Last August 15, Friday, I was lucky to have attended a lecture on the “Philosophy In Animal Advocacies” at Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium that featured three of De La Salle University-Manila’s very own, exploring different philosophical wonders in animal advocacies.
Beauty in the Beasts: Philosophy and Images of Animal Cruelty presented by Ms. Laureen Velasco
Towards a Postfeminist Theory of Animal Rights by Dr. Hazel T. Biana
Art for Bark’s Sake: Representing the Voiceless in Animal Rights Movements prepared by Dr. Beverly Sarza
Question and Answer portion after their lecture
*All photos are mine unless otherwise specified
As there were three parts of the lecture, I would like to express my thoughts and opinions in fragments. Personally, these were unlike the ordinary talks I’d hear from anywhere, as the speakers were emotionally and philosophically inclined to what they were presenting. I had witnessed not only value but also dedication in their advocacies.
Explicitly, I want to focus my entry on the awareness on ‘Animal Cruelty’. At present, vast numbers of perpetrators are involved in these crimes yet the law sees them blindly.
In an introduction of Ms. Laureen Velasco’s dialogue, she mentioned a brief history of how animals are used and seen in society pointing out that some philosophers believed that animals have no emotions while others like Locke argued that animals conversed in their own way possible. Velasco then showed the crowd various pictures of animal cruelty namely animals used for entertainment, laboratory testing, profit, and amusement through torture. After seeing the photos that flashed in front of us, I was lost for words.
I was deeply saddened by the fact that humans treat animals viciously. What were supposed to be stewards of the earth become dictators, rulers, and never nurturers. The photos made me realize that even I, was cruel to these gifts from God since I do not raise awareness in order to save them from their misery. We often bury our heads in the sand saying, “I don’t want to know” and this inaction makes abusers continue their evil deeds. That is why; Velasco ended her dialogue with different advocacies fighting for animal rights. A spark of hope ignited within me knowing that there are still people out there who are willing to fight until each one of these beastly but beautiful creatures are freed from hell.
On the other hand, we can help advocate animal rights through our own little and ordinary ways. It doesn’t have to be radical, like Dr. Hazel Biana who saved a cat she named Tango and helped the cat find a home. Biana introduced Peter Singer to the listeners on the earlier part of her discourse. Singer is a champion on approaching animal ethics.
“While Singer believes that the interests of both humans and nonhumans should be considered, and that we should generally make decisions that advance the preferences and decrease the pain for the greatest number, he does not speak in terms of individual rights for any beings, human or nonhuman. This opens the door to the idea that under the right circumstances, it is acceptable to use others as a means to an end, even if such use involves taking the other’s life.” -http://www.humanemyth.org
Biana shared that Singer’s book, “Animal Liberation”, continues to aid the people to remember how badly we treat animals today. Biana also shares feminist animal rights theories and its connection to emotions. She mentioned Josephine Donovan, Margaret Fuller, and Carol Adams; all who argue that animals are treated not purely because we pity them or of sentiment but because of justice that leads us to redeeming and caring for them. Biana ends her discourse on the choice of choice, when faced and given with it, we should know which one we should choose and which opportunities we can take for the greater good of animals.
Last but definitely not the least was Dr. Beverly Sarza’s lecture on how we can promote animal advocacies in the form of art and representations. She presented symbolic representations like how doves can symbolize hope, how bird feces can create art and substance depending on the viewer’s imagination, how feathers were once a world renowned fashion statement that lead to extinction of some very large number of birds, and how we can relay art as a direct punch in the face through paintings. “…in the United States alone… 267; voiceless chickens who are being slaughtered per second” Sarza on ending her talk.
To sum up, the lecture I attended was very eye opening. I believe it ignited awareness to everyone present in the auditorium, as it was not only insightful but very heart wrenching to watch. We are animals ourselves but we do not treat each other in a horrible manner. Shouldn’t we do the same to animals? Shouldn’t we at least give back a little from their service and love of us?
“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.” – Job12:7
This post was inspired by the Philosophy In Animal Advocacies lecture held at DLSU TYA.