An individual’s narrative – Animal Autonomy

Every individual animal has a narrative (in context with her experience of her habitat and environment).

Denying nonhuman animals their own languages, as autonomous communicative systems that linguistically have evolved independent of human linguistics, means denying animals moral agency, let alone the experience of an individual narrative.

Biologism and epistemological humancentrism reduce nonhuman animals to mere ‘explicable organisms’.

TIERAUTONOMIE / GRUPPE MESSEL

Why using the dead bodies of Nonhumans for art is not okay

If you consider yourself an anti-speciesist:

Using dead nonhuman animal bodies in art and for design, displays, etc. can never be consensual, because you don’t understand enough what a nonhuman individual might want or not want, to be able to definitely claim that he/she was okay with you using his/her body.

Don’t use nonhumans bodies in arts.

Why can’t you make vegan arts if you call yourself a vegan? Where should veganism unnecessarily end?

Check out alternatives, like the technique of artists like Keng Lye, for example, who creates realisitc 3-D arts.

How to dismantle speciesism?

Speciesism

– is not something unintentional, even if automatized for a big part in peoples thinking,

– it’s embedded in human history, it did not come overnight,

– it has many forms and problematic facets,

– and it is interconnected.

If we look at the foundations of this concept of species hierarchy (i.e. speciesism), we can see that a.) their fallacies can be dismantled, and b.) there is no option of not trying.

On what does speciesism base?

Different key aspect of speciesism lay in our perspectives and epistemologies coming from our angles of Religion/Spirituality, Rationality/Science, Philosophy, Culture/Civilization, Individuality/Society, in other words: the same factors that influence our outlooks on other humans and nature/the natural world.

The conflicts stemming from the systems underlying our views are comprehensive. Speciesism however is an expression of the fallacies of such systems.

This fragment as a PDF

TIERAUTONOMIE / Gruppe Messel

A not so clear relation: Animal Agency and Morality

Animal Agency and Morality

IS “MORAL AGENCY” A VALID CRITERION FOR CLASSIFYING DIFFERENT FACETS OF ANIMALITY?

The idea of “moral agency” resumes similar anthropocentric allocations in terms of biological and cultural demarkers, such as the conservative (species-hierarchical) hypotheses about Nonhumans have done.

The construction of “morality” as an act, should however ideally draw on non-anthropocentric perspectivic angles, to enable itself to touch upon the grounds of the large spectrum of co-existential modalities.

Questions:

1.) Which features, abilities and attributes are typically assumed as making up “animal agency” and, respectively, as typically making up “not-animal-agency”?

2.) On which criterions do these classifications base?

3.) What would a map of “animal agency” look like from a nonanthopocentric perspective?

TIERAUTONOMIE / Gruppe Messel

Mitgefühl als bedingter Gerechtigkeitsaspekt

Überlegung zu: Pazifismus

Zum Schutz von Leben hat Mitgefühl erst dann einen effektiven Sinn, wenn die Gerechtigkeit als Inhalt und Ziel dabei nicht aus den Augen verloren wird.

(HUMANITY) Im rechtlich durch Menschenrechtskonventionen abgesichterten Bereich, braucht das sensible Gleichgewicht des „Friedens“ eine gewisse Absicherung durch Maßnahmen, die „schützende Gewalt“ nicht immer und nicht gänzlich ausschließen.

(ANIMALITY) Im Falle oppressiver Gewalt gegen Nichtmenschen erwarten wir von Menschen die Freiwilligkeit und appellieren an das Mitgefühl, weil wir die Nichtmenschen in einer speziesistischen Gesellschaft und Welt gegenwärtig auf keiner gesellschaftlich und politisch konstituierten rechtlichen Grundlage schützen können.

Mitgefühl allein reicht in der Konfrontation mit nakter Gewalt aber in keiner Form aus.

Die einzige Grundlage, die eine Chance auf das Recht des Schutzes vor Gewalt (systemischer oder individueller Natur) bietet, ist die grundlegende Einforderung von Gerechtigkeit.

(Pazifismus im Kontext mit‚Humanity’ und ‚Animality’ als politisch definitorische Bereiche.)

TIERAUTONOMIE / Gruppe Messel

What is Animality, and what it isn’t

You are at risk of engaging in rhetorical branding if:

… ANIMALITY equals:

pigeonholing nonhuman animal otherness in (philosophical, religious, scientific, biologistic, aesthetic, anthropologic) terms of excluding zoopolitical spaces of animal autonomy.

… and if HUMANITY amounts to:

“we”, the “Homo sapiens”.

A new discourse needs fresh approaches – not just a new labelling system for an ongoing current of stable fallacies.

 

We speak with each other, somehow

First I ought to say I hope that nobody who might be picking up on this will be trying to take the issue in a simplisitc way. It is in no regards.

I’ve discussed the theme of ANIMAL LANGUAGES before in an essay I wrote a couple of years ago, and I am coming back to this topic in form of a additional project that I want to start on this site:

A Human + Nonhuman mutual translation project.

This is gonna be difficult, because I don’t want to imposed neither any potentially restricitve definitions on my nonhuman fellows that I am working with, nor do I want to cater to the chorus of voices who seek to belittle Nonhumans on the basis of their cultures and languages being different and for us not translatable.

But right here I must pause, because: why can’t we translate Nonhuman Animals?

As I previoulsy suggested, as anti-speciesist I don’t see a difference when it comes to trying to unserstand “my opposite” – I think we can try to understand each other possibly, if we come to see our own language (and parameters) as relative.

I come from a non- or der anti-biologistic and anti-humancentric approach, and I only want to turn my views into public input, because it is horrifically ridiculous and more than that tragic, that we narrow down the idea of language to a contemporary and highly restricted definition of the term.

Animals …

We speak. We all have different approaches of how we try to understand each other, but to draw a line based on biology is problematic, as long as we fail to question that parameter of explanation.

I suggest to get away from any speciesist paradigm (see fragment of forms of speciesism) and use plain and naked reason to find solitions to accepting communication as a fact in itself (without further reproach to explicability within a humancentric dominant context) and I believe a broadened classification of ‘language” in terms of our own human language even is needed, and which can’t aswell be narrowed down to a set of neurological and technical terms.

 

When speciesism feeds speciesism, and why AR activists should not fall for unproductive rhetorical twists

When speciesism feeds speciesism, and why AR activists should not fall for unproductive rhetorical twists.

From a recent discussion / Gruppe Messel

This Text as a PDF (link opens in a new window)

Two debates, the same problem with speciesist rhetorics blurring out a reasonable, coherent discourse.

A.)   The (unfortunately) highly controversial debate about Halal and Kosher slaughter methods.

B.)   The ‘humane meat’ marketing campaigns, using Animal Welfare as the as a vehicle for their sales boosting.

In both these speciesist segments – the one religious, the other one more plain-culturally based – you face an upholding of speciesist ideological tenets, additionally to the front-fight of defending a speciesist practice.

Why are we discussing these two examples of speciesist praxes?

Pro-arguments defending these two praxes, that are finding their basis in cultural reception, have permeated the AR debate to some extent on outreach strategies in regards to multiculturalism and culture – assuming “traditions” to be fixed societal phenomena/entities, immune to continuous ethical historical change.

