Yesterday, I gave a talk at the Neither Man Nor Beast online conference organized by Animal Liberation Ontario. Really great speakers presented and amazing, thought-provoking, sensitive stores were shared. Animal Liberation Ontario recorded the conference, so I recommend, if you can, requesting the audio and video recordings from them.
My talk was titled “Contemplating Radical Self-Care: Animal Rights as if Life Matters.” I’m motivated to share this in text because I want to go deeper and actually start a conversation about this. Since we are communicating primarily via text and since we are often confined to cyberspace when we exchange thoughts, it’s really easy to interpret differently what the author means. I have not blogged for nearly a year because I’ve been finding this medium for communication more and more difficult. As a facilitator, I rely on communication in the flesh–communication in which we are able to clarify and negotiate exactly what we mean in the moment. Much of my work (paid and unpaid) in the last two years has been in this context.
For this blog post, I don’t want to critique. Our animal rights culture is structured in such a way that critique, deconstruction, and exclusion are highly valued, reinforced principles, with little creativity or solution-oriented practices to balance them. Therefore, it is my challenge for this post and for future posts to attempt communication about animal rights, about animals’ lives, and about the animal rights community that does not rely on deconstruction and exclusion as the major premise of conversation. I want to converse about possibilities, about practices in creating and supporting a life-affirming, diverse animal rights culture. This will definitely be over a series of posts, ranging in scope, issue, and topic, but for this one, I set the preliminary stage. Continue reading