A friend of mine is presenting at a conference that is being held today and tomorrow (March 15 and 16) in Ontario, Canada. “Thinking About Animals: Domination, Captivity, Liberation.” The description sounds very interesting:
We are all at a critical moment. The existing order of global capitalism and industrialization is unsustainable, directly linked with global warming and massive extinction of species. New social movements offer an alternative future and require a different consciousness about our place in the world. The animal liberation movement, once dismissed as a ‘single-issue’ cause is increasingly recognized as the logical next step in a broader emancipatory struggle. As Steve Best states in his essay “The New Abolitionism: Capitalism, Slavery and Human Emancipation”:
“Animal liberation is not an alien concept to modern culture; rather it builds on the most progressive ethical and political values Westerners have devised in the last two hundred years –those of equality, democracy, and rights – as it carries them to their logical conclusion…The next great step in moral evolution is to abolish the last acceptable form of slavery that subjugates the vast majority of species on this planet to the violent whim of one. Moral advance today involves sending human supremacy to the same refuse bin that society earlier discarded much male supremacy and white supremacy. Animal liberation requires that people transcend the complacent boundaries of humanism in order to make a qualitative leap in ethical consideration, thereby moving the moral bar from reason and language to sentience and subjectivity.” (http://www.drstevebest.org/papers/vegenvani/new_abolitionism.php)
While Best and others recognize animal advocacy as a social movement that should be seen in the context of other challenges to corporate globalization and struggles for social justice, a growing number of universities have been adding courses that explore various dimensions of our relationships with other animals. At the same time, deep divisions have developed within the animal liberation movement itself, as outlined in Gary Francione’s Rain Without Thunder. Many of those in the animal rights movement, such as Peter Singer, whose Animal Liberation is widely credited as a key text in the movement, have moved to reformist positions that embrace ‘humane slaughter’ while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals applauds McDonald’s hamburger corporation and kills pound animals. Meanwhile, the animal exploitation industries and government have imposed new laws such as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act in the USA.
This conference is intended as a opportunity for discussion of these developments. The conference is open to all and we invite participation from academics and activists.
Those who register in advance will have the option of purchasing vegan meals.
Proposals for papers and panels are invited and activist groups may request a table for display of their material.
Participants will discuss a wide variety of issues, such as the following:
‘Spectres of speciesism’: philosophical and ideological legitimizations for exploitation of animals and ethical challenges to these legitimizations
Capitalism, ecological crisis and animal liberation
Representing animals: images of captivity, images of liberation
Manufacturing Consent: animals in advertising
Captivity industries and their prisoners
Animals as persons, property and commodities
Animals and the law
Boundaries, Empathy and Human Relationships with Other Animals
Us/Not Us: the imprisoning and liberating of apes -The Great Ape Project and equality beyond humanity; Release and Restitution; The Primate Freedom Project
Emotions and sentience and why they matter
Lessons from ethology
‘The Case for Comparing Atrocities’: Factory farms and Holocaust imagery
Blowback: unintended consequences of domination and captivity: BSE, Avian influenza, environmental degradation, dangers to human health, psychological effects
Corporate and government responses to animal liberation
‘Green is the New Red’: Constructing the Ecoterrorist Menace
‘Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?’
Animal liberation and social justice
Debates on the future of the animal rights movement
The nature of liberation: welfare vs. abolition
Humane slaughter? Cage-free eggs? Corporate compassion?
Veganism as direct action
I hope they have audio available afterwards!