—-

The Problem of rhetorical twists permeating the AR discussion in the case of A.):

The basic argument from an AR side defending religious slaughter methods, as no less “cruel” than pre-stun methods, goes that Nonhumans suffer either way, conditions in slaughterhouses might even be worse, at least as bad, and that all slaughter must stop.

Usually missed in this string of argumentation is a more detailed critique why e.g. slaughterhouses such as those designed by Temple Grandin are for example “as bad” as religious slaughter methods: So called “humane” slaughter methods have to be criticized and critically examined in their own respect.

The argument against the relativization of ‘different speciesist practices’ as in the case A.) from an AR position can be:

Why are we fighting to be able to film abuse in factory farms, when in the end of the day the comparably more abusive form of “handling” does not make any difference at all? After all we are always trying to alleviate any comparably more “extreme” forms of suffering in a situation where we can’t stop speciesism overnight. We do that, alongside with campaigning for veganism!

The trap with religious animal killing practices is that the degree to which killing becomes a deed of “good” is mostly being overlooked let alone critically discussed. Can you really expect strict believers to end killing Nonhumans, if it’s on behalf of an “almighty God” who decrees you to do so?

From an AR point of view we would say that no religion/religious tradition/belief whatsoever must come before either Animal Rights or Human Rights, equally.

—-

The Problem of rhetorical twists permeating the AR discussion in the case of B.):

Anecdotal example: A German animal advocacy group advertises for “humane meat” with the slogan: “For a life before becoming meat” (http://www.provieh.de/downloads_provieh/01_ki_schweine.pdf, 5/11/14), the same slogan is being used by the Austrian Green Party (http://www.gruene.at/europa/2-welle,5/11/14).

The problem being that cultural tenets of speciesism are not questioned, nor what strategies are effective at what given context. Strategies and analyses seem to fall short to a short-term mass-movement idea and behaviour within the AR community.

– There is no clear line drawn towards the impacts of what comes along as cultural heritage.

– Activists fight against the symptoms, not the cultural roots of speciesist rethorics that enables speciesist practices to be culturally active.

On one hand “humane slaughter” advocacy has moved “down”, in terms of Animal Advocacy ideals, to some of the “stricter” Animal Welfare organizations, like the CIWF with for example their recent campaign “Better-Chicken.org”: it seems that such welfarist pro “humane meat” campaigns throw the baby out of with the bathwater, since instead of trying to seek alleviating suffering with the goal of ending speciesism overall as a target, they are of course prolonging speciesist culture.

However, AR advocates who do distance themselves from such campaigns, seem to fail to address (analytically and strategically) how important it is to target the functionality of speciesism and its rhetoric in the plain culturally-based sense.

– AR places its critique more at the sociological and the psychological level, not as much on the anthropological and cultural level, and when at least not with a distanced view.

– A question would be e.g.: How does the argument “I only buy organic humanely slaughtered meat” set in? Why is it accepted in society seen from a cultural / anthropological critical perspective?

This type of question has to be contextualized with how a culture works, and how the individual takes a role within this cultural setting for example.

 

Besitznahme durch Abwertung und Definition. Beraubung tierlicher Autonomie.

Wenn Nichtmenschen nicht autonom wären, und nur der Mensch es wäre, wann in der Evolution und womit hätte diese menschliche Autonomie dann angesetzt, und warum sollte tierliches Handeln und Denken nicht als vom Menschen und seiner Objektivitätswahrnehmung autonom anerkannt werden?

„Seinen eigenen Gesetzen folgend / early 17th cent.: from Greek autonomia, from autonomos ‘having its own laws,’ fromautos ‘self’ + nomos ‘law.’“ – Zoe Autonomos

Besitznahme durch Abwertung und Definition. Beraubung tierlicher Autonomie.

(Fragment)

Wir sprechen eher den Tieren ihre tierliche evolutionäre Autonomie ab, statt dass wir an totalitäre Strukturen in der Menschheit im Bezug auf Nichtmenschen und die natürliche Umwelt glauben. Unser Blick auf Nichtmenschen und die „Natur“ ist in einer Art verstellt, dass unsere Abwertungen vor uns selber akzeptabel erscheinen.

Der Missstand der Ungerechtigkeit ist, dass wir versuchen die tierliche Autonomie zu zerstören (physische Eingriffe und Maßnahmen) und mittels Speziesismus (geistig ideologisch) zu unterminieren.

„Besitz“ ist die Folge der Absprache tierlicher Autonomie.

„Tierverteidiger“ die für die physische Unversehrtheit von Nichtmenschen plädieren, den Nichtmenschen aber weiterhin ihre eigene tierliche Autonimie (vom Menschen und an und für sich) absprechen, betreiben eine unbewusste radikale Form des Anthropozentrismus und des Speziesismus.

Wir verbinden den Würdebegriff mit der Fähigkeit eines eigenen, unabhängigen Daseins (Autonomie).

Durch speziesistische Kunstgriffe bereiten wir den geistigen Boden in einer Gesellschaft vor, um den Besitzstatus eines Lebewesens zu legitimieren und als vertretbar erscheinen zu lassen.

Was ist unserem allgemeinen Verständnis nach Autonomie, siehe z.B. Wikipedia (für den vielleicht breitesten Allgemeinplatz) http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomie?

Wenn Nichtmenschen etwas haben – „the wild and tamed beast“ – dann ist es Autonomie. Sie leben „von Natur aus“ in der Natur autonom – wenn wir sie nicht ihrer Freiheit berauben. Wir behaupten, Nichtmenschen seien Instinktbestimmt, und genau da setzt die Besitznahme durch arbitäre Abwertungsmechanismen ein: Wir machen uns Tiere nutzbar und „Untertan“, indem wir sie ihrer Existenzautonomie mit der Behauptung des Instinktverhaltens (kausaltiätsbestimmtes Verhalten) zu berauben versuchen.

Die Abhängigkeit von Lebensnotwendigkeiten als Instinktgeleitetheit zu interpretieren, ist eine Form der Minderbewertung der Angreifbarheit, der Verletzlichkeit und Bedingtkeit des Lebens – jedes Lebens. Jedes Lebewesen ist abhängig und bedingt, aber gleichzeitig auch autonom. Autonomie ist der zarte Keim der Verletzlichkeit tierlicher und menschliche Würde … .

Da ein Tier autonom handelt und denkt, ist es autotom. Der Vesuch der Eingrenzung tierlichen Denkens in anthopozentrisch definierte Parameter, ist eine Besitznahme durch die definitorische Interpretation tierlichen Denkens und Handelns.

Tierautonomie – tierliche Autonomie; ein paar eklektisch ausgewählte interessante Aspekte

Animal Autonomy:

In Veterenary Care:

Here I would simply suggest that “animal autonomy” is worthy of careful attention from philosophers and scientists and veterinarians. Animals are self-governing and make meaningful choices, in ways very similar to humans. As with our fellow humans, we should strive to understand and respect the preferences of other creatures. Research in ethology is continuing to explore how to understand animal preferences and how these preferences are expressed in observable behaviors. It is worth noting, too, that although the language of “autonomy” has not yet been strongly present in the veterinary literature, the concept has been important in the animal ethics literature more broadly. Tom Regan, for example, talked in his ground-breaking The Case for Animal Rights(1983) about animals as autonomous beings, with their own interests and desires. Regan even includes a very interesting discussion of what he calls “preference autonomy” and explores some of the ways in which autonomy in animals is different from autonomy in humans.

