I made a speech recently at my vegan toastmasters club about how animal rights and human rights are often complimentary not diametrically opposed.
I posted it to my Youtube channel and the reaction I got was interesting...quite a few people felt like I was crazy and off my rocker.
The women who posted this video got similar responses.
So what do you all think, do you think it is a good idea for Animal rights activist to compare the oppression of animals with the oppression of certain groups of human beings? Or should we just stick to promoting the ideas of animal rights on their own terms?
I'm not in a place where I can listen to audio right now, but of course it's a valid to talk about animal rights in the context of human rights. Peter Singer talks about animal interests in the context of human liberation in the essay "All Animals are Equal"
The book The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery makes the comparison between human and animal slavery
There's also the book Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust
And the author Carol J. Adams wrote The Sexual Politics of Meat about the oppression of women and animals.
One big problem that I can see is that you're speaking to a bunch of rank idiots. Some of the comments to your video are profoundly ignorant, unreasoned, and callous
i never understood why animals have more rights than plants. just because they are more related to us ? or they can feel pain more than plants ? anesthetic seems a good solution in this case ... i have a very balanced diet, i even try to eat more meat sometimes because i sometimes forget for weeks to prepare meat ... but i don't see why one choice has to be better than the other ...
you really don't get why animals have more rights than plants? you really don't get the difference?
The way I see it, we have a ton of human problems. As a human, I have a bias towards humans. When we solve the human problems then we can worry about animals. I cant but shake my head when I see animal organizations doing all this stuff for animals when we have fellow humans who are starving to death.
yeah, and I can virtually guarantee this fool never does anything for starving humans either
why is it bad to kill animals like chicken and not bacterias ? They're living organisms. I consider vegans who would use insect killing thingies if their house was infected by insects and who kill bacteries by washing their hands to have a position less logical than mine.
because bacteria are just the same as chickens - have central nervous systems, pain receptors, etc., right?
Why doesn't spinach deserve rights?
it is a good idea for Animal rights activist to compare the oppression of animals with the oppression of certain groups of human beings
It can be, but can also backfire badly. "Here there be dragons." Beware.
The first objection you'll get (and probably most common) is that making the comparison explicitly is derogatory to the people being referenced. Of course this only makes sense from a certain viewpoint, but unfortunately most folks share that viewpoint.
A second objection (and this one I agree with) is that things that seem similar (therefore good metaphors for each other) really are very different. Roberta Kalechofsky makes this point about comparisons between killing during people during the Holocaust and killing animals to eat them: People were killed in the Holocaust because of hate. No one eats animals because they hate them.
... objection #3 (and a bit on a complicating factor that I don't think I've ever seen discussed) still to come ...
It is hard to hear you, due to all the noise in the background.
Comparing animal and human rights may be effective to certain audiences (especially those concerned with social justice). But I think it's more effective to compare farmed and companion animals. Nearly everyone supports laws protecting pets, and the parallels between pets and farmed animals are a lot more clear to most people than the parallels between humans and other animals. People may be able to come up with differences between oppressed human groups and farmed animals, as Dave mentioned, but it's much harder to find any relevant differences between pets and farmed animals.
By the way, thanks for choosing animal rights as the subject for your talk. The more ways we get the message out, the better.
I am very against it. not because i don't understand the comparison or think that animals aren't worth as much. but because i know that it has the opposite effect. you may have a great speach but if you compare the suffering of animals to let's say those at concentration camps your whole point will be lost because the majority will be too mad and pissed.
Impressive speech that, m'matey! I'm quite jealous actualy 'cos though I can think I can never articulate what is on my mind as eloquently as what you done there.
Bearing my lack of articulacy in mind, I would be very interested in your thoughts on this;
In both buddhism and Gandhi-ism (without claiming any authority for either philosophy) there is a massive emphasis on treating all sentient life forms (in both, taken as simply being the entire animal domain above single celled beings) with absolute compassion.
One common idea is, whilst the practice of absolute compassion towards human beings (self interest group) does not necesarily lead to absolute compassion towards animals, that the practice of absolute compassion toward animals does lead to absolute compassion towards human beings.
General gist there being that the practice of compassion towards those whom we have no self interest/identification with automaticaly leads to compassion for those within self interest/identification groups. The practice of compassion towards those within self interest/identification groups not necesarily leading to compassion for those without.
The practice of absolute compassion towards animals thus being the best way to make sure, that in our compassion towards human beings, that no sub-groups of humanity whom we have lesser self interest/identification with, or in, are likely to be left out.
I am thinking that whilst it is entirely possible to promote human rights without promoting animal rights that promoting animal rights without promoting rights for all of humanity is totally impossible.
Does that make any sense, in the context of this topic, at all?
But then again it is possible that people who do not have enough love for life to find the eating of animals abhorent may be just a smidgeon lacking in the love for life themselves?
Completely off topic;
The opposite of love is not hate. Hate and love are both passions. The opposite of both love and of hate is true indifference. Trus indifference being the total abscence of any passion at all.
For a person who eats an animal out of hate there is hope of change. One passion can be turned to the other.
For a person who is truly indifferent there is no passion to change. So for hope of change there is none.
To roughly paraphrase one of PETA's slogans "When it comes to suffering, a horse is a dog is a boy."
Suffering is something both humans and animals can experience, and empathy is something we can all identify with. It's helped us break down racial and gender boundaries, is slowly breaking down boundaries of sexuality, and will someday transcend the species boundary.
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