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Karen is an animal rights advocate and president of United Poultry Concerns. UPC is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 to address the treatment of domestic fowl in farming – including chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Karen also runs an animal sanctuary. She is the author of several books on veganism and animal rights, including Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry (1997) and The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities (2005).
01:23 Karen’s Intro
- @United Poultry Concerns
- Meeting Viva the chicken
- “A lifelong affinity for birds”
- Seeing a friend’s father killing a hen
05:05 What’s Real?
- Growing up in Pennsylvania
- Catching & killing wildlife “my parents never objected”
- Everybody went to some kind of church “that’s what we did then… respectable people go to church”
- Sunday school “for parents to have some time to themselves”
- Parents not very religious
- “God didn’t make rats, the devil made rats” to rationalise killing
- “I was never a believer”… “If I joined the church… I could wear stockings instead of socks”
13:08 What Matters?
- “I was always directly affected by others whether they were human or other than human”
- Childhood distress: a duck being run over, baby birds falling from nests
- #empathy & #compassion as a moral core
21:02 Who Matters?
- Father & brothers hunting pheasants, squirrels & rabbits
- Realising what father was doing in the cellar
- Arguing at the dinner table “I wasn’t thinking about who was on my plate”
- Father: “Everything hunts the rabbit”
- “I relate directly to other creatures – I don’t need any belief system at all”
- Reading “The First Step” by #leotolstoy . Giving up animal products as the first step of #nonviolence … “that was really it – I didn’t want to eat animal flesh any more… that was in 1974”
- #Animaltesting . #EdwardTaub ‘s primate research #SilverSpringmonkeys
- Nurses having to do animal experiments to qualify
- Do you need to have a psychopathic detachment to be a vet/doctor?
- Being a juvenile probation officer
- Being traumatised by SPCA literature on #harpseal slaughter “This was my eye opening experience of institutionalised animal abuse”
- Witnessing seal culling in Canada in 1974
- National Geographic asking photographers to damage Beaver habitats to get a good story
- Brian Davies’ book “Savage Luxury”
- Lisa Kemmerer https://youtu.be/Txivq_2DIdE
- Cultural/traditional/religious justifications for causing harm… “I don’t think anything justifies causing harm” beyond self-defence / defending others
- “There is a lot of violence within the human psyche.”
- #ThomasHardy . Seeing the worst of humanity clearly
- #rodeo cruelty “rooted in people wanting to eat cows” & hog roasts
- Almost all cultures, modern & ancient have animal abusive aspects, “The West” industrialised it
- The roles of religion & animal agriculture in #colonialism “we’re on a mission from god”
49:00 A Better Future?
- Peace activist & animal activist #ColmanMcCarthy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colman_…
“don’t worry about being successful – just be faithful”
- #KimStallwood https://youtu.be/5-8vYRhJvaU
- We can’t control our success but we can control whether we “keep faith” with a cause & those we’re committed to help
- “I have a job to do here & I’m going to do it”
- “You have to craft an argument… it’s showtime now”
- “These animals matter!”
- “We have an obligation to know what we’re putting them through”
- “It’s your journey… take your time” is a betrayal of animals… “this is an urgent matter”
- “They are experiencing themselves from within as intimately as you and I are” “They are not other”
- #evolution , #neurobiology & behaviour connects us & gives us many common experiences
- “These are facts… The case is clear… the question is what are we going to do about it”
- #ArthurKoestler ‘s work to end the #deathpenalty “this is not just an issue of statistics”
- “Facts are the basis of your values… what are your values if they’re not rooted in facts”
- “I’m totally committed to doing what I can do to try to make the world a better place” – Rupert the rooster agrees!
- UPC: “Treatment, not just compassion” “The lonely counterpoint to the chicken industry” “We’ve stolen their earth rights”
- The paranoia of human supremacy
- Could humanity play a positive role for #sentientity ?
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Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Denise for funding this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.