Friday, December 29, 2017

Barbara J. King

Barbara J. King’s latest book is Personalities on the Plate: The Lives & Minds of Animals We Eat.

From her Q&A with Lauren Choplin at the Nonhuman Rights Project:

First, I hope you know that we at the NhRP are big fans of yours! One aspect of your writing we really appreciate is how you emphasize the importance of asking questions about the kinds of beings other animals are—and being open to acknowledging and acting on the answers. In your view, where in this process do most people get “stuck” (if that’s the right word to use) and why?

Thank you so much—the fan status absolutely goes both ways. I was thrilled to watch Unlocking the Cage at Sundance last year, and some months later on was asked to introduce [NhRP President] Steve Wise at one of his amazing university talks (video below). That was an honor.

So, here you ask an important and hard-to-answer question that gets to the heart of transforming the ways nonhuman animals are treated. More and more, I’m thinking about human exceptionalism and how it is that some people so readily settle on thinking of humans as separate, superior, and special. Many of our institutions that take freedom and autonomy away from nonhuman animals not only put our species at the center, but also implicitly suggest that our needs are the only ones to matter—from research laboratories and zoos to our food systems. Culturally, we are steeped in this mindset so much from childhood on, that even for people who connect emotionally with dogs and cats it can feel that there’s a wall between their own lives and the lives of a chimpanzee in a zoo or a pig in a factory farm.

And let’s face it, it does cost us to tear that wall down—because when we feel empathy, and want to change things, we face obstacles and it really hurts emotionally to feel all the animal suffering in the world. At the same time, there’s such joy when we make a positive difference in animals’ lives, and I do see genuine transformation happening. I think the answer is related to...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Evolving God.

My Book, The Movie: Evolving God.

--Marshal Zeringue