We act as if
at a ‘comparatively more primitive’ level.
It did never stop. And live forms are diverse, with no lesser, no fitter and no better ones.
(Gruppe Messel, Animal Autonomy: branching out of the holistic.)
If I asked you “What makes up ‘animal life’?” and “What meaning does nonhuman animal life have, when you compare it to human life?”
Would your answer consist mostly of references to:
Biology and natural sciences? Philosophy? Religion? Or, a mixture of all, i.e. the common views held about nonhuman animal life?
How about you’d once just ask just yourself in regards to other-than-human-animals, as free from prejudice as possible, and use your own reason and observation and social experiences with nonhumans to a full extent, and view them on every possible level of friendly and social inter-species encounter.
Renuardine, vegans of color / DE
Caring for others with the goal of justice
If systemic oppression lead to you having to live a life under constant fear, if you were being tortured and eventually murdered, and your life and death was accompanied by ridicule and despise, and it was said that you’d only act upon instincts, no one would believe you, no one would in fact even understand you and your language and your ways, and they’d look upon your behaviour and dissect your brain, to explain to the rest of the world who and what you were – as if they knew. And the same that happened to you, was the same that millions and billions of those who were like you would have to endure like you, with you.
Which reaction of others, who weren’t in the place of your group, and who’d even belong to the oppressors group, and, who’d even have a say to some extent in that group, would you think was the most appropriate:
Google says it is ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.’
Merriam Webster says it is: ‘ the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it’, ‘the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this.’
Google says is the
‘sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.’
Merriam webster says is
‘a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.’
Google: ‘compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.’
MW: ‘kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly.’
Google: ‘just behavior or treatment.’
MW: ‘the quality of being just, impartial, or fair’, ‘conformity to truth, fact, or reason.’
Dear fellow AR activist,
I personally don’t know where even any total liberation activists stand in detail. Of course it’s decisively crucial that the interest in nonhuman-related-ethical-issues is continuously gaining momentum, and every event (or activity, or even thought) that is taking place to grow this momentum is an active expression of an overall ethical development evoluting in our societies. I believe in such developments, and I believe they are driven by many different forces and factors.
I am however generally suspicious of the internal structures of movements, for as long as an idea hasn’t taken ground and formed solidly enough in a society for it to be expressed pluralistically enough, so that you can argue with a full spectra of positions.
The canon of Animal Liberation or AR has strong tendencies to be unisono, and I blame that on the movements inner dynamics. And it is this narrowness within the movement why I always try to double check what exactly is being practised and promoted beyond the bigger messages of any strongly idealistic event.
With total liberation events so far nothing seems transparent to me, structurally more than from the given goals and intentions.
I for myself prefer solutions to be less “total” and more sticking to the realities of the details.
Just another fellow AR activist
Panda Bob @ Animal Place, California, 2014.
Who makes up the space of “the” Animal Rights debate?
How do you get your own specific message across if it’s yet unrepresented?
And how can you audibly express yourself?
This fragment as a PDF (Link opens in a new window)
B, L and P. / @animalogy
In the AR movement as we have it today, there is not a lot of space for individual voices, unless that is, you fulfil some prerequisites. For instance:
– You have to be part of a group or “fraction” in some way. Problematic, because of group dynamics.
– You must support and repeat opinions of the ones considered to be experts in their fields. Problematic, because disempowering to individual reasoning and thought development.
-You have to stay away from making Animal Politics, by restricting yourself to marginally discussing animal issues, if you don’t meet the first two criterions, and stay out of “expert” (or “insider”) issues. Problematic, because animal issues quickly grow into a core concern for any individual who has once stepped out of our human-centric frames.
Once you “anti-speciesistically” emancipate, you might find out that you need own ways and spaces to:
– Plainly speak about your relation to nonhumans in a non-biologistic way
– Discuss humans and ‘being human’, human society and being part of human society, in a more fundamentally critical way
– Rethink the human/society/nonhuman-complex in new, strictly non-anthropocentric, yet non-biologistic ways.
