The other day I received an email from a family friend who had recently discovered a new National Geographic show that focuses itself around the rescue group Rescue Ink. Rescue Ink is, according to its website, “a rescue group unlike any you’ve seen before: a bunch of tattooed, motorcycle-riding tough guys who have joined together to fight animal cruelty.” My family friend wanted to know how I felt about the show- she thought it was a hilarious new idea.
New idea? I was perplexed by this statement at first- what’s so new about a Rescue Group? But as I thought about it, I realized what she meant. Any practicing vegetarian, vegan or animal welfarist will tell you that they’ve come across people who have teased them about their beliefs and practices. Why is this? Perhaps it’s because, in a lot of ways, the general public has a picture of people who place animal rights high on their list of priorities as emotional, wimpy and quite frankly- silly.
Of course the guys from Rescue Ink are none of the above (I mean, look at them!) The simple fact that these guys are so far opposite of the typically perceived animal rights advocate has in and of itself created a media storm. The articles are everywhere- The New York Times, MSNBC, Newsday, etc.
But I have to say- I like it. I like the idea behind the show, and I like the media storm it has created. When guys like this come along, they show that not all animal rights advocates are soft, fuzzy, silly people- we are people, all kinds of people, who care about animal welfare for all kinds of reasons. There is no one face to the animal rights movement and this group of brawny, tattooed men is letting everyone know that that’s ok too.