Animals and Autonomy. Can this vitally important ethical concept be meaningfully applied to animals? Jessica Pierce, Ph.D. in All Dogs Go to Heaven

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-dogs-go-heaven/201303/animals-and-autonomy

 

Animal Sanctitiy and Animal Sacrifice: How Post-Dawinian Fiction Treats Animal Victosm by Marian Scholtmeyer, Dissertation, 1989, pp. 57.

Animal Ethics:

Kantian ethics is normally not the place to look for an account of  direct moral obligations towards animals, as Kant claimed that we only owe animals indirect moral duties, out of respect towards the rest of  humanity. In chapter four, I consider modern reinterpretations of Kant’s arguments to provide support for the claim that animals should be  considered ends-in-themselves. I argue that despite the strength of these accounts, the concept of agency and selfhood that I support provides a better foundation for claiming animals as ends-in-themselves, and that respect for animal autonomy can be grounded on a Kantian argument for the respect of autonomy more broadly. I claim that in virtue of their agency and selfhood, animals should be considered ends-in-themselves, thereby including them in the moral community. My view is novel in that it includes agency, selfhood and autonomy as those features which make anyone, human or nonhuman, morally considerable.

Agency and Autonomy: A New Direction for Animal Ethics by Natalie Evans. Dissertation.

https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/handle/10012/8158/evans_natalie.pdf?sequence=1

Animal Rights / Animal Liberation

How can I save an Animal today or stop these atrocities now? Even for just a few critters. Because that’s the context we so often miss. It’s about Animal autonomy, not about how the government turns on the people that care about the Animals. But while I’m on the subject, it’s nothing new!

Walter Bond, Green is the New Rage, http://supportwalter.org/SW/index.php/2011/06/24/green-is-the-new-rage/

Animal Caregiving

Kerulos Center Caring for the Caregiver  Project. The project’s overarching goal is to foster awareness and support for animal care organizations and caregiver wellbeing to help achieve the vision of a compassionate, ethical, trans-species society founded on mutual wellbeing.

http://kerulos.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Kerulos-Caring-for-Caregiver-Report-Final.pdf

Alle Links: 25. März 2014.

 

Seeing Big Birds

More on: Animal Portrayals.

Big bird cartoon by Ken Eaton

The family of the big walking birds, like the Moas (extinct), Nandus, Emus, Ostriches, Elephant Birds (Aepyornis maximus, extict). They tend to be seen only in regards to their being different than the “typical” flying birds, and their size is highlighted as if they had something absurd about them.

Table I.

We attribute certain animals to certain stances we have towards them; each species, each subspecies, has a certain box that a “human cultural context” holds ready for them.

We lack the ethical barrier, the healthy taboo, to understand that nonhumans are not to be threatened, ridiculed, hated, and relegated into irrelevancy if we want to have a comprehensive ethical outlook on the world – the kind of taboos we have learned and are constantly in a process of learning when we face each other.

Table II.

Seeing nonhuman animals of today, we like to relate them to their ancestors in a fascinated yet freak-show-like way: we look how they compare in sizes, who ate who, and why they wouldn’t “survive” or evoluted, we say they look or looked “weird” or awesome. 

 Table III.

In past cultures and civilizations nonhumans were perceived with myth. Now, even extinct and ancient animals that we have never seen in real life, are placed by us into this taboo free zone, where we feel they reinforce our current objectifying speciesist attitudes.

Images:

TableI.:

“Bones from the moa – a large, flightless and extinctNew Zealandbird – were collected from the early 19th century. Public servant and naturalist Walter Mantell was an important collector of moa bones. He sent large collections to Richard Owen of theBritishMuseum, who was the first scientist to identify moa species. Here, Mantell is fancifully depicted perched on a partly skeletal moa. The document under his arm refers to his government work setting aside land reserves for Māori.”

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/artwork/37312/walter-mantell-riding-a-moa

Table II.:

Hundsköpfige, Kopflose, Einäugige, Fußschattner (Herodot), Ident.Nr. VIII A 1607. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ethnologisches Museum.

http://www.smb-digital.de/eMuseumPlus?service=ExternalInterface&module=collection&objectId=617600

Table III.:

“A rock painting that appears to be of a bird that went extinct about 40,000 years ago has been discovered in northern Australia. If confirmed, this would be the oldest rock art anywhere in the world, pre-dating the famous Chauvet cave in southern France by some 7,000 years.”

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2010/06/bird-rock-art-could-be-worlds-oldest/

All links: 20. March 2014

 

Animal Knowledge

Animal Knowledge

Palang LY

This text as a PDF (Link opens in a new window)

It’s astonishing, why are we willing to accept that the burden of proof lies with the nonhuman animals and their allies, to make clear who they are, when a human-centred society doesn’t even have the will and ability to see the full spectrum. Why do we, their allies, bow in to human methods of research on things that can’t be proven and that don’t have to be proven?

Their individual life’s dignity does not need to be proven; it needs to be acknowledged, without restrictive conditions.

What the AR community should learn is to claim the rights, the foundation of dignity, the freedom that really lies outside of paradigms that were (and are) installed to quite contrarily draw lines as aggressive borders.

We tie our human standards and insights on a.) language and b.) on our specific capacity to utilize nature, and we see both these things as qualifiers that are intertied: Language plus the capacity to utilize nature as a resource!

It never occurs to us that other beings could have a more sustainable and clearly wise concept of how to live on planet earth, that their ancestral relation over millions of years has given them insight on how to interact in other ways with nature and their natural environment.

We would deny that, because we don’t accept that nonhumans have concepts. We think concepts can only occur with certain qualifiers … , and we think that nature couldn’t have possibly taught nonhuman animal ancestors things they decidedly built their cultures on.

We think nonhuman animals don’t decide these things.

I could go on, but my point is that we as AR people err so bad, because we don’t want to take the stance that would make us jump in the cold water of radical new perspectives in terms of: de-humanfocusing and thus deconstructing sources we refer to as basis of knowledge about life.

We keep putting new wine into old bottles when we don’t come up with a new architecture of basic knowledge.

 

Why speciesism is evil

Why speciesism is evil

Palang LY

We don’t need to discuss whether a person or group is evil in all aspects, when we want to evaluate if an act of speciesism (committed by a person or group) is evil and condemnable.

In general often people who commit any type of evil, do not seem to their social environment like they would hold an “evil” potential, meaning, that a person can have different aspects about them, or also purposely mask their not-so-good sides. Another thing to keep in mind is that every chapter of human history taught us, that what some might have felt as beneficial to them, was plain evil to others who were negatively affected by a “gain” of someone else.

Speciesism is a (specific) form of oppression – and as such it is evil:

A.) Assuming that speciesism was merely a historical accidence, would mean to deny that nonhuman animals could have ever been perceived as something else than “objects”, and with that as “objects of speciesism”. Acts of speciesism are conscious acts of violating other (animal) individuals. Nonhuman animals are not automatically only viewable as objects.

