Animal Liberation on its own terms

It’s time to leave behind the theories of instinctual behavior in animals. Why did we as animal rights advocates buy into the very schemes that have been set up in the first place to legitimate animal oppression? It’s theoretically possible to establish new norms and standards, new normalities in our concept of nonhumans,  with which we should be able to explain, or rather describe, all that what we want and need to express in regards to nonhuman animals.

We readily take the boxes that the sciences hand over to us, into which we place “everything animal”, but then we claim “hey animals have rights and they have rights to their freedom”. But it’s exactly with those categories of zoology and biology that we unwillingly bereave them of their own world. You can’t take a living being out of his or her contexts, but that’s what the sciences do: they dissect life, they track life, they control every bit of a living being to draw conclusions. This form of approaching nonhumans is in itself an incredibly disrespectful stance.

It must be possible to reach new shores to discuss animals and their lives in a manner that would properly fit a liberation movement dedicated to their interests.

Animal liberation is for a part a matter of expanding our own views first; we are the ones who hold the animal world hostage to our mostly wrong views of them.

These other worlds and not-human cultures have their own terms, can we open our minds to that circumstance?

Animal activism as a free field

Some people who criticize the animal rights cause, possibly mistake any definition of animal rights by activists with the cause itself.

(The cause comprises activism but is built on subjectives pertaining to animal autonomy: the problematic and complex relation of human society towards nonhuman animals, nonhuman animals by themselves, the context of animals and nature.)

Aditionally, if AR activists are ignorant of human rights violations, it doesn’t mean that their animal rights activism is fully informed either. Speciesism is a complex issue and if animal rights activists get something wrong about how speciecism works in society, then nobody will even notice.

When a human rights activist gets something wrong about what is best for humans we might not even notice that either, but obviously that happens for other reasons.

In the case of our insensitivity to animal issues it’s the remoteness to the world animals have been relegated to by speciesist terms of religion, philosophy, natural sciences (in a sometimes undetected yet so obvious way), culture foremostly.

Our ignorance in the field of human rights or our blindness to causes of injustice amongst people stems probably from disinformedness, a lack of freedom possibly, opportunism maybe, adherence to scholarly doctrine, elitism … I believe.

However back to where I came from: to assume that the cause of animal rights can be equalized with animal rights activism automatically, ignores the fact of how uninformed we all are yet of how speciesism and nonhuman animal objectification works. The atrocities done to the animal world are on a level that can’t be compared.

And to close this thought: Dedicating ones efforts to animal causes doesn’t necessarily mean that one takes a posthumanist stance where we all beings are “one” in a sense. Evolutionary there undoubtedly is a continuity, but on a cultural level it can be rather the interest in animals as “coexistent living and sensitive beings”.

Many forms of speciesism

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.

“What do you have to say anyway?” – This

these famed masters of art, does their art have to impress me, because their art is praised, priced and preserved by their protegees and the ever so hungry arts-craving-audience?

Since art is separated from any “initialness” in a person, and since the person is in that way only desired as some occurring individual in the vast, unlimited audience, art can just stuff the heads, just like any undesirable human process can.

Every artifact can stuff my head. Can the idiot give (think something) in return? (My picture is painted in black and white. Black is the “I” and white that which stays white or turns gray.)

… A poem by Marion Canby

… a meadow … with nesting life
spared by a mower’s blade set high
the flowering weeds and grasses strewn
over the field to be raked and dried
by rays from a fire set high in the heaven.
From: High Mowing by Marion Canby, 1932

I came across this poem in an opening quote, namely in “Leadership” by James MacGregor Burns. This stanza is amazingly beautiful. Googling I found that Willa Cather must have been in contact with Marion Canby….