So, what we advise any “Nonhuman Animal Ally” to do, is the following, and coming from this angle might even help turning today’s “Animal Rights movement” into an “Animal Rights empowerment, consciousness and thinking” that won’t even need a single specific “movement” anymore, that will instead become a pluralistic constituent of our overall political and rights consciousness:
– Don’t make your own activism and opinion adaptable, in order not to conflict with people or groups from within “the movement”. Stay individually “whole”.
– Express yourself, disregardful of whether you find your place or not.
You really have to considers that the roots of the “Animal Rights movement” are question-worthy in a few ways, and also that “animal concern”, encompasses concerns as ultimative, direct, immediate as thinking about ones own existence. Don’t be disappointed (or lead astray) when you discover that so far there is no clear non-anthropocentric approach to Animal Rights, as no alternative to seeing animals under primarily biologistic criterions has evolved in the “Animal Rights movement” so far.
The past perspectives of humans about “animals” tended to be religiously driven/inspired (as major systems of dominion in the historical past). The natural scientific relation to the nonhuman animal world though, also has it’s long history of choosing a one single-level (and again domineering) standpoint towards nonhuman animals.
These days, the individual with her/his immediate experience and knowledge about her/his animal relation, might be the only instance of where we can find and establish a real non-anthropocentric yet constructively relating position, which would yet have to be politicized, to become visible.
The pressures of conformity amongst systems that human society creates and has created in the past, don’t allow for much else than putting new vine in old bottles.
Can we combine sanctuaries / protected spaces, and veganic land ‘use’ and merge them into new intergrative comprehensive models?
For a non-anthropocentric and anti-speciesist inclusionary organic vegan (veganic) agriculture:
There so far is no such thing as a stated “positive” veganic (that means: organic vegan agricultural) animal rights consciousness.
I wonder why it does not occur to most other vegans in the veganic (vegan organic) movement, that humans and nonhuman animals can co-exist without exploitation?
It’s obvious that the forceful exploitation of the reproductive system of nonhumans must be fought against. And any form of overpopulation (especially the forced one) is disastrous for the planet.
Paramount from a vegan standpoint is that we ought to create and protect space for those lives, which had but no choice.
Sanctuaries and veganic projects should grow into comprehensively integral safe-spaces, where all beings find natural spaces to co-exist.
I think we cannot say that it is speciesist and exploitative if both humans and nonhuman animals live together in a natural space without harming, exploiting or using each other.
I believe that we as vegans ought to aim for the civilisatory goal to live together with other animals on this planet in a peaceful manner, and mixed communities, based on the idea of sanctuaries, biotopes and veganic ecological models, could be established.
If we are not going to develop a consciousness for co-existence in practice, we fail at creating an all-encompassing life-affirming ethic.
Why do we perpetuate the mislead assumptions that the only options we can chose from as humans are either degrading nonhuman animals or otherwise totally excluding them and making them nonexistent in a desired perhaps utopian daily reality?
To me the bigger segment of the veganic movement appears as if it creates and expresses a bifurcation in what veganism ideally should and could mean.
As good at it looks now, and as much as vegan farming practices are heading for the major part in a promising, important and ethically inevitable direction, the veganic code of ethics nevertheless comes short at addressing the key factor of veganism which is the ideal of including all animals and thus re-establishing their rights.
As ethical vegans we owe the idea of the animal sanctuary our fullest commitment.
(This is an altered version of my comment: Veganic plus Animal Sanctuaries plus Ethics)
Making Anti-Speciesism itself a subject
We rightly want to ask people to do more than donate money to animal advocacy groups. We rather hope that people make others aware of veganism – in ethical terms. So only or mainly talking about vegan health and cooking (for instance) isn’t doing the job (far less is promoting vegan consumerism).
In which way to thematize speciesism?
1. By comparison …
A lot of the drawings of analogies are taken in reference to racism and sexism. In the discussions though the weight tends to lay more on the specifics of racist and sexist psychology, in those analogies, than on the juxtaposed speciesist type of psychological mindsets.