My position is, that our degrading views of nonhuman animals today and in our shared history (i.e. the arguments with which we mark the nonhuman animal world as less- or non-relevant), are kinds of attitudes based on a totalitarian layer that society continuously enacts and that is functioning by society’s willingness to accept this form of a system; we compel and force members of our society to adopt speciesist attitudes, that however we can step out of such a system and resist, like we can equally resist to take part in other forms of oppressive structures.

B.) To assume that speciesist acts could be done without any conscious form of evil will and behaviour, means that we rule out the quality of evil which we face in the given oppressive context that speciesism marks. Every “procedure” done, that violates the physical and mental integrity of a nonhuman animal individual (directly or indirectly), is a conscious act and an act of will – even when the human individual who commits this act, finds and is offered and taught excuses to rationalize his or her deeds as necessary or non-evil.

Speciesism is evil because it masks as being an acceptable form of viewing nonhuman animal others as:

ownable, definable, edible, usable, ignorable … as passive objects.

I do think that as an Animal Liberationist one is accountable to tell the facts about the forms of conscious human evil that we face in speciesist oppression.

Speciesist narcissism

An introductory fragment: Many forms of speciesism.

Speciesist narcissism

A question of identity (human vs. animal) –
in which a human hides his/her factual individuality (i.e. human collectivism as a shield)
beneath the psychological and/or physical violence against animal dignity.

***

Are you aware about examples of speciesist narcissism?

Think of the fashion industry for instance, where in our speciesist dominated culture humans are most prone to display and pride themselves of a narcissistic self-representation in general.

Yet, can you think of photos, for example, where the narcissist aspect dominates a generally speciesist scene?

Who is on the photo and how? Contextualize the setting in terms of the objectified nonhuman/s, and on the other side both poses and perspectives the participating humans take in front and behind the camera.

Slides so far on the aspects of speciesism (see top navigation; new additions though will be appear in the category: ‘Aspects of Speciesism‘.)

 

Animal Thealogy: Man-Machine? Animal Reason!


Io – Farangis G Yegane

Animal Thealogy:

Man-Machine? Animal Reason!

Palang LY

This text as a PDF (link opens in a new window)

The basic question about the categorical division into (nonhuman) “animals” and “humans” (Homo sapiens), brings up probably before the question of its moral implications, the question about what exactly hides beneath both these big generalized identities.

Why has the view about that what-animals-are and that what-humans-are finally lead to us only viewing animals under biological terms today?

Is it enough to attribute only an instinctual behaviour to nonhuman animals?

Is it thus the ‘fault’ of animals that humans won’t relate to them in any further way than how they are relating to them today?

What other options are there?

Animal = instinctual? Human = reasoning? Attributed identities in a human-centered narrative

If we don’t accept the view that nonhuman animals are those who have to stand below humans, within a frame given by e.g. a biological, philosophical or even divine hierarchy-of-being, then such a claim doesn’t have to be solely morally motivated. It can also mean that we question the way in which both identities („animal“ and „human“) are understood, that we question the separation and qualifications of these identities, even before the questions of our wrongdoings enter the floor of debate.

We can ask if the interpretation of the characteristics that are considered to make up the marking dividers within a human-animal hierarchy, are in reality a negation of the autonomous value of otherness in nonhuman animals.

We know that the single criterion that serves as our standard, is the human parameter, i.e. the human model counts as the ideal, as the standard, for creating norms.

So what happens if we put this standard of measurement into doubt?

It’s a question of perspective!

Conclusions deduced in the fields of biology and psychology, with those being the main academic sectors that deal with the explicability of animal identity, nail the perspectives:

  1. on relevant characteristics
  2. on how animal characteristics (in either, the case of humans or nonhuman animals) have to a.) express themselves and b.) in which exact correlation they have to become „measurable“, in order to reach a certain relevance or meaningfulness from a human point of perspective.

So the problem lies in the question why humans won’t accept nonhuman animal autonomy when it can’t be made fathomable through the perception of a value-defined comparison.

Why are own animal criterions and why is their independent meaningfulness (for the sake of themselves and for their situation within their natural and social inter- and co-specific contexts) rendered irrelevant, when they cross our perspectivical glance, and when these animal criteria could also be understood and accepted to fully lay outside of our hierarchical-framework?

Animal individuality

To be willing to accept an autonomous meaningfulness of nonhuman animals, means to question the deindividualization, that our views and explanations about nonhuman animals purport.

Those are the views that allow us to set nonhuman animals in comparison to us, as ‘the human group’ of identity, instead of seeing otherness in itself as a full value. And those are also the views that seek to sort out how the existential ‘meaning’ of nonhuman animals might relate to anything that matters to us “humans” as a closed group of identity.

The deindividualized view of nonhuman animals almost automatically goes along with the subtraction of value in terms of attributed meaningfulness, and so we land at the moral question now, as the question of identities, individual existence and deinidivdualisation pose some ethical conflicts.

Nonhuman animals, and the attributed identities in the fields of “animal” and “human” social contexts

If we can view nonhuman animals, apart from their localization in the realm of biology, for example also in a sociological context, then we could ask the question: „How do people act towards nonhumans animals?“

Can we explain the behaviour of humans towards nonhuman animals solely by referring to the common notion that one can’t really behave in any particular way towards nonhuman animals because they are supposedly ‘instinctively set’ and ‘communicatively restricted’ compared to us, and that thus our behaviour towards them can’t contain an own quality of a social dynamic?

Can we legitimate our typically human social misbehaviour towards nonhuman animals by referring to the „stupidity“ that we interpret into nonhuman animal behaviour?

(Such questions would of course only feed themselves on stereotypes of animal identity, no matter from where they stem.)

However we probably can’t ask any of such questions a sociologist, though it could fall into their scope to analyse these relationships. Sociologists likely would prefer to deal with the Animal Rights movement and not deal with the interaction between humans and nonhuman animals, since everyone seems to be with the fact that a natural science, biology, has already determined what the identity of nonhuman animals “factually” is. And it must be said that even the Animal Rights movement seems the place moral question somewhere almost out of reach by accepting the explanation of the identity of animals as something more or less strictly biological.

***

A geometrical image

Imagine two abstract groups. Group A consists of triangles and everything that surrounds them becomes mathematically relevant to their own triangular form. This happens as all that either resembles or does not resemble a triangle appears in a certain colour.

Group B are circles.

Now group A says that group B aren’t triangles (because A are triangles) and that B also weren’t squares or rectangles.

Does any reason follow from this that would mathematically legitimate for the circles to be excluded as equally valid geometrical figures?

The triangles are different compared to the circles, but both are geometrical figures and insofar of an equal value.

They can be correlated due to each of their geometrical qualities, even when the circles do not match the characteristics of the triangles!

Let’s take this as our metaphor

Sociology does not question the social interaction between humans and nonhuman animals. They don’t scrutinize that relation from their viewpoint, because the view held on the human relation towards animals is already set in its core by the natural sciences.

The hierarchical empire built by the natural sciences though [and along with it the humanistic knowledge on which the natural sciences base upon] rules every need for any further examination and consideration of this relationship out. We do not see the direct relation between humans and nonhuman animals.

