A common worry within and without the animal rights movement is that nonhuman animals lack the ability to speak for themselves - making animal rights activists "a voice for the voiceless." Past movements relied on the voices of the oppressed - from Sojourner Truth to Cesar Chavez to Harvey Milk.
Mei Hua was an answer to this worry. Though I never met her, it feels as if I have after watching her escape from the jaws of death and hearing her rescuers speak of her. She was full of life. Though Mei Hua's caretaker writes that she was scarred by her past, she staged a resilient comeback, fell in love, and developed friendships. Her story inspired hundreds of thousands, including many of my friends and family.
Sadly, Mei Hua died today of ovarian cancer - a disease brought on by deliberate breeding by humans so that she would produce as many eggs as possible. I didn't think hearing of her passing would bring tears to my eyes, but it did. Today is a day of mourning, because tomorrow the urgent fight resumes to ensure that this violence stops.