2. With cases …
On the other hand activists who discuss actual on the spot atrocities that are taking place and which mark those faces of speciesism, they do show the sheer extremes of killing, and those extremes again can’t be directly compared with other forms of discrimination. (At least we are confronted here with the fact that every category of an atrocity has own contextualities.)
How do you thematize speciesism?
In the frame of human anthropology? Or by comparing biological observations and findings on nonhuman / humans … ? Sociologically?
My first suggestion is – cos I really do see that too little we describe how speciesism psychologically works in practice, is: let us have a look at the HOW’S of how speciesism manifests in basically many varying forms.
This is a highly fragmentary list for going into that direction:
Many forms of speciesism
Objectifying nonhuman animals takes various forms:
– in legal terms nonhumans are classified as property
– in religious terms the separation is being made spiritually, man is preferred and given the right to dominate all that is on earth
– philosophical schools may give an array of different reasons for why whichever form of speciesism might be ethically sound or a right view to maintain
– the natural sciences differentiate between beings driven by instinct, the lower forms of life, the higher forms and man with the supposedly most complex make up of mind and brain.
– carnism could be said to be a term for one form of speciesism that classifies domesticated farm animals only (or finally, as in the case of horses and some exotic animals that are eaten such as ostriches) as “meat” or suppliers of food.
– pets on the other side are. in spite of being loved by our society, also affected by speciesist views on them.
– wild animals are forced to make up the object for hunters and hunting culture’s needs to re-exercise continuously the idea of a primeval and supposedly ideal condition of man as the hunter and gatherer.
– but also wild animals are affected by argumentations that target them in terms of whether they are intrusive species or should be seen as protectable.
For every animal species we seem to get one or more forms of speciesist views, classifications, argumentations. In every aspect that defines the human view on his or her environment we seem to come across a derogative stance on nonhumans.
When we discuss speciesism we should bear in mind how complex and difficult to analyze the subjugative view on animal life is in our cultures and societies.
I think taking a direct look at the cloaked psychology behind speciesism (itself), we can get closer to the framework that enables a speciesist society in the first place.
With ‘cloaked psychology’ I don’t mean a model such as it was discussed with the ‘carnism’-term, which focussed on two forms of speciesism basically: pets that are loved, yet have no rights, and so called farm animals that are being killed for “food”, and have of course also no rights.
With ‘cloaked psychology’ I mean questions of why as a fact human traits are values over nonhuman animal traits, or the same goes for ‘interests’, features, attributes, realities, etc.
By breaking down the probably manifold components of the speciesist framework, we can find our way through a mess of a collective-psychological character, I think.
LIGHTNING SPARKLES in
Lightning sparkles in beetle souls
bird souls fox souls
dog souls cat souls
tiger souls elephant souls
Lightning sparkles in all living beings
huge lightning sparkles firework
what god prescribes
radio silence to you?
What upsets me specifically about religious slaughter is that it’s done on behalf of a religion, on behalf of a god. When our messed up society, our morally derailed society craves for dead corpses of tortured nonhumans I can say, well of course, our society is totally unethical, they don’t respect animals and basically also not humans, and not nature. What counts in our society is good old greed and profit.
But when a religion teaches its adherents that you ought to slaughter, then that what should stand for the sanctity of phenomena – the act of religion / being religious, having created religion – turns into the total negation, and really the TOTAL negation of life and of the value of life.
If people can’t respect other animals because the natural sciences have designed an explanatory model that puts humans of top of everything biologically, then that’s one thing, but if religion degrades life and tries to sell its lies of “love” then the world stands upside down.
I don’t understand why some people respect religion more than life.
What strikes me so weird is, that most people don’t seem authentic to me. And the ones that do seem authentic, might not understand what I’d like to bring across. I am only here to do what I personally can do and say what I think. I insist on being critical! Even if it makes me an outsider.
Another thing that came into my mind … a picture: devil, chimera, hybrid … ? However this is a ornamental depiction of an animalesque being, very nice … :