A most typical exemplification of that inability to relate on a basic and fundamental level of ‘common sense’ can be pinpointed in the difference between relating to nonhuman animals in terms of “joy” versus “love”: as in “animals equally feel joy” or “we can both love”, and “pain” versus “violence”: as in: “animals can equally feel pain” or “we can both experience violence”. Love is a intermittent sentiment, violence also basis on social interactivity (though in that negative sense), where as “joy” is located only in the subject we attribute the feeling to, and the same goes for “pain”.

We – nonhuman animals and humans – understand the questions of LOVE and VIOLENCE. Whereby “joy” and “pain” are reductionary names for the “same” thing.

Regarding the question whether animals can be regarded in any way as moral agents, one has to ask, does moral exist outside the human concept of morality?

When we discuss morality we presume that the substance matter which the term comprises came into life through our perceptions, and because we define what „moral“ means, we can claim a described phenomenon as solely ours.

What does morality consist of?

Does morality solely exist because of a theoretical framework? One can doubt that. Morality on the one side has something to do with basic social interaction, through that morality gains value.

On the other side are the superordinate agreements about morality, which are declared and decided upon by an elite or defining group/process, but through that the agreements about morality only contain a forced validity, which is disconnected from its own basis, that is: the meaning of social interaction between beings (i.e. the construct about morality excludes that what lays outside of its hierarchy, other forms of interaction that contain „social values“ ).

On the individual plane exists that what any “I” perceives and experiences in her lived interactions and experiences as „morally okay“. And that can be between nonhuman animals or humans in the whole environmental context – seen from a common sense point of view if we take the human view.

When we discard the human decorum that surrounds and sticks to the word morality, we can say that every action has a moral implication, non-anthropocentrically seen.

It’s always the same: otherness. We have to accept it.

Animals have a very different philosophy-of-living in a neutral comparison to our philosophy of life, and I believe one can use the term philosophy here to describe the yet unnamed phenomenon in nonhumans animals of how they structure and perceive their own lives.

I ask myself whether the human problem with nonhuman animals isn’t rather to be found in the differences of their philosophies-of-life when compared to our typically human ones.

The problems lie much more in this radical otherness from us, than in the reasons of gradual biological differences or in the often assumed moral impotence on this other one’s (the animal’s) behalf.

The problem thus seems to fluctuate around the scope of difference and coinciding similarity. In many aspects we equal nonhumans animals a lot, but in the aspect of our dominance claim finally, we see nonhuman animals as „the losers“, the bottom of the evolutionary or divinely ordained hierarchical order on which we can postulate our violent and hypocritical sense of power.

That nonhuman animals are the losers amongst the biological animals is even an attitude that some of their advocates purport. I often meet people who won’t reckon a unique, self-sufficient quality seen to be in the closeness and distance amongst the different animals (including human animals). In the forefront of every argumentation there is always: how are they in comparison to us. As if humans and nonhuman animals had to compete on an „equal” scale … and another related argumentation goes: how much of their „instinct“ could possibly entitle them to be granted rights; right that would protect them from humans (whereby it is highly questionable whether those who have prejudices against you, can really grant you your own rights.)

Human society, it seems, will always consider the „us“ and the „we“ as objectively more important, insofar as the „we“, the how „we are“, is the criterion, and nonhumans animals are measured against it.

The crucial point is to accept others and to accept the validity of otherness. For the others and maybe even for us!

Reaching far? Animal Thealogy – female animal deities, female human deities, on the terms of such angles.

Painting: Io by intersectional antispeciesist veg*AR artist Farangis G. Yegane – Lebensschutz!

 

“Joy” and “pain” are reductionary concepts about the rainbow shadedness of animal sentience

The independence of Animal Liberation

We – nonhuman animals and humans – understand the questions of LOVE and VIOLENCE. Whereby “joy” and “pain” are reductionary names for the “same” thing.

Fragment as a PDF (link opens in new window)

A liberation that depends on an approval by scientists? Or alternatively on a religious doctrine?

Sentience can’t be only fathomed by suffering or joy – it’s rainbow shaded.

Sensuality

The separation of sensuality and reason is a man-made one. And tied inasmuch to scientific shortsightedness as to the religiously driven degradation of the earthenly versus the notion of an elated human spirit.

Both anthropocentric paradigms – be they through the lens of objectivism that works within an anthropocentric framework, or the lens of an arbitrariness in the spiritual spheres – any severely anthropocentric paradigm, deconstructs the holistic body and mind connection … for reasons, obviously.

The problem lies with our constructs, and not with animal reality!

Painting: Spanish Dog by Farangis G. Yegane

 

Animal Thealogy: Man-Machine? Animal Reason! (Part 2)


Io – Farangis G Yegane

Animal Thealogy:

Man-Machine? Animal Reason! (2)

(And this was part one of that text.)

Palang LY

A geometrical image

Imagine two abstract groups. Group A consists of triangles and everything that surrounds them becomes mathematically relevant to their own triangular form. This happens as all that either resembles or does not resemble a triangle appears in a certain colour.

Group B are circles.

Now group A says that group B aren’t triangles (because A are triangles) and that B also weren’t squares or rectangles.

Does any reason follow from this that would mathematically legitimate for the circles to be excluded as equally valid geometrical figures?

The triangles are different compared to the circles, but both are geometrical figures and insofar of an equal value.

They can be correlated due to each of their geometrical qualities, even when the circles do not match the characteristics of the triangles!

Let’s take this as our metaphor

Sociology does not question the social interaction between humans and nonhuman animals. They don’t scrutinize that relation from their viewpoint, because the view held on the human relation towards animals is already set in its core by the natural sciences.

The hierarchical empire built by the natural sciences though [and along with it the humanistic knowledge on which the natural sciences base upon] rules every need for any further examination and consideration of this relationship out. We do not see the direct relation between humans and nonhuman animals.

A most typical exemplification of that inability to relate on a basic and fundamental level of ‘common sense’ can be pinpointed in the difference between relating to nonhuman animals in terms of “joy” versus “love”: as in “animals equally feel joy” or “we can both love”, and “pain” versus “violence”: as in: “animals can equally feel pain” or “we can both experience violence”. Love is a intermittent sentiment, violence also basis on social interactivity (though in that negative sense), where as “joy” is located only in the subject we attribute the feeling to, and the same goes for “pain”.

We – nonhuman animals and humans – understand the questions of LOVE and VIOLENCE. Whereby “joy” and “pain” are reductionary names for the “same” thing.

Regarding the question whether animals can be regarded in any way as moral agents, one has to ask, does moral exist outside the human concept of morality?

When we discuss morality we presume that the substance matter which the term comprises came into life through our perceptions, and because we define what „moral“ means, we can claim a described phenomenon as solely ours.

What does morality consist of?

Does morality solely exist because of a theoretical framework? One can doubt that. Morality on the one side has something to do with basic social interaction, through that morality gains value.

On the other side are the superordinate agreements about morality, which are declared and decided upon by an elite or defining group/process, but through that the agreements about morality only contain a forced validity, which is disconnected from its own basis, that is: the meaning of social interaction between beings (i.e. the construct about morality excludes that what lays outside of its hierarchy, other forms of interaction that contain „social values“ ).

On the individual plane exists that what any “I” perceives and experiences in her lived interactions and experiences as „morally okay“. And that can be between nonhuman animals or humans in the whole environmental context – seen from a common sense point of view if we take the human view.

