asks Michael Stipe in R.E.M.'s "I Believe."
Each day, I try and take 15 minutes and do something proactive for animals. That could mean visiting the PETA Action Center and sending out a quick e-mail (many are form letters and you simply need to fill out your name and address). Or e-mailing Dunkin' Donuts and asking them to add soy milk so I can indulge in a soy cappuccino (imagine the consequence of a major chain adding this to their menu).
Some days, I score small personal victories. Recently, I asked at my publishing job if they would supply soy milk for the office refrigerator for coffee/tea, tofu cream cheese for our Friday bagels, and a cheeseless veggie pizza for our Wednesday pizza luncheons. I got all three with no challenge, and to my pleasant surprise, co-workers are experimenting with the cream cheese, devouring the vegan pizza, and are fast depleting the Zen soy milk supply. I also suggested Gene Baur's Farm Sanctuary as the "Book of the Day," to my local library system, and it was soon featured on the home page of their county-wide web site.
Always ask. I think of the ASPCA motto, "We are their voice." We have to be.
With Election Day 2008 now a memory, we must not forget our activist spirit. Whatever you do for animals, whether it's attending an anti-fur protest, writing a letter to a company or to the editor of a local paper, or asking your local coffee shop for soy milk, do it with pride, and do it without apology.
To quote "Begin the Begin," another song off of R.E.M.'s brilliant Life's Rich Pageant, "Silence means security, silence means approval." And words we should all live by, "The finest example is you."
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