On Earth Day weekend 2016, the Cleveland Animal Rights Alliance invited me
to the Cleveland Heights library to offer a presentation (public; free vegan pizza and homemade dishes) on Why We Need an Animal Liberation for the 21st Century.
So we focused on the subtitle and reasons to recharge the phrase animal liberation.
Discussions of rights so often veer into questions about who qualifies. We laud certain animals for demonstrating (often at great cost to the animals themselves) that they can decipher and respond to our cues, or adapt to our domestic environments, or act like us. Our assessments of what animals deserve can trap them again. As Catharine MacKinnon observed more than a decade ago, the model that “makes animals objects of rights in standard liberal moral terms—misses animals on their own terms.”
And lately I’ve been leaning to liberation as our real objective: it evokes those living on nature’s terms, autonomous, free.
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