When we discard the human decorum that surrounds and sticks to the word morality, we can say that every action has a moral implication, non-anthropocentrically seen.

It’s always the same: otherness. We have to accept it.

Animals have a very different philosophy-of-living in a neutral comparison to our philosophy of life, and I believe one can use the term philosophy here to describe the yet unnamed phenomenon in nonhumans animals of how they structure and perceive their own lives.

I ask myself whether the human problem with nonhuman animals isn’t rather to be found in the differences of their philosophies-of-life when compared to our typically human ones.

The problems lie much more in this radical otherness from us, than in the reasons of gradual biological differences or in the often assumed moral impotence on this other one’s (the animal’s) behalf.

The problem thus seems to fluctuate around the scope of difference and coinciding similarity. In many aspects we equal nonhumans animals a lot, but in the aspect of our dominance claim finally, we see nonhuman animals as „the losers“, the bottom of the evolutionary or divinely ordained hierarchical order on which we can postulate our violent and hypocritical sense of power.

That nonhuman animals are the losers amongst the biological animals is even an attitude that some of their advocates purport. I often meet people who won’t reckon a unique, self-sufficient quality seen to be in the closeness and distance amongst the different animals (including human animals). In the forefront of every argumentation there is always: how are they in comparison to us. As if humans and nonhuman animals had to compete on an „equal” scale … and another related argumentation goes: how much of their „instinct“ could possibly entitle them to be granted rights; right that would protect them from humans (whereby it is highly questionable whether those who have prejudices against you, can really grant you your own rights.)

Human society, it seems, will always consider the „us“ and the „we“ as objectively more important, insofar as the „we“, the how „we are“, is the criterion, and nonhumans animals are measured against it.

The crucial point is to accept others and to accept the validity of otherness. For the others and maybe even for us!

Reaching far? Animal Thealogy – female animal deities, female human deities, on the terms of such angles.

 

Animal Thealogy: Man-Machine? Animal Reason! (Part 1)


Vulnerable by Farangis Yegane

Animal Thealogy:

Man-Machine? Animal Reason! (Part 1)

Palang LY

The basic question about the categorical division into (nonhuman) “animals” and “humans” (Homo sapiens), brings up probably before the question of its moral implications, the question about what exactly hides beneath both these big generalized identities.

Why has the view about that what-animals-are and that what-humans-are finally lead to us only viewing animals under biological terms today?

Is it enough to attribute only an instinctual behaviour to nonhuman animals?

Is it thus the ‘fault’ of animals that humans won’t relate to them in any further way than how they are relating to them today?

What other options are there?

Animal = instinctual? Human = reasoning? Attributed identities in a human-centered narrative

If we don’t accept the view that nonhuman animals are those who have to stand below humans, within a frame given by e.g. a biological, philosophical or even divine hierarchy-of-being, then such a claim doesn’t have to be solely morally motivated. It can also mean that we question the way in which both identities („animal“ and „human“) are understood, that we question the separation and qualifications of these identities, even before the questions of our wrongdoings enter the floor of debate.

We can ask if the interpretation of the characteristics that are considered to make up the marking dividers within a human-animal hierarchy, are in reality a negation of the autonomous value of otherness in nonhuman animals.

We know that the single criterion that serves as our standard, is the human parameter, i.e. the human model counts as the ideal, as the standard, for creating norms.

So what happens if we put this standard of measurement into doubt?

It’s a question of perspective!

Conclusions deduced in the fields of biology and psychology, with those being the main academic sectors that deal with the explicability of animal identity, nail the perspectives:

  1. on relevant characteristics
  2. on how animal characteristics (in either, the case of humans or nonhuman animals) have to a.) express themselves and b.) in which exact correlation they have to become „measurable“, in order to reach a certain relevance or meaningfulness from a human point of perspective.

So the problem lies in the question why humans won’t accept nonhuman animal autonomy when it can’t be made fathomable through the perception of a value-defined comparison.

Why are own animal criterions and why is their independent meaningfulness (for the sake of themselves and for their situation within their natural and social inter- and co-specific contexts) rendered irrelevant, when they cross our perspectivical glance, and when these animal criteria could also be understood and accepted to fully lay outside of our hierarchical-framework?

Animal individuality

To be willing to accept an autonomous meaningfulness of nonhuman animals, means to question the deindividualization, that our views and explanations about nonhuman animals purport.

Those are the views that allow us to set nonhuman animals in comparison to us, as ‘the human group’ of identity, instead of seeing otherness in itself as a full value. And those are also the views that seek to sort out how the existential ‘meaning’ of nonhuman animals might relate to anything that matters to us “humans” as a closed group of identity.

The deindividualized view of nonhuman animals almost automatically goes along with the subtraction of value in terms of attributed meaningfulness, and so we land at the moral question now, as the question of identities, individual existence and deinidivdualisation pose some ethical conflicts.

Nonhuman animals, and the attributed identities in the fields of “animal” and “human” social contexts

If we can view nonhuman animals, apart from their localization in the realm of biology, for example also in a sociological context, then we could ask the question: „How do people act towards nonhumans animals?“

Can we explain the behaviour of humans towards nonhuman animals solely by referring to the common notion that one can’t really behave in any particular way towards nonhuman animals because they are supposedly ‘instinctively set’ and ‘communicatively restricted’ compared to us, and that thus our behaviour towards them can’t contain an own quality of a social dynamic?

Can we legitimate our typically human social misbehaviour towards nonhuman animals by referring to the „stupidity“ that we interpret into nonhuman animal behaviour?

(Such questions would of course only feed themselves on stereotypes of animal identity, no matter from where they stem.)

However we probably can’t ask any of such questions a sociologist, though it could fall into their scope to analyse these relationships. Sociologists likely would prefer to deal with the Animal Rights movement and not deal with the interaction between humans and nonhuman animals, since everyone seems to be with the fact that a natural science, biology, has already determined what the identity of nonhuman animals “factually” is. And it must be said that even the Animal Rights movement seems the place moral question somewhere almost out of reach by accepting the explanation of the identity of animals as something more or less strictly biological.

End of part 1

Reaching far? Animal Thealogy – female animal deities, female human deities, on the terms of such angles.

 

Ein Nichtmensch, ein Objekt, ein Mehrzweck?

Palang LY

Tiere als Nummern

Dieser Text als PDF (der Link öffnet sich in einem neuen Fenster)

Das kontroverse israelische Projekt http://269life.com emphatisiert und subjektifiziert das Tier, das stellvertretend für das Tieropfer einer karnistisch-speziesistisch funktionierenden Gesellschaft steht. Während solch ein Kunst- / Designprojekt wie das „Pig 05049“ der Niederländerin Christien Meindertsma, das in ihrer Arbeit tokenisierte nichtmenschliche Tier entindividualisiert und objektifiziert.

Ein Nichtmensch, ein Objekt, ein Mehrzweck?

Der Guardian veröffentliche am 27. März 2010 ein Essay des amerikanischen Autoren und Journalisten Bill Buford [1] über eine Arbeit der niederländischen Designerin Christien Meindertsma, in der sie Fotografien von Nebenprodukten aus der Fleischindustrie, als all das, was aus einem Schwein so gemacht wird, zentriert auf ein Tier: „Pig 05049“, als Rohstoffquelle, darstellte.

