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We tend to hear a lot of talk about animal “welfare” and “humane education” – however much of mainstream animal education is industry-oriented and fails to include ethical or historical discourses. That’s why this week’s Animal Voices show asks some important questions about the topic of Animal Rights in post-secondary education: Is there a place for animal issues within institutional schooling? If so, to what extent is the matter of animal rights part of teaching and research, and how are some leading educators and researches expanding the dialogue?
Julie Andreyev on the creativity of animals and Vegan Congress
Our first interview is with associate Emily Carr professor Julie Andreyev who is based out of Vancouver,B.C. Apart from teaching, Andreyev is an artist, vegan, researcher and educator. Andreyev’s art practice, called Animal Lover, explores more-than-human creativity. The projects take the form of new media performance, video installation, generative art, and relational aesthetics. Andreyev is also the co-founder of the relational art group Vegan Congress, that holds events intended to develop awareness and compassion for nonhuman beings.
Founded in 2013, the Vegan Congress is an activist group creating relational art to develop discourse on veganism and practical ethics with regards to other animals. The objectives of the group are to offer compassionate means to consider animals as subjects of their own lives. The group aims to make more visible vegan practice within the community. The Vegan Congress consists of like-minded faculty, staff and students at Emily Carr University, Simon Fraser University, and University of British Columbia.
Nicolaas Rupke on teaching Animal Rights and the Importance of History
Our second interview is with historian and professor Nicolaas Rupke who teaches History of Science at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. For this interview, we ask about Rupke’s newest course titled “Animal Experimentation and Animal Rights in Historical Perspective”. Of particular importance is the historical place of animals within Western society, and how science has participated in defining the social role of nonhuman animals. We discuss the contributions of historical analyses relating to animal rights and how this can enlighten us on animal issues today.
One of Rupke’s early publications, entitled Vivisection in Historical Perspective, details the cultural progression of attitudes towards animal experimentation (and the status of animals). On this week’s show, we discuss some of the early advocates of animals rights, their reasons, and how they organized and promoted the cause. Some other important discussion points include legal milestones as well as broader social contexts acting as driving forces behind the movements for animal protection. Using the opportunity of talking to a historian of science, we ask Rupke about his personal observations on the current scientific climate around animal rights and how he sees them progressing!