This is the response my friend Pamela Anderson wrote on The New York Observer to my piece about zoos http://observer.com/2016/05/why-i-disagree-with-pamela-anderson-zoos-are-not-immoral/ It's well-written and Pamela is a truly caring animal rights activist.
She is also a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people and we honored her with an award at our gala dinner last month.
Thank you Pamela.
My major problem with her piece is the seeming equation of animal and human life. Judaism insists on the ethical treatment of animals always. Indeed, a ban on cruelty to animals is one of the seven universal Noahide commandments.
But still, animals and humans are not equal. To equate animal life and human life is to undermine the sacredness of human life.
This has always been an issue I've had with PETA and I've met with them on several issues over the years. I appreciate their advocacy on the part of animals and my conversations with PETA representatives have been substantive, informative, and interesting, both on the air, on my radio show, and in private.
But elevating animal life to the level of human life is a step too far. I also think it's an unnecessary step. People will appreciate animal life, and will be very upset at Harambe's death even without equating a gorilla's life with a human child.
Pamela has written a strong and provocative piece. I appreciate her response. This issue is so important that I'll ask Pamela if she'll join me in a public discussion that can further illuminate.
God bless you all.
My response to
My Friend Shmuley - http://observer.com/2016/06/pamela-anderson-zoos-are-a-relic-of-a-crueler-past/
I have had some wonderful talks with Rabbi Shmuley. We agree on many things. And, as good friends inspire, we have also learned a lot from each other.
One of the kindest things he told me is that after one of our conversations. He considered being vegan?
He pointed out that in the bible - God told Adam and Eve that they were only to eat the plants.
After the flood - Animals were only to be eaten until the crops grew back. (And Kosher- was developed to cause the least amount of suffering) Animals were to be well taken care of and blessed during their sacrifice for human life in this short window.
The crops have grown back!
I know specesism is a point of contention- Like Feminism?
It reminds me -
The middle east is riddled with inequality.
I believe in equality for all life that includes all human life...
In a part of the world where some women cannot drive, vote or have a voice (Saudi Arabia) .
Israel sets an example here- progressive and strong. This is also why Veganism is growing fast in Israel. I think that this a potential hot seat for a bigger and braver discussion -
I want to continue the debate -
To reach people who have feelings about this - social media/platforms are what it was built for. Open and tolerant discussion. . Technology has a valuable place in evolving our opinions and ways of life with more information. Sometimes it might be misinformation? But, at least we have information to weed through -giving us more wisdom, protecting freedoms of the vulnerable. All opinions are important and valuable. I will continue to speak up for the voiceless. I have looked into too many sad eyes.
We all want to live.
I am an honorary PETA board member. I understand their views are strong and pointed. Also heated enough to get attention.
I know there has been issues in the past about confinement of animals being related to confinement or mass slaughter of people.
I understand this makes 'people' angry - but, a vulnerable life is a vulnerable life. Man, woman, child or animal. We all have a heart beat, a family we want to care for, and an existence we respectfully deserve.
Factory Farms are the leading cause of global warming. The best thing we can do for our 'human' children is remove meat from our diet to help ensure a healthy planet for our future precious generations.
Living in peace is the goal for all of us.
I am blessed as a western woman. I can speak my mind and improve mine and my children's futures. I have a choice. I am grateful for this opportunity.
I want to work more in Israel. To protect the rights of all living beings. Rabbi Shmuley is a powerful voice. I respect him and know we will do much more together.
Tackling issues together is enlightening, provocative and always a learning experience.
Thank you Shmuley.
Chair of the board of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS)
Honorary Board member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
A member of the Russian Council of International Federation for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Founder of The Pamela Anderson Foundation -
Respectfully contributing to the frontlines of freedom for the vulnerable.