Aus Tierrechtssicht halte ich die Arbeit von Meindertsma für bedenklich, aus Gründen, die ich weiter unten anreißen will. Der Artikel aus dem Guardian jedoch, sowie auch ein Artikel aus dem Stern über eine Ausstellung Meindertsmas im Jahr 2008 zum „Pig 05049“ [2], machen aber bereits klar, warum die Arbeit der Designerin eine zweischneidige Angelegenheit ist, wenn sie problemlos in der Weise, wie in diesen beiden Artikeln, rezipiert werden kann, als eine willkommen geheißene Ermutierung zur Objektifizierung von nichtmenschlichen Tieren im agraindustriellen Komplex.

Der Tierrechtler und Vorstand des europäischen Zweigs des Animals and Society Institute (http://www.animalsandsociety.org/) Kim Stallwood, hält zum Artikel Bufords aus dem Guardian fest:

Das kleine Schweinchen beim Guardian

Ein interssanter Artikel im samstags erscheinenden farbigen Wochendmagazin des Guardians. Er bestand aus einem Fotoessay als Auszug aus dem Buch Pig 05049 von Christien Meindertsma und einem Essay des Autoren Bill Buford. Interessant aus zweierlei Hinsicht.

Zuerst: Das Fotoessay dokumentiert 185 (naja, einige) Produkte, die aus einem geschlachteten Schwein hergestellt werden, einschließlich Apfelsaft (Gelatine), Puzzleteilen (Knochenleim) und Sandpapier (nochmals Knochenleim). Was immerhin beweist welche Herausforderung es darstellt, vegan zu leben. Einige würden behaupten es ist eine sinnlose Übung. Eine Unmöglichkeit. Ich würde sagen, dass der Weg zum Veganismus wichtiger ist, als die Ankunft am seinem Ziel.

Der zweite interessage Punkt ist dieser: warum müssen Menschen, die darüber schreiben, dass sie bei der Schlachtung eines Tiere teilgenommen haben, den Akt immer romantisieren? Und das Ganze mit sentimentalem Quatsch aufladen, um den Anschein der Profundität zu erwecken? Buford schreibt zum Beispiel: „Das Blut sammelt sich in einem Eimer. Ich rührte es damit es nicht koaguliert. Man gab mir eine Kelle und sagte ich solle mal probieren. Ich war vom Geschmack überracht, der vital, energisierend und glücklich war.“ Was genau ist glücklich am Probieren des Blutes eines Schweins, das man gerade getötet hat? Und dann folgt diese pseudo-moralisierende und nichtssagende Entschuldigung für die Missetat. [3]

„Der Aufwand benötigte vier Mann. Das Schwein wusste was geschah. Sie war stark. Sie kämpfte. Da gab es kein Schweinequieksen. Es war ein weit offener Schrei. Sie schrie laut und hörte nicht auf, bis nachdem für einige Sekunden, und nicht mehr als einige Sekunden, in ihr Herz gestochen war. Der Schrei ging bis in die höheren Klangregister; ein hochstimmiges, bellendes Klagen, das mein Gehirn nicht als normal herausrastern oder empfinden konnte. Dann, gerade als ich das Seil am Bein des Tieres festmachte, schaute sie mich an, ganz genau, und sah mir in die Augen. Warum mir? Vermittelte mein Gesicht unter den andern Gesichtern dieser abghärteten Traditionalisten etwa Unbehagen? Der Halt funktionierte wie eine Klampe. Ich wollte mich abwenden. Ich tat es nicht.“ [4]

— — —

Wie konnten die Fotografien aus der Designarbeit von Meindertsma so problemlos in diesem Zusammenhang ihren Platz finden? Ist eine Auflistung und Darstellung von Tierkörperteilen und der Stoffe, die aus ihnen gewommen werden bereits eine Stellungnahme in der einen oder anderen Weise?

Meindertsma sieht in ihrer Arbeit „grundsätzlich den Produktkatalog [eines] Schweins“. Das „schönste“ findet sie, in einer TED Rede unter dem Titel: „Wie Teile vom Schwein die Welt zum Drehen bringen“ (vom Juli 2010), ist die Verwendung der Herzklappe des Tieres, die eine Operation am menschlichen Herzen unter nur minimalstem Eingriff ermöglicht. Abschließend sagt sie, dass sie am meisten an Rohmaterialien insgesamt intersssiert sei, und ein bisschen auch an Schweinen. [5]

Die Ästhetik der Objektifizierung

Randy Malamud, Fellow am Institut für Tierthik der Uni Oxford, formuliert ein wichtiges Argument im Kontext mit einem Werkzyklus der türkischen Künstlerin Pinar Yolacan (Titel: „Perihables“), in der Hühnerkörper als künstlerisches Ausdrucksmittel und Accessoire verwendet werden:

„Ich frage mich, wenn ich durch Yolacans Linse auf eine Frau und ein Huhn blicke, eine Frau in einem Huhn: Wo ist das Huhn? Ja, das Tier ist da, aber da gibt es kein „da“. Das einzige huhnhhafte in diesen Bildern ist ein Negativum: die Abwesenheit eines Huhns, die Verhöhnung eines Huhns, die Zerstörung eines Huhns, die perverse menschliche Transformation eines Huhns.

Ich möchte damit nicht sagen, dass es die Last jedes Kunstwerks sein müsse, das huhnhafte des Huhns zu hinterfragen, aber ich bin ökologisch empört über das durchdringliche Versagen menschlicher Kultur […] dabei, die Intergrität, das Bewusstsein, die echte Gegenwart anderer Tiere in unserer Welt ernsthaft anzuerkennen.“ [6]

Wie weit darf eine ästhetisierende Objektifizierung gehen, insbesodere auch dann, wenn sie unter anderem der Veranschaulichung dient, wie im Fall des Buches Pig 05049 von Christien Meindertsma und bei anderen Designern, Künstlern und deren Arbeiten, im Allgemeinen.

Was Meindertsma anbetrifft: Als Veganer kennen wir Alle, Listen tierlicher Inhaltstoffe und ihrer Derivate. Eine partielle Liste im schöngemachten Format ist eigentlich nicht zweckdienlich, auch wenn sich über Ästhetik streiten lässt.

Das Buch Pig 05049 wird aber für 44 Euro bei enem veganen Onlinehandel feilgetobten. Aufmerksam wurde ich, nachdem ich sah, dass die VGD es auf ihrer FB-Seite bewarb und keine Veganer_In dort Anstoß am Ganzen nahm. [7]

[1] Bill Buford: From one pig: 185 products, The Guardian, Saturday 27 March 2010 http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/mar/27/from-one-pig-185-products. Der Text wurde inzwischen wegen Ablauf der Nutzungsrechte von der Webseite des Guardian entfernt.

