What we’re talking about here surely tonight is the core of what we’re discussing, is values, that’s what it’s about, human values. Martin Luther King talked about power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. They are the values that allow our societies to abuse animals. But they are the values also that allow our societies to abuse people in the name of economics. You cannot divorce the values that abuse animals. And those that abuse people and abuse the planet, for they are the same values. It was Henry Solt, a great social reformer who said early on in this century. It is useless to preach peace by itself, social justice by itself, or kindness to animals by itself. The cause he said of each of all the evils that afflict the world is the same. The general lack of humanity, the lack of knowledge that all sentient life is akin. And that he who injures a fellow being is in fact doing injury to himself. It is not this bloodshed or that bloodshed that must cease, he said, but all needless bloodshed, all wanton infliction of pain, or death upon our fellow beings. And if the people who run this country and run other countries do not see that, then maybe they do need a bill of rights for animals to constantly remind them. For that will do, if we start treating animals with dignity. That will do as much for people. Because if we have a society that treats animals with respect, love and dignity, we will have a society and a world that treats people and the planet with love, respect, and dignity. As Gandhi said, finally, The Greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. And on that basis, this country and many other countries are not great. It’s about time they were, and if that takes a bill of rights, then so be it. There’s a great difference between cleverness and wisdom, they’re not the same thing. This system is very clever but it isn’t very wise. And it’s the lack of wisdom that is the problem. A piece of Native American wisdom. When you have cut down the last tree and poisoned the last river, you will learn that you cannot eat money. How can you buy or sell the sky. We do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkles. How then can you buy them from. Every part of the Earth is sacred to my being. Holy in their memory and experience. We know the white man doesn’t understand our ways. He’s a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his friend, but his enemy. And when he’s conquered it, he moves on. He kidnaps the earth of its children, his appetite will devour the world and leave behind a desert. If the beasts were gone, we would die of a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the children of the Earth.
Boileau said that Kings. Gods, and Heroes only were fit subjects for literature. The writer can only write about what he admires. Present day kings aren't very inspiring, the gods are on vacation, and about the only heroes left are the scientists and the poor.... And since our race admires gallantry, the writer will deal with it where he finds it. He finds it in the struggling poor now."