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Issues for Talking Points About:

ANIMAL WELFARE

 

As progressives, we are constantly looking to better ourselves and our society. We integrate new ideas with ancient wisdom to make our communities, our nation and our world a better place.

More and more scientific evidence confirms what we all know as children-that non-human animals are sentient beings with the capacity to experience love, joy, pain and fear very much the same way we do. The empathy for other species, with which we are born, is systematically "taught" out of us as we grow up.

However, as progressives, we should be mindful of the fact that other animals are self-aware and that our actions impact their wellbeing.

Compassion: Both compassion and cruelty have a ripple effect. We choose which one will radiate throughout our society. •

Fairness: Progressives strive to be fair and just. We recognize that it is unacceptable for one group to abuse, exploit, and cause suffering to another. It is unjust for one group to bear all of the pain, suffering and deprivation to benefit another.

Unity: Progressives embrace the idea that we are part of a greater whole, an interdependent web of living beings. We reject the idea of the "other" as deserving less than we claim for ourselves. This includes stewardship of the environment, other species and the earth as a whole.

Quotes: "The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?’ " Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation

"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white or women created for men. " Alice Walker, The Color Purple

"As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields." Leo Tolstoy

"The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest." Henry David Thoreau

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way that its animals are treated." Gandhi

Prepared by Bonnie Boime
March 2015

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