[2] Albert Eikenaar: Eine tierisch versaute Idee, Der Stern 23. Juli 2008, http://www.stern.de/kultur/kunst/ausstellung-eine-tierisch-versaute-idee-632030.html

[3] Kim Stallwood: Little Piggy at The Guardian, http://www.kimstallwood.com/2010/03/29/the-little-piggy-at-the-guardian/. Übersetzung der Blogeintrags (ohne dem Zitat aus dem Guardian) Palang Y. Arani-May, mit der freundlichen Genehmigung von Kim Stallwood. Siehe hierzu auch: This little piggy… Christien Meindertsma photographs the 185 products that came from one pig, The Guardian, Saturday 27 March 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/gallery/2010/mar/27/185-products-one-pig-gallery

[4] Bill Buford: From one pig: 185 products, a.a.O. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/mar/27/from-one-pig-185-products

[5] TED, Christien Meindertsma: Wie Teile vom Schwein die Welt zum Drehen bringen http://www.ted.com/talks/christien_meindertsma_on_pig_05049.html

[6] Randy Malamud: Vengeful Tiger, Glowing Rabbit, in: The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 2012, http://chronicle.com/article/Vengeful-Tiger-Glowing-Rabbit/132951/?cid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

[7] Vegane Gesellschaft Deutschland, der betreffende Eintrag auf ihrer Facebookpage https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=589879337720155&set=a.159698390738254.28272.154920631216030&type=1&theater

Alle Zugriffe vom 17. September 2013.

Eventuelle typografische Korrekturen werden noch vorgenommen.

 

Feminism, Speciesism, Anthropocentrism – and the need to rethink the sexism / speciesism analogy

Feminism, Speciesism, Anthropocentrism

Examples of female rhetorics of speciesism: Objectification of beings oppressed, animalesque figures made with wool / felt; Lesbianism and dead nonhumans and trophys as cultural heritage; Helplessness and helping as an act of public viewing, link 1, link 2; the daily randnomness of the gender / nonhuman animal speciesist contexts, women taking/being part … (all links acc. 16. July 2013)

Is a self-critical view on gender / being a woman / feminism necessary? What would speak against it? We know that in our daily lives we, as women, make decisions that touch on core grounds that turn the private / the personal into the political. As vegans we know how impactful our personal choices are, and as social beings we also know how hard it can be to draw a line between the social expectations that one tries to fit in (in order to find a job, to be liked and accepted, keep ones family together, and so forth).

Speciesism, as remote as it seems, is to be found at the same point where “my-choice-to-decide-otherwise” (or not) crosses just any implications of socialization that I feel are ethically unjustifiable. When I rant against sexism I might as well rant against an injustice that targets nonhumans, if I am a vegan anti-speciesist minded person.

Speciesism can be understood to work socially as an ideology, where people who are convinced of their degrading stance believe in a collectively held fiction that is assumed and agreed upon as objectivity, so that no rebuttal can take place on “rational grounds”.

Women do feel at home in this construct inasmuch as men do, on the large scale. Both 50 percent of humanity, male and female, believe so much in human superiority that they are willing to constitute part of a speciesist society by fulfilling their individual part in the fiction.

“Gender” defines itself from interaction within a group or society. Being oppressed as a woman doesn’t automatically mean that you can’t be oppressive towards nonhuman animals. Drawing an analogy between sexism (or genderism) and speciesism does not take account of the different reasons and histories why the victim gets oppressed in the first place – for what ends, and how exactly.

If we turn a blind eye on the gender specific functions of speciesism and anthropocentrism we might risk a loophole in our argumentation for our own rights defending nonhumans and for integral Animal Rights themselves.

Speciesism is a unique tragedy. The history of being classified as “animals” by humans, with all that entailed, as beings whose existence had been on earth aeons before humans evolved, can’t be compared to any other form of oppression by simple analogy. Being objectified as solely “animate”, being slaughterable, edible, huntable, vivisectable, being objectifiable and judged as “definable” in the first place constitutes an incomparable situation for the affected subject, and hints at a unique technique of injustice on behalf of the oppressive side that is being applied to this victimized group.

Comparisons between different forms of oppression are extensively helpless efforts.

Either we plainly name that natural sciences, religion, philosophy mass society can’t legitimately classify the beings we call “nonhuman animals”, or we stay stuck in our psychological accompliceship with the very hierarchical and oppressive “systems” we criticize so vehemently as what regards our own pains.

I don’t see an alternative.

Image  © 2013 @farangisyegane

Veganic plus Animal Sanctuaries plus Ethics

Palang LY

Veganic plus Animal Sanctuaries plus Ethics

There so far is no such thing as a “positive” veganic (which means: organic vegan agriculture) Animal Rights consciousness.

Not taking into consideration that nonhuman animals must be helped by all possible means, here looks to me like a form of speciesism might be lurking in the background, since if humans where in a comparable plight, anybody who would describe him-/herself as a non- misanthrope would help the humans in question.

What I am mainly interested in is:

Why doesn’t it occur to vegans and the veganic (vegan organic) movement, that humans and nonhuman animals can co-exist, can co-live without exploitation, as an option?

I have looked at various veganic projects, and as far as one can see, “animal rights” only plays a role in the way, that exploitation and usage of animals and animal products / fertilizer derived from animals is non-permitted, on ethical grounds, mainly. Hence, these people are VEGANS, and not just any people avoiding animal products: They avoid animal exploitation. That’s the Animal Rights part of the veganic movement.

But apart from that, the very nonhuman animals that we as VEGANS want to HELP, don’t come in or become visible or noticed as beings that we are willing to live together with, that we are willing to share the earth with. As if the soil and the forests were ours to use, ours to live on, ours to say what’s right to do with it (“it” … that is: nature).

Billions of animals

Of course the forceful exploitation of the reproductive system of animals has to stop. Of course any form of overpopulation is bad for anybody and this planet. But the lives, that didn’t chose to come into this world, the lives that just happen to find themselves here – we do have to ethically respect the fact that these individuals exist.

Sanctuaries and vegan farming should merge I believe! To cut a long “story” short and practical.

But back to veganic-ism as it is

There is the mention of using human manure and faeces for fertilization (apart from the much more promising sounding self-fertilizing gardening methods which exist in veganicism too of course). But if people are willing to use their own manure, as part of the biological process of vegan agriculture, can’t the idea of “the sanctuary” and the idea of a newly veganic option be created in peoples minds? People can tolerate their own manure somewhere, but not another (nonhuman) animal’s manure? 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 or exploiting or using each other.

We as vegans ought to LIVE together with the other animals on this planet, in a peaceful manner, in mixed communities. If we can’t develop a consciousness for that, we fail at creating a (more complete) positive ethic. It’s enormously tragic that we let the speciesist view of “animals, us and the world” win insofar, that this view manages to inspire us vegans not to willingly plan to live together with the so called farm animals in a vegan, caring manner, with a strong will to co-exist.

Are the only options we can chose from the one of degrading nonhuman animals or otherwise totally excluding them, and making them nonexistent in a (desired utopian) daily reality? No, really, because this planet is also an animals’ planet!

Ethics … To me the veganic movement makes itself look as if it creates and expresses a bifurcation in what veganism ideally should mean. As good at it looks now and as much as such farming practices are heading for the major part in a promising and important and ethically inevitable direction, the veganic code of ethics nevertheless ignores an important factor and that is, again, to include all animals in a life affirming way.

This fallacy in the veganic vegan understanding makes vegans overall look as if this movement was basically about clearing nonhuman animals in their positives – and as living facts and individual fates – simply out of our lives!

I think there is morally something going drastically wrong with us.

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