morality

More Human News

More Human News

Existential Anxiety graphic from The Kimmela Center in ActionAh, humans. We’re always up to something.

Image: The Kimmela Center in Action

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Yu Chan swims again: A sea turtle with prosthetic flippers

Yu Chan swims again: A sea turtle with prosthetic flippers

yu-sea-turtle-prosthetic-finsThe researchers who made these prosthetic fins for Yu Chan are working on another, even more comfortable version (this is her 27th pair). I feel bad for her that she’s apparently lost her freedom, but it looks like the folks that are working for her are trying to get her to a place where she would be more able to survive on her own outside of captivity – so maybe that’s still in the cards. Anyway, this is an amazing video. Beautiful swimming, Yu!

As an aside, live animal exhibits at aquariums and zoos are usually profit-driven. If you want to go to places like the one shown in this video, please make sure they’re rescue- or sanctuary-based. For instance, at the “aqualife park” where Yu is living, there are dolphin and otter shows. Why are they not allowed to just do whatever they want, instead of performing for crowds of humans? Why are they not free, swimming in the ocean, instead of living in captivity, in tanks? What happens when they get old and are no longer attractive “exhibits”? Is their captivity for their benefit or for human benefit? If it’s primarily for our benefit, how can we morally justify continuing this practice?

Via Jezebel

Photograph from Suma Aqualife Park via Reuters

Veganism: Freedom from ethical contradictions

Well, not entirely! Read my bio for contradictions aplenty. But veganism does allow you to avoid a lot of, shall we say, moral discomfort. I remember worrying a lot more about the impacts of my actions before I went vegan – it was a source of stress for me to think I might be causing suffering (as indeed I was). Once I took the plunge and went vegan, I felt very free. That’s why I think of veganism as a liberatory process.

For instance, I used to say “I love pigs.” And yet if Facebook had existed when I was a carnist, I may have posted photos of a cute piglet on a farm without thinking very much about how he was about to be separated from his mother and would one day face a trip to the slaughterhouse, or about how this farm I’m seeing in this image isn’t at all like the horrific, factory-like farms on which the vast majority of piglets are raised. I may have posted recipes that included “free-range” pork sausage. Back then, I would not have seen the contradiction, but I know I often felt oddly “not right” about my decisions. And I felt really bad when I heard people mention the slaughterhouse, because no matter how much the small farmers we were supporting said what they were doing was humane, I had a hard time imagining what that might look like.

Today, I have a different perspective. I say, “I love pigs,” but I think it’s more important that now I know I should say, even more importantly, “I respect pigs,” because they are not objects for me to desire or want or eat or use or confine or buy or sell. They are individual persons, just like me, who desire autonomy and freedom.

So today on Facebook, the new me posted a recipe for vegan traditional pork pies, and a photo of a rescued pig at a Spanish sanctuary. No guilt.

I know that’s good for me personally. But even better, I think it’s really good for the animals I used to exploit, before I realized there was a way to opt out of the violence I was causing.

Dave Thomas and Buzz Lightyear, reunited: An object lesson in animal personhood

This viral photo is the sad document of the moment when Dave realized he was going to lose Buzz. Click here for the heartwarming story of how these two friends were reunited with the help of a photographer named Maria Sanchez. More