, be
educated, and be informed so as to make good decisions for one's self
and for the common good. This helps self
confidence. Self-empowerment is imperative. Study
and meditate to seek truth, remembering that truth is often
multi-faceted. This leads to the best possible inner spirit
and puts each of us in touch with the ultimate spirit of the
universe. Let us each one seek voluntary simplicity as a
means of elevating the inner self and as a means of conserving the
resources of the earth.
Every human person longs to be deeply loved. This begins
with respect for each person. Appreciate the
individual. No more stereotyping. Each being is
to be cherished for its uniqueness all the while realizing that
diversity is an integral part of the interconnectedness of all living
things. Diversity in nature is natural and necessary for
life on the earth. It is precious and does not need human
manipulation. Genetic engineering, deforestation and over-development
(destructive plunder) of the land are examples of the rape of nature by
the male hierarchical system of domination and control called
patriarchy (see "Excorcising Patriarchy").
"There is nothing more pathetic in all history
than the helpless resignation of woman to the
outrages she has been taught to believe
are ordained by God."
Source: "Bible and Church Degrade Women,"
by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Just because something can be done, does not mean it should be
done. Short-term gains, even when beneficial, must always be
evaluated in terms of long-term effects, remembering that long-term
effects may be difficult to assertain. Great caution must be
exercised. As it is, it seems that fame and greed are ruling
the day. What took millions of years to evolve should not be
comprimised in the false name of progress.
The invention of factory farming is one of the latest and most
cruel examples of male domination and control over
animals. "The Animals Are Crying", below, lists how many
species are exploited by humans. Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb reveals the arrogance of humans in over populating the earth which then
becomes the cause of overusing earth's resources. We cannot
have an infinite human population in a finite world.
"rapism. n: the fundamental ideology and practice of patriarchy,
characterized by invasion, violation, degradation,
objectification, and destruction of women and nature;
the fundamental paradigm of racism, classism,
and all the other oppressive-isms."
Ahimsa is a beautiful sandscript word meaning non-violence to any
being. Several of the eastern religions claim it, but it
seems only the Jains of India keep ahimsa literally. It
should be a life style. And although all major religions
have proclaimed compassion to animals (see "Religion, Animals and
Peace"), it is mostly ignored. The various religions must be
called upon to practice what they preach and to preach compassion in
season and out. Religion is a very deep psychological
experience and it should be brought to bare on the welfare of
animals. In fact, institutionalized religion has been a
major player in teaching a dualistic, hierarchical order of being,
putting humans over animals, male over female and a certain so called
"supernatural" over the "natural." In fact, religion seems
to give a divine sanction to this. In Soul on Ice Elridge Cleaver explains the order in greater detail: white male, black
male, white female, black female. (Also see the article
below: "The Beloved Community".) Feminists for Animal Rights
deals with the topic of the similarity between the domination of women
and animals by men. Pornography is an outstanding example
and using animals in the 'porn' is very telling. For a
helpful discussion of this whole topic, confer with editor Carol Adams'
book, Women and Animals.
"The greatest cultural revolution of all times (will be )
one which replaces a structure and culture that have
been worked out by the male half of humankind
over thousands of years by a structure and culture
that will be the handiwork of the whole of humankind
comprising the female as well as the male."
In The Dreaded Comparison by Marjorie Spiegel, the
treatment of animals and race is discussed. Diversity in the
human community, whether it is of gender, race, ethnicity, color, class
or whatever, is part of the social fabric of life. It brings
a promise of great richness to society and the opportunity for reaching
optimal potential for the individual person. This is a
threat to the patriarchs and so, often in very cruel ways, they attempt
to suppress diversity. APE aims to respect diversity in
nature and in society. As Eve Edser says, there exists "a
global pathology to destroy women."
"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons.
They were not made for humans any more than black
people were made for whites or women for men."
According to the Gaia hypothesis proposed by J.E. Lovelock, mother
earth is a living entity, not just inert matter. This
requires an interaction on the part of humankind, a kind of joyful
dance, which is gentle and considerate. The earth is fragile
and limited. The earth is magnificant, the land is
sacred. The earth is breathtakingly beautiful, a glorious
place to be. Since she is the only earth we have we should
deal with her sparingly, "lightly". But even so, life can be
"Sing if you can talk. Dance if you can walk."
"Conservation must be our watchword."
"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle."
The question is not, Can they reason?
nor, Can they talk? but,
Can they suffer?"
Including animals in the understanding of the connectedness of all
beings is one of the major goals of APE. This means, among
other things, expanding the circle of compassion that should exist
among all human animals to include the other animals. Let us
expand the circle of compassion so that it becomes inclusive of all
living things. Let us understand that all living things are
part of the communion of being, 'being' used as a verb here as Mary
Daly points out in Webster's First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Languish. As
we learn more about these other animals we realize that they are much
more like us than we may have realized. Actually there seems
to be less a line of demarcation than previously
thought. Let us now realize this kinship and act upon
it. The other animals have feelings very much like
ours: they avoid pain and seek pleasure. There is an
increasing amount of evidence that the other animals have more than
just instinct to guide them but that they have intelligence, emotional
feelings and a conscious awareness. Therefore APE holds that
all animals exist in their own right and for their own purpose and that
no animal is the property of the human animal to
abuse. Anthrocentricity is not a doctrine of
ape. Stewardship of the animals and not domination is what
the dominion of the Gospels mean.
"For hundreds of thousands of years
the stew in the pot
has brewed hatred and resentment
that is difficult to stop.
If you wish to know why there are disasters
of armies and weapons in the world,
listen to the piteous cries
from the slaughterhouse at midnight."
an ancient Chinese verse
Because food is a necessity for our life, food choice demonstrates
a basic life-style connection between animals, people and the earth. A
plant-based diet is the diet which benefits the animals, the people and
the earth: what is best for humans also is best for the other animals
and for the earth. Mounting nutritional research shows that a
plant-based diet is by far a more healthy diet for humans than a flesh
based diet. (See especially the recommendations of Physicians Committee
for Responsible Medicine, www.pcrm.org.)
And obviously, a plant based diet would do away with the cruelty of the
slaughter-house and the factory farm. Ridding our society of this
unnecessary and horrible violence would improve the psychological
health of humans as well. (See the article below: "Non-Violence Begins
With the Fork".) Also the earth would benefit. For example: forests
would no longer be cut to make room for cattle grazing and much water
would be saved because raising cattle take enormous quantities of water
(see the work of John Robbins in Diet for a New America and EarthSave, www.EarthSave.org. See esp.: "The Power of Your Fork" also on the EarthSave web site.
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things,
man will not himself find peace."
May you and all living things be included in the circle of compassion
Elizabeth Jane Farians
And may all be graced in the communion of being.