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I met David nearly 20 yrs ago when he was a budding philosophy grad student who had taken up animal rights. We used to show up at the same protests. My students adored him because of his witty straight-forwardness in dealing with hecklers who whined about our efforts to stop animal abuse.


Two decades later, David is a veteran philosopher with a long list of accomplishments. Not only has he made significant academic contributions (some of his peers think he has the best-going animal rights philosophy), he doesn't leave the lay people behind either! He provides topics suited to a more general audience as well as numerous teaching aids.


David is relatively unique in that not many philosophers build their credibility on the topic of animal rights. For most, animal rights is a side-dish. However, David takes it on as a main course and as such he is a pioneer in the most important area of social justice in history!


Animal rights is foundational to civilized behavior of humans for it challenges us to choose between cruelty and compassion. The ramifications of that choice will determine the destiny of this species.


We encourage you to frequent his comprehensive site:
Dr David Sztybel


You'll find not only much to learn, but also much to use!


in friendship,


Tags: animal, rights, sztybel

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<3 <3

+1 Noha

Pretenders verses Contenders:D

this is a particularly interesting article for 30baders:

Giving Credence to Philosophical Creeds


it deals with a common issue vegans often face regarding dietary discrimination (amongst other things).

if you say you don't eat corpse because of health or religious reasons, no problem!

however, if you say you don't do the corpse thing for ethical reasons (ie 'i am vegan'), then all sorts of issues arise.


the document presents a case against the ontario human rights commission's attitude of denying that vegans are entitled to the same benefits (as established religious factions) by virtue of their outlook and practises:

Justice and non-violence demand that we must consider equivalent, preventable harms,
such as degradations of moral welfare from Grace’s current lack of religious freedom
as compared to the case of Theo. The latter innocently enjoys the spoils of arbitrary
favoritism. If the results of this paper are taken seriously, it seems that objective grounds
empower us to suggest that secular veganism, just as Grace’s Buddhism, may be deemed
either a creed or a component of a creed, and this is wholly coherent with the cited 2004
Supreme Court of Canada ruling. The state cannot objectively deny that Grace or the
vegan is “religious,” although OHRC policy implies such a denial. Moreover, democracy
impels us to promote pluralism and diversity. The OHRC embraces these ideals, (OHRC,
1996, p. 16) but not yet fully in its rather twentieth-century sense of “creed.”
(from the conclusion)


the paper is worth reading to gain deeper insight into the 'rights' components which should be supported for 'unfavored' groups.


in friendship,




This article although interesting from a philosophical point of view, could possibly be disturbing from the point of view of some vegans. 

Some people in Western society already view veganism as a kind of religion, cult, or extreme point of view, and therefore reject it.  This in turn can lead to rejection and persecution of some vegans who do take a verbal stand. 

IMO, we should be very cautious about trying to associate veganism with religiousness and or religious rights. 

This could be counter productive in further dividing society into smaller components and "us vs them" problems. 

Now may be, other rights do play a role such as the right of freedom of speech. 


Although in my head, I am an ethical AR person...

My current strategy for most people I deal with is to promote veganism with health benefits first. 

I suppose this is partly based on my personal experience.  In my past, I would promote the ethical treatment of animals, but at the same time, I had a law of the jungle point of view plus the support of my then religious point of view, that it was ok to eat animals at meal time. 

Once I went veg and fruitarian, my mind got cleared an detoxed, and my interest in ethics increased, as did my AR interests and seeking out like minded people. 

I rarely get into AR debates with SAD people as this seems to bring out more antagonism than the health side of veg. Actually, there are two extremes, the argumentative antagonistic side, but also a side where the person just pulls a blank and looks at me with no interest in their face and or nothing to say.  The topic literally goes over their head, perhaps in part because of their own religious conditioning such as kosher and halal. 

So, I promote health first hoping their minds get cleaned, and then the AR stuff come easily.  And most people consider themselves health gurus:D

One person who I have apprenticed into vegetarianism, and has been so for about 9 months now, I am starting to plant seeds and say random AR statements here and there and they seem interested.   They also hate the sight and smell of meat now, and or being in places and stores that sell them.

Another person eats meat, but I know they studied veterinarian medicine (although not practicing.)  This person I did discuss more of the AR side of it and they seemed to appreciate it. 


The above is how I deal with individuals.  I am still contemplating the larger political strategies.  If I observe what happened in the US during prohibition of alcohol, those who wanted to drink, still found a way.  We could pass strict AR laws, but until unless people want to change, animal abuse is still going to happen. I suppose the modern example is the exotic animal trade whether it is for food, fur, pets, or medicinal purposes.  Many countries have made laws against exotic and or endangered animal trade, but people will get what people want until unless at the grass roots level, they are convinced not to do that. 

