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Revamping the Simple Heart
A new blog schedule and focus. But the same mission.
When I started The Simple Heart blog in October of 2021, a little more than a year ago, I had a simple goal: to help our species understand, and accept, our simple animal hearts. I wrote at the time:
Many animal rights advocates see the fundamental problem of this planet as the belief in human supremacy, or the false idea that “they” (the animals) are not like “us” (human beings). This blog will turn that thesis on its head. What if the more fundamental problem is that we believe that “we” are not like “them.” We are, after all, animals. And, like the animals, we have a simple nature that can shine through beautifully when our society allows it to do so.
We could do so much good if we accepted that simple fact. If we learned to accept our simple, animal hearts.
I hoped that, by embracing the idea that, “We are animals, too,” we could create a community that avoids the judgment, resentment, and hatred that fills so much of the human condition. As I learned from my dog Lisa — a killer who loved — even the most seemingly vile acts are often motivated by good and simple intentions.
I also hoped, however, that when we started understanding that we are just animals, we would embrace our kinship with the other beings of this earth.
The goals and hopes of the project were very clear. But the strategy for achieving it was much less clear. The blog, and the organization I started 6 months ago to fulfill the same mission, has bounced around from community organizing to storytelling to legal defense.
But now, after winning a historic victory in Utah, I finally have some clarity. To help people realize, “We are animals, too, with simple and good hearts,” there is no better metaphor than rescue. This has been proven over the last ten years by the most powerful actions in animal rights history. It was proven again by what happened in court just a couple months ago. Rescue, as I have said, is not just the defining action of the animal rights movement. It is the defining action of our species, when we are at our best.
But rescue, to prevail, needs a defense. For that reason, my work is shifting dramatically towards rescue; so, too, will the organization I founded with Priya and Dean. Strategic litigation will become one of the three pillars of our work. I have learned things from our legal battles over the last 6 years, and those lessons need to be deployed. The other two pillars are just as important: storytelling about rescues (including this blog, and a new video production effort); and training for rescue.
One way to think about this project, and the new focus of the blog, is to understand the world through the eyes of an animal rescuer. Some things might look very similar to the way the rest of the world looks at an issue, e.g., homelessness or mental health. But other issues, such as climate change, are transformed when you look at them through the lens of animal rescue and animal rights.
I hope we can take that journey together, as I won’t just be defending myself in court in 2023. I’ll be taking on new clients, in some of the most important cases in animal rights.
Pursuant to that new focus, however, I’ll be scaling back some of my public writing. I started this project with a blog post every day; it was an overwhelming but exhilarating challenge. The publishing schedule is now down to two a week, but even that workload is becoming unsustainable, if I am to represent my clients (and the animals) as effectively as they deserve.
So, on a forward going basis, this blog will be published on Thursdays. The good thing is that it will hopefully be higher quality, and accompanied by other content (videos, livestreams) that will amplify its impact. And the goals and theme of what I am writing will be more clear and specific:
Rescuing animals transformed me. I hope, by what I write in the Simple Heart, it can also help transform the world.
The first blog in this new theme and structure will come out next Thursday, and it will be the sequel to something I wrote a few weeks ago: A Simple Plan for Transforming Every Slaughterhouse on Earth into Sanctuary. The plan, as I will argue next week, is deceptively simple: rescue the animals, no matter what it takes.
But the simplicity of those words belies a deeper complexity. And, indeed, my understanding of the power of open rescue has changed significantly since we first launched the DxE Open Rescue Network in 2015. I’ll be writing about what has changed, and how it has strengthened my views on the power of rescue, in the blog next week.
Until then, thanks as always for reading. And I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful holiday.