Transcript of Kucinich Address to Animal Rights 2003

FARM recently posted a transcript of Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich’s address to Animal Rights 2003 in California. For some reason, Kucinich leaves out his plans to suck up to dairy farmers and others while campaigning in Iowa,

IÂ’m very grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today, and I want to begin by saluting each and every one of you individually for your personal commitment to animal rights, and for what that commitment represents for yourselves as individuals, and for who you are in the world.

We realize that we are in a world which truly needs compassion – that we need to extend compassion to one another and to everything living. And that our cause can truly be to lift up this world from a condition of suffering and cruelty to all creatures of this planet. And through elevating the cause of every creature, we elevate our own humanity. We lift up the cause of humanity by reaching out and connecting with all things living. It is our sense of interconnection with all living things that brings us to respect the rights of animals. That we understand that animals are not to be ‘lower than.’ That animals should not have less of a claim to existence, less of a claim to the possibility of survival, less of a claim to dignity.

Your commitment translates into specific action in raising the questions that must be raised about the use of animals in research, in raising the questions that must be raised about the use of animals in testing, in looking at the conditions in which animals are placed on farms. About challenging a corporate ethic which sees animals as things to be exploited and not beings which in and of themselves have some basic rights.

So your presence here serves as a reminder to this country that our presence on this planet has a higher calling. That we can, through our activism, lift up the cause of the humblest beings. That we can, through our activism, open up not only our own hearts but the hearts of people everywhere, so that our society can become more compassionate. So that our society can be more loving. So that our society can create policies which are caring for animals. Every one of us knows a story of animal cruelty. Every one of us knows how in one way or another, official policies have sanctioned cruelty to animals.

I will work with you to put compassion into action in our policies with respect to animals in this country. And I will work with you to have America set a higher standard, not only for this country, but for the world to make sure that all of godÂ’s creatures, that all animals, are given a chance to have dignity in our society, and are given a chance to experience the appreciation they should have as living beings.

About eight and a half years ago, I had the chance to make a transition in my own life, in terms of my own diet. And as someone who had a somewhat conventional diet, I learned that the choices I was making could be brought more in resonance more with who I felt that I was. And when I moved from a more conventional diet to a pretty much a vegan diet –a combination of, for me, vegetarianism, veganism, and a macrobiotic diet — I discovered a number of things that I share with people, because they ask me about it when I go around the country. I experienced better health, first of all, a renewed sense of energy and vitality, and also a greater appreciation for the choices that any individual makes that have an impact on sustainability of our world. Because what all of us stand for here really connects to the deeper issues of sustainability, of survival, of not just our species, but of all species. Because we understand this interconnection, this web of life that connects us to everything. We begin to understand how the choices each one of us makes every day influences the choices of the world. As we choose, so chooses the world. This is true when we are elevating the cause of a species, and itÂ’s also true when we elevate the cause of our planet.

As the next President of the United States I intend to amplify the concerns that are expressed here by leading the way towards total nuclear disarmament and abolition. I intend to have the United States rejoin the world community by signing the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Small Arms Treaty, the Land Mine Treaty, join the International Criminal Court, and sign the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty. I intend to take this country away from unilateralism and pre-emption and first-strike doctrines to re-embrace the world in a cause of world peace. We can create a new world, and we will.

This calling which brings you here today, this calling which excites your heart, moves your spirit to lift up the cause of all species, is a calling that we can make the calling of the world, as we call the world to connect in a great effort to once and for all work to make war itself archaic. We need to challenge the people of the nations of the world, and the leaders of the nations of the world, to help elevate the condition of this planet – to let go of war, to let go of the kind of suffering which war machines have created. We have to believe in our capacity to evolve. We have to believe in the capacity of this nation to create a new world.

This policy of creating a Department of Peace relates directly to such an undertaking. It relates to our capacity to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our society. What you stand for is the essence of nonviolence – is making sure that those who are the least able to defend themselves, the animals of our world, are going to be treated compassionately, and without having to suffer violence.

This is the time that I believe we can catch this impulse – we’re at an evolutionary moment – we can catch this evolutionary impulse to create a society which will work to make nonviolence an organizing principle. And we can do it in policies here at home, we can do it in policies working with nations of the world, we can do it so that we will be the people who created a new era – an era of peace, an era of justice, an era where we elevate the cause of all humanity and all species.

This is the time. You are the ones weÂ’ve been waiting for. Thank you!

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