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!
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)
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!
Theriocides are happening unquestioned, while climate neutrality is being envisioned.
Animality’s habitat > ‘nature’ > is continuously being appropriated as being the indisputable space of human domain, while earth’s history has proven that the masters of fostering and retaining a holistic ecological balance are undeniably and almost exclusively the nonhuman ones.
Not every perspective is provable to everyone, attitudes are influenced by positions
People don’t see themselves under primarily biological terms, they say their culture and their social life is a proof of being more than just driven by instinctual biologically explainable factors. They say the have their mind, their spirit, their thinking.
A perspectival shift to not see nonhumanity under biological terms primarily, does not need a proof, it needs the will to take another stance towards our environment. Seeing nonhumanity non-biologically and as individuations of Life in its own merits, seems to be unwanted and is treated almost like a form of “blasphemy” against an almighty scientifical system of categorization in our current societies and their Zeitgeists. Stances, positions are however not a matter of proof so much, but much more of choosing a specific perhaps differing standpoint and a perhaps fundamentally different angle of perspective – and that might be one that can’t be proven to the other side, since their outlook is so much predetermined by their own interest.
In the case of evaluating the own interest and the interest of others, operating with proof to privilege one side while disadvantaging the other, forces us to think in one direction only. We assume that it is objectively proven or probable that for instance nonhumans lose less if they die compared to humans, or that it is objectively provable that the reasoning of nonhumans can be behaviouristically determined and would not be autonomous. Proof selects a supposedly objective framework of reference, if you chose another framework of reference you come to a different kind of conclusion: an example, the starkest one perhaps is the different perspective an ecocentric person choses versus a humancentric one at a given moment.
How the process of life is being reflected
- Regarding human life – some sequences are praised in extremes, while some sequences are faded out, being kept cloaked
- Regarding nonhuman animal life – a taboo-zone within human collectivity , its continuously being suggested that their death is meaningless, compared to ours, considerations of justice are avoided
- Ecology, discussed simply as something that has to sustain “us” humans
Gruppe Messel, Tierautonomie
Every human relates to nonhuman animals, only the most people do it in speciesist ways; they see nonhumans as a means to an end. A specific of speciesism is that as a nonhuman you may be seen as “regular” food. I.e. eating you doesn’t count as a form of cannibalism. The mental divide that human societies draw here is that you may be a generally physically usable source to the degrees where you may be “destroyed” under the utmost imaginable forms of torture and pain.
Gruppe Messel, Tierautonomie / Animal Autonomy