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On Deadlines and Abolitionist Pamphlet

You may recall that today is my self-imposed deadline for my abolitionist pamphlet. I am proud to say, that as someone who is probably clinically obsessive compulsive and has never been late for an appointment or missed a deadline, I am not finished with the pamphlet. In fact, I’m not even close.

In my defense, I was out of town for a bit and there were a couple of dramas here in Jupiter that screamed for my attention. Oh, then there’s the money I need to make that doesn’t fall from the sky or grow on trees.

But I’m back on track.

I’ve written to a couple of experts regarding proper verbiage and also regarding using their words or ideas and all is swell. The only one whose response was a bit disappointing was Jonathan Balcombe’s. I wanted to address sentience and say that a chicken has the same capacity to experience pleasure, pain and terror as your dog does, or even as you do. But Dr. Balcombe’s opinion was that scientists would not agree and I should change "the same" to "similar." I’m sure I could get a non-research scientist to sign off on the words "the same," but I don’t know if that’s a good idea.

While I’ve got you, what would you want to add to the following section entitled, "What do YOU want for animals? What do YOU believe about animals?" ("Let’s deconstruct some common beliefs about our relationship to nonhuman animals." I do so following each statement.)

  • Nonhuman animals don’t feel pain
  • There is such a thing as "humane farming"
  • There is such a thing as "humane slaughter"
  • Eating meat is clearly a problem, but eggs and dairy are a different story
  • Experimenting on animals is okay, as long as it’s humane and necessary
  • Dogs and horses love to run, so racing them is fine. They like it!

The point of this section is that people who think it’s okay to use animals are often operating under a series of profoundly flawed assumptions. And deprogramming them of the nonsense they have been convinced is true is a crucial part of helping them develop a belief system that is based on all of the facts of the case and on exploring the entire context of each item (e.g., Yes, dogs and horses love to run. But that’s a fraction of the story.)

I was going to include a statement about leather, wool and silk. Oh, and fur (duh). Do you think it’s necessary? Notice the absence of God or religion. Still think that’s a good idea? How about pets and the disaster we’ve created with cats and dogs?

There is also a set-up page that includes definitions (abolitionist, vegan, vegetarian, AR, animal welfare/protection), and a page of tips for entertaining and going out and also for shopping and cooking (from Colleen at Compassionate Cooks). Finally, there’s the "What Can You Do" page that gets into national groups and thinking about who has something to gain from a message you are being sent (like my pamphlet–what does Mary Martin, Ph.D. have to gain? Who gives her money? To whom does she donate? Whom is she affiliated with, and does that matter? What is her intention?)

My intention is primarily to get readers to question their own assumptions (which is why I wanted religion in there, as it’s an important source of assumptions for many people) and to develop a way of thinking that they can apply to religion, politics or any other messages they receive, from the media, "leaders," or even pamphlets about animal rights.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sean B #

    It sounds great Mary, how long will it be?

    September 19, 2007
  2. Ellie #

    I think it's important for humans to understand other animals have as much interest in their well being as we do in ours.

    That doesn't depend on how they process self awareness, pleasure, pain, etc. It only matters that however they perceive their well being, they regard it with as much importance as we do.

    Would that pass the scientific test? Beyond our own observation, science demonstrates animals experience fear. So fear of what? Fear of threat to well being.

    The assumption that animals don't care about their well being as much as we do is clearly a projection of our value of animals.

    September 19, 2007
  3. My 2 cents:

    About the pamphlet as a whole: It’s difficult, if not impossible, to adequately cover the many ways we severely abuse animals. Since 99% of our abuse of animals is inflicted on “food” animals, and since food is the big, thick root of the animal abuse tree (since people eat meat, eggs and/or dairy several times per day in an almost frenzied addiction), I think it is worthwhile to focus 99% of the pamphlet on animal agriculture and veganism. Once people go vegan, the rest of their abuses generally take care of themselves (i.e. are eliminated).

    About scientists: Their opinions, especially outside of their scientific specialty, are overrated, and especially when we’re trying to reach the general public rather than scientists. Don’t get me wrong; I have as much or more respect for science as most scientists, but scientists often have their own personal prejudices, unique views of the philosophy of science (e.g. Popperian versus Kuhnian), and legitimate and inherent restrictions on what they can or cannot say, qua scientists, talking strictly science. But just because something can’t be said or measured with scientific certainty or precision, doesn’t mean our knowledge of it is lacking in any significant way.

    September 19, 2007

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