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COMPASSION FATIGUE: Second young animal advocate to commit suicide in the U.S. within six months

American female veterinarians are five times more likely to commit suicide as other American women and American male veterinarians, twice as likely to commit suicide as other American men.

MERRITT CLIFTON: Vegan animal advocate Thomas “Tommy” Bloom Raskin, 25, died by suicide on New Year’s Eve 2020. His death, a shock to hundreds of family, friends, and acquaintances, rekindled an ongoing discussion of depression and suicides among committed activists that had barely simmered down since the July 28, 2020 suicide of New York City vegan animal advocate Shimon Shuchat, 22… Tommy Raskin, a 2017 graduate of Amherst College, second-year student at Harvard Law School, and a teaching fellow in general education, was son of U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin…

Recalled Jamie and Sarah Bloom Raskin of their son, “He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he majored in history and wrote a compelling senior thesis on the intellectual history of the animal rights movement. “Tommy became an anti-war activist, a badass autodidact moral philosopher and progressive humanist libertarian, and a passionate vegan who composed imperishable, knock-your-socks-off poetry linking systematic animal cruelty and exploitation to militarism and war culture.

“Last summer, he was a summer associate at Mercy for Animals and found a knack for actual lawyering,” Jamie and Sarah Bloom Raskin continued, both Harvard-educated lawyers themselves. “He recruited gently and lovingly — but supremely effectively — dozens and dozens of people, including his parents,” Jamie and Sarah Bloom Raskin added, “to the practice of not eating animals, and it will be hard to find anyone his age who has turned more carnivores into vegans than him. He also cheerfully opposed sectarian holier-than-thou sanctimoniousness among a handful of vegans he met and would say, ‘I’m working for a vegan world, not a vegan club.’”

Unfortunately, Jamie and Sarah Bloom Raskin narrated, “Tommy began to be tortured later in his 20s by a blindingly painful and merciless disease called depression… “He left us this farewell note ‘Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.’”… Commented Farm Animal Rights Movement founder Alex Hershaft, “We all have certain views of morality and virtue and we like to talk about it — Tommy actually did it.” Hershaft called Raskin’s death a “huge loss to the vegan movement and the future of animals everywhere”…

Shimon Shuchat, whom friends said had long suffered from chronic depression, died by suicide only six days after In Defense of Animals, of San Rafael, California, introduced him in a media release as lead contact for Respect for Fish Day, August 1, 2020. Respect for Fish Day was marked by “a diverse group of more than 250 organizations” to “address many concerns about the exploitation of fish species, the dangers of aquaculture, and animal cruelty,” intended to effect “changes in consumption and policy”…

“I was just talking and emailing with Shimon about his initiative to launch Respect for Fish Day,” posted Farm Animal Rights Movement [FARM] founder Alex Hershaft. “I was most impressed by his kindness and acumen. He sent me his senior thesis about the history of FARM.” Hershaft called Shuchat’s death “A huge loss to our movement,” a perspective immediately echoed by many other longtime grassroot animal rights activists and movement leaders…

Raskin killed himself two years to the day after Center for Disease Control & Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service officer Suzanne E. Tomasi, DVM, and five co-authors published a study entitled “Suicide among veterinarians in the United States from 1979 through 2015” in the January 1, 2019 edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association…

Producing research relevant to the suicides of animal advocates as well as veterinary professionals, who often develop feelings of helplessness in directly confronting animal suffering, Tomasi et al found that American female veterinarians are five times more likely to commit suicide as other American women. American male veterinarians… twice as likely to commit suicide as other American men. SOURCE…

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