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February 18, 2020 - Patheos

Seeing Animals: What Ethical Responsibilities Do Humans Have to Other Creatures?

Seeing Animals: What Ethical Responsibilities Do Humans Have to Other Creatures?
Two animals sharing a connectionFile Photo / © Photabulous!

Beginning with a pescatarian diet in undergrad, I picked up books like Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and cried over films like Bong Joon-ho’s Okja.

I wondered at my own moment in time and how I might be remembered by future generations, realizing more and more the magnetic draw of the counter-cultural, revolutionary beliefs from a spectrum of environmental and animal rights activists. Troubled by my complacency, my consumption without questioning, ten years of curiosity and quasi-commitment to animal activism has brought me to pivotal moments of tender clarity: fostering a South Korean kitten with rear leg paralysis, carrying injured wildlife to rehab clinics, struggling through my dedication to veganism, and practicing vulnerability in a classroom of new students every term as I teach about animal rights.

And then, in examining my own cultural lens, I began to question processes. What are the costs of my preferences? How are my patterns of consumption satisfied, and who pays for them?

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