Change often happens at the click of a mouse.’ I voiced this opinion when fellow netizens depended more on laptops and desktops rather than smart devices. Despite the naysayers and indifferent bystanders, my optimistic assessment has grown stronger with time, that the passionate power of public opinion, especially when backed by economic consequences of market choices would get the better of inflicted suffering. It’s perhaps an irony that beneficiaries of this fire and fervour are themselves voiceless, but the ardent legions stepping up for their relief are powered by an attitudinal shift that all lives matter, and not exclusively those of humans.
In a particular week in 2017 were two significant victories. The first is a reported ban on dog meat at China’s notorious Yulin festival. To those who would decry this achievement I would say it is better that the sum total of suffering decreases, that a diminished rather than expanded list of killed edibles promotes a kinder consciousness to ultimately emerge that would encompass human conduct to all living beings. A’V’ sign is also reported in the German ban on fur farms, another tortuous zone of suffering and death.Both might seem minuscule compared to a collective magnitude of suffering in all its variants. Of dog farms and fur farms elsewhere. Of slaughtered farm animals everywhere. Of hapless creatures in laboratories, zoos, circuses, breeding mills and those in the wild suffering conscious and unconscious harm from diverse human activity.
But it is an assurance that sparks of compassion can burst into the furious flame of public outrage that ignites change. Activists doing hard work on the ground are propelled forward to face their target decision makers armed with the fierce weapon of public ire conveyed in digital signatures. No prizes for guessing that petitions with the most traction are backed by strong numbers. For caring netizens nothing is too difficult/ distant/ irrelevant. Even the occasional victory is sufficient to illustrate that it is unwise to discount the power of petitions and their potential to achieve worthy outcomes. From stand alone victories to sweeping systemic transformations.