Friday, June 11, 2010
Writing for a Cause
Do you have a passion? Mine has always been for animals. My father was a veterinarian and I began rescuing wildlife and injured animals as young as six years old. During my teen years I worked for my father and witnessed first-hand the suffering animals endure when they are injured or ill. In college I wrote term papers opposing animal research. For much of my life I felt so powerless and overwhelmed by cruelty toward animals. Back in the 1980’s the United States was euthanizing approximately 17 million healthy adoptable animals because of pet over-population and irresponsible ownership. Many of the top research institutions were using animals for medical research; vegetarians and individuals who chose a vegan diet were thought to be eccentric and a little weird.
Instead of following in my father’s footsteps, I became as a property manager in Nashville, Tennessee. I routinely rescued animals that were abandoned in streets, parks, and even left inside vacant rental homes without access to food or water. I started reading about factory farming of livestock and my consciousness and food choices changed even more (even as a kid I could not eat mammals). My feelings of frustration and sense of powerlessness regarding animal cruelty grew. In 2003, I saw a Pit Bull who was literally starving to death on the streets. I’ll spare you the description but this poor creature was the most abused animal I had ever seen. Most likely she had been used as a “bait” dog for a dog fight ring. One-thousand dollars later, I had a dog-aggressive Pit Bull I could not place. She was an unwanted high maintenance pet but I loved her deeply and gave her a good home despite the physical and emotional costs of her care.
When Michael Vick’s dog fight operation was exposed, I wrote an impassioned response to an article I read in the Wisconsin State Journal, which is a highly respected, well-read daily newspaper in the upper mid-west. The following morning a friend stopped by with the paper and there was my unedited letter under the Featured Guest Editorial. This was a major credit to my writer’s bio. It led to two writing assignments for Wisconsin Woman Magazine and other freelance work. But, the best reward is that I got to be a voice for those who suffer wretchedly and yet have no voice and no political power.
The battle against animal cruelty continues as does my passion to be the voice for those who cannot speak. I like to think in some small way my words have been part of the growing consciousness toward sentient beings. Because of animal activists, writers like me, and great animal welfare organizations, progress has been made. The euthanasia rate has been cut in half in the past thirty years, more and more people are become vegetarians or at least buying free-range meats, and most major research institutions are using non-animal model testing for medical experimentation.
Edward Bulward-Lytton said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” As a writer you and I have been given a precious gift that allows us to touch thousands of lives. So, if you have a cause, I implore you to write, write, write! Write for a cause you believe in and give it your best effort. There can be no greater reward for a writer.
Kate Garvey is the founder and director of the Institute of Sound Healing and a freelance writer. She has had more than fifty articles published on animal welfare. Kate will be releasing a series of e-books on animal welfare this fall. For more information on ways to prevent animal cruelty please visit the “Free Info and Products” section at www.InstituteOfSoundHealing.com or email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org (put Reference Writer in the subject line).