Sustainable Activism and the YouTube Shooting
We are deeply saddened by the YouTube shooting and extend our solidarity with our San Francisco Bay Area neighbors suffering as a result of this hideous scenario.
The primary principle of the animal rights movement is to practice nonviolence to all living beings in both our minds and actions, a concept called Ahimsa by Hindus and Buddhists. Non-violence is a core value for most animal activists. If you care deeply for animals, we encourage you to commit yourself to nonviolent principles used by some of the most successful and effective proponents of social justice in history including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Gandhi.
Anyone who acts with violence to humans or animals may be struggling with a mental health issue. As this tragic event and others have shown us in painful detail, any person in the general population with mental health issues can easily gain access to lethal weapons and use them against others.
People in the helping professions often suffer a higher incidence of compassion fatigue, a form of emotional exhaustion caused by the stress of caring for traumatized or suffering animals or humans. It is a well-known condition in trauma-related occupations such as health-care, first-responders for emergencies, veterinarians, journalists who cover disasters, and animal advocates. It strikes particularly hard at those who are empathic and can cause isolation, loss of self-worth, numbness, and can lead to addiction.
In Defense of Animals practices community care by providing free counseling for animal advocates. If you have a non-emergency concern and suspect you may be suffering from compassion fatigue, please contact our Animal Activist Support Line for free and confidential support:
We also provide resources to prevent and heal from compassion fatigue. Please also consider signing up for our Sustainable Activism webinars for regular support and learn non-violent principles and how to practice self-care.