Criticizing human supremacism while practicing it?
An animal sociology should in our view ideally be a system of full access to animality, i.e. nonhumans are social agents, the old view of “society” as “the strictly human realm” is passe. We live on earth.
It doesn’t make sense otherwise. #animalsociology #antispe
For an antibiologistic antispeciesist animal sociology!
Speciesism = destruction by definition
The “common denominator” is often used to derogate animality:
Like “animals and humans both experience emotions/sensations like pain, joy, hunger, affection” … yet nonhumans are supposedly driven by instinct the same people say at the same time …
The common denominator only is that: a common denominator. It doesn’t explain animality in any sense autonomous from human domination.
Putting ourselves as “humans” in hierarchies over nonhuman animality mostly stays in place with people citing the classic common denominators, where nonhumanity is attributed with any similarities or resemblances we think fit for the nonhuman animal realm.
As long as people explain nonhumanity in terms of biologistic or any other reductive parameters, common denominators aren’t really a step to break up the theoretical disenfranchisement that always makes up the basis for human societies to ‘destroy by definition’.
The common denominator gains its sense when you accept the compared one in their own autonomous and thus inviolable rights.
Mani and the Manichaeans >
Why the Manichaeans Abstained from Animal Food
> Against the Manichaeans, Augustine of Hippo
St. Augustin: The Writings Against the Manichaeans and Against the Donatists, vol 4 of A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, ed. Philip Schaff (Buffalo, 1887; Google Books: Online Library of Free eBooks).
Much of which is known about “Why the Manichaeans Abstained from Animal Food,” is related by St. Augustin in his Writings Against the Manichaeans from 368-402.
Augustin informs us that the Manichaens in “abstaining from the slaughter of animals and from injuring plants” called “the destruction of a tree or of an animal murder,” with the belief that “in the case of men, we have a community of rights…the same in the case of beasts and trees.” (84)
Flesh, you [Manichaeans] say, is made up of pollution itself. (79)
[According to the Manichaeans] part of God…exists in corn, beans, cabbage, and flowers and fruits. From the beauty of the color…and the sweetness of the taste; this is evident; and as these are not found in rotten substances, we learn that their good has been taken from them. (80)
You [Manichaeans] do not eat flesh, and so your followers must not slaughter animals. (84)…You make this slaughter unlawful even for your followers. (86)
The [Manichaeans] story…is that the heavenly princes who were taken from the race of darkness and bound, and have a place assigned them in this region by the Creator of the world, have animals on earth specially belonging to them, each having those coming form his own stock and class; and they hold the slaughters of those animals guilty, and do not allow them to leave the earth, but harass them as much as they can with pains and torments. (85)
What [Manichaeans] object to in sacrifice is the slaughter of animals.…You [Manichaeans] are merciful to beasts, believing them to contain the souls of human beings. (169).
Augustine asks why “if you [Manichaeans] will not eat flesh why should you not slay animals in sacrifice to your God, in order that their souls, which you hold to be not only human, but do divine as to be members of God Himself, may be released from the confinement of flesh, and be saved from returning by the efficacy of your prayers? Happy vegetables, that, torn up with the hand, cut with knives, tortured in fire, ground by teeth, yet reach alive the altars of your intestines! Unhappy sheep and oxen, that are not so tenacious of life, and therefore are refused entrance into your bodies! Such is the absurdity of your notions.…Why do they not act up to their opinions about other things as well as about animals? Why do they not abstain altogether, and starve themselves to death, instead of persisting in their blasphemies? (170-171)
You [Manichaeans] consider it a crime to kill animals, because…the souls of men pass into them.…[Gentile philosophers] dreaded slaughtering a relative in the animal; but you dread the slaughter of your god, for you hold even the souls of animals to be his members. (261)
And although at first the following two passages might suggest that Augustine was an abstainer of animal food himself, a few lines at the end of the paragraph as well as his continued tirades against “the Manichaeans prohibition against the use of flesh,” confirm that this is not the case.
Many who are strong [abstain] for the sake of the weak; with many the reason for so doing is…but that they may have a cheaper diet, and may lead a life of greatest tranquillity, with the least expensive provision for the support of the body.…Those, then who are able, and they are without number, abstain both from flesh and from wine for two reasons; either for the weakness of their brethren, or for their own liberty. Charity is principally attended to. There is charity in their choice of diet, charity in their speech, charity in their dress, charity in their looks. Charity is the point where they meet, and the plan by which they act. To transgress against charity is thought criminal, like transgressing against God. Whatever opposes this is attacked and expelled; whatever injures it is not allowed to continue for a single day. (61)
It is clear, then, I think for what end we should abstain from flesh and wine. The end is threefold; to check indulgence, which is mostly practiced in this sort of food, and in this kind of drink goes in length of intoxication; to protect weakness, on account of the things that are sacrifices and offered in libation; and, what is most praiseworthy of all, from love, not to offend the weakness of those more feeble than ourselves, who abstain from all things.…Prove then to me your doctrine that flesh eating defiles the eater, when it is taken without offending any one, without any weak notions and without any excuses. (79)
Can anybody tell me why anyone needs scientific proof about animal cognition and sentience, etc. Address the individual/group themselves to get an answer in and under their own terms!
Those middlemen are never authorized to judge about congnitions/sentiences that they most likely don’t even understand – by measuring limited criteria with limited parameters.
Those middlemen see the animals in question in oversimplified ways, in relation to factual reality, just to offer some well meant biologistic data about your “species” in question.
They’d never use such parameters to describe themselves, as humans, but nonhumans can supposedly be objectified and limited in such scientific ways.
Nonhumans are social subjects/selves/agents not biological objects.
antispeciesist animal sociology
Recent thoughts I tweeted about animal allyship when it turns weird: https://twitter.com/tiere_am_rhein/status/1279764646757629960
Weird when people call the human friends of a nonhuman animal their “dad” e.g.,
blurring out that this nonhuman has own parents ( – and these nonhuman families have tragic histories …),
while talking at the same time about what’s supposed to be radical antispeciesism. #antispe
Weird also when humans pose with single nonhumans for photos, acting as if being with a human was the greatest thing, and socialising for nonhumans with other nonhumans would be a bit secondary at that moment. #anthropocentrism
Their is a lot of these type of weird things going on the “our” (the vegan/AR) movement … strikes me weird.
Scrap the biologistic speciesism that leads you to assume that nonhumans wouldn’t know that the/ir entire world is being oppressed.
A reductive concept of intelligence leads you to think of nonhumans as having to be pressed into the human concepts of how to measure perception.
The bad thing is that we still run around with views of animals and animality that are not much different to the “animal-machine” model (by Descartes), only on an “advanced”/”diversified” biochemical level. The idea that animals are acting in causalistic ways is still similar.
 Eine Frage, die mit einer Frage beantwortet werden muss … Haben Tiere Vernunft und können Tiere denken? https://simorgh.de/about/die-frage-nach-dem-tierlichen-denken-ist-mit-einer-gegenfrage-zu-beantworten/
A very biologistic term: “artgerecht”
The German language holds a term that describes that there can be things/actions by humans that are “artgerecht” for nonhuman animal species. That there human actions/treatments that are suitable for a specific species. This term stems mostly from animal agriculture to legitimate their imprisonment and killing of nonhumans and from zoologists classifying nonhuman animals by defining in a reductive way their specific typical “needs” (…).
Humans wouldn’t want to reduce themselves onto categorical needs such as: foraging, territorial behaviour and reproduction. The term “artgerecht” exactly invites you do see nonhumans and their behaviour basically in such reductive way. All behaviour is classified and traced back to some categories humans hold a definitory might over.
Ecological complexity in regards to nonhuman animal sociology is not really a subject for anyone who applies such typical form of biologistic speciesism. The tragic thing is that many people in the German speaking countries use exactly this term when they seek to defend nonhuman animals, so this kind of terminology is not being reflected critically at all. Like they want justice for nonhumans, but they also want to keep pigeonholing nonhumans biologistically in such fundamental ways.
Meaningful, super complex behaviour becomes belittled with clichés of nonhuman species behaviour.
It’s a term that leaves nonhumans in their situations where they are exposed to human definition, when allies use such term, they are not making these settings visible.
“Artgerecht” bases much on the concept of “instinct” – which is one of the most questionable concepts to encounter nonhuman animals and animality with
Fragment continued …
“Artgerecht” alsways means the setting is given or influenced by humans.
“Artgerecht” always means the setting is given/influenced by humans.
Interesting is how rhetorics, that imply that a nonhuman is or should be treated (…) “artgerecht”, tend to just modify ideas/institutions of domination.
The details for the staged normalcy are always chosen carefully dependent on setting and animal group:
labs – agriculture – captivity – mingling with wildlife.
The idea behind the progress supposedly aimed at by the “artgerecht” treatment/measure (…) always sets forth that a nonhuman is basically instinctual.
This is the old prejudice about nonhuman animality not be self-creative….
Probably only 1 percent of people in the Animal Rights movement understand the necessity of anti-biologism in antispeciesism. They understand the problematic key role biologism has played in racism, in sexism … and as we see finally too: in the derogation of nonhuman animality.
antibiologistic antispeciesist animal sociology – build/develop/evolve liberated terms
1% … and even if it’s just you … don’t let the others act as if humans like you wouldn’t exist!
Taking animals/animal groups “as a whole” still often deindividualises. Something like an antispeciesist-antibiologistic animal sociology would be a emancipative step against that.
Talking about speciesist injustice means talking single fates –billions of single fates. Routinely blurring out the fate-scope means avoiding the subjective level of ‘nonhumanness’.
Objectification even if “well meant” is derogatory towards nonhumans.
antispeciesist-antibiologistic animal sociology
Speciesism is not alone the institutionalized killing it’s also the ritualized killing.
It’s the sacrifice – done for the “human good”. The idea of sacrificing the life of the other for my own “greater good”, still holds the facet of the meaning the subjective-other must have had in my eyes, before or as I chose to sacrifice him/her. A sacrifice means to hurt/harm the other, to hurt/harm his/her integrity that is being put below some “other, ‘higher’ needs…”.
If I trace the killing back to pure “utilitary needs” humans had, how do you explain speciesism beyond its institutionalized face, where nonhumans have become pure objects of humans explaining them? That is, how do you explain ritual killings or speciesism in culture, arts, religion? Speciesist sadism/brutality?
The other is there.
All complexity of nonhuman animal communication/language that is going beyond any of the concepts we might use, can’t be fathomed at the moment in which you decide to set the standards, instead of leaving the subject open to stand for itself and acknowledging your limitations in comprehension.
Understanding nonhuman animals is not a playground for humanity to show how omniscient their understanding of the world is.
We should be able to respect borders, differences, uniqueness – we don’t have to define others in order to respect them as “whole” equally complex yet different beings.
Ecosocial Schisms, April 2020
Subordinating animality under any of our most promising political systems, somehow misses the point, since they all base on humancentered ideals so far.
Politics for animality will have to evolve on foundations of spatial and bodily freedom from destructive human interference and definition – on all levels.
Political tangents between new and common approaches can be a helpful path, but yet all political ideas that we know imply anthropocentric objectifications of nonhuman co-existence. The dominant strains in our histories of knowledge themselves purport the bases for the typical ethical shortcomings that mark the Anthropocene.
Gruppe Messel / Tierautonomie