I do believe it is possible though.  To change society from the grassroots up.   An example is our modern school system in the USA.  May be 200 years ago, it did not exists, and some communities did teach basic skills, but it was not obligatory.  Now it is obligatory and or every child has an obligation and or right to a basic education. 

We can change things for animals too, but people have to want the change themselves.

These are just my thoughts, and may be with the passage of time, I will get more "bull" headed myself.  I am not sure.

Peace, PK

your thoughts are fine pk.

what's important to realize though is that there are many ways.


you use the health approach. paleorobert uses the ethics (specifically compassion) approach. some stress the environment. i use HEE (health, environment, ethics). different people relate to different stimuli and you never know what will affect whom. that's why it is important not to put down a particular approach without careful pragmatic evaluation.


IMO, we should be very cautious about trying to associate veganism with religiousness and or religious rights. 

This could be counter productive in further dividing society into smaller components and "us vs them" problems.

the "us vs them" mentality is an essential part of any social justice movement.


look at freelee here, for instance:

You just made it my business!


there are actually 3 factions as explained here:

feeling bad for doing good


i emphasize "us vs them" with no uncertainty at all.


that doesn't mean you have to do it the same way. however, the line does exist and most people stand on one side or another with some trying to straddle it (which brings up the saying, "those who walk down the middle of the road can get hit from both sides :D)


what is far more important is that we don't get an "us vs them" mentality within our own ranks to the point where ar activists start fighting with each other instead of against the real enemy. nothing wrong with having different approaches, but it pays to keep this in mind:


the animal rights movement ... is the fastest growing social justice movement in history outstripping anti-racism, feminism, child protection, handicap support etc. with size comes diversity. the factions aren't going to all agree on what weapons to use. however, we need to get our troops to aim these weapons at the real enemy, the oppressors, instead of at each others' heads if we want to get the job done with any efficiency.



in friendship,




I am just picking your brain here by making a suggestion from my own thought processing.  Do you believe that an 'us vs. them' scenario actually exists?  My views resemble something along the lines of informed vs. the uninformed with the emphasis focusing on the informed doing what they can to educate as opposed to placing the blame on the uninformed.  It is merely a specification on the basis of effort and time (almost like a process) rather than a well defined, borded (in my humble opinion, fractured) line of thought where there remains a good vs. bad. 


Sometimes it is difficult to put my thoughts on paper but I hope that you can understand what I am trying to portray here.  I have nothing but respect for all of your knowledge, efforts and goals.  I'm simply trying to learn something from a more experiences activist as I am relatively new to this. 

Thanks for everything :)




no worries at all, rudy! your ideas above are completely legitimate.


your point about informed vs. the uninformed is quite valid and many who become informed, do change their ways refusing to support the imprisonment, exploitation, abuse and murder of animals for diet, clothing, entertainment, testing etc.


however, many don't and what's worse is that many won't.


i think education is one of the most important things we can do. you are an excellent example of someone engaged in this activity. you bring the uninformed to a state of being informed and certainly even though there is an "us-them" line in the classroom, it is a poor teacher who blames his students for coming to him in ignorance. so i am in full agreement with you on this point.


however, those who do know exactly what they are doing and why (sometimes even better than many ar activists) like:

sport hunters



blood sport (bulltorturepigeonshoot etc) enthusiasts

wildlife terrorists

etc etc etc


don't need education so much as incarceration. they are not only the equivalent of 'nazis' towards animals, but are also a menace to society. they are oppressors and it is a good idea for the protectors to keep that in mind. those like paul watson, gary yourovsky, stephen best, peta, alf etc aren't there to 'convince' them into behaving themselves - they are there to stop them from oppressing the victims. they do the education too, but the primary focus is in 'us' stopping 'them'.


oppressors don't just stop. they need to be stopped.


in friendship,






I had this whole big write up but after reading it I realized is was just silly musings.  The oppressed are what matters :).  Both education and "policing" are necessary: education for making the shared conscious shift and policing for protecting the oppressed until that happens.  Thank you for sharing Prad :). 



you are most welcome rudy!


i agree with your assessment completely. until certain humans acquire sufficient self-discipline to not succumb to their baser components, others will have to keep them in line. doing so is understandably not a pleasant task for many who strive towards compassionate actions.


i often deal with activists who are enraged by what happens in the world, but are also ashamed of some of the violent thoughts that appear within their own minds. i try to explain to them that they should not be surprised to feel the way they do because they aren't violent, that they really are kind and this is why such thoughts are so discomforting to them. so they bear a double burden because they see the suffering, yet have to deal with their own frustration of thinking things that do not go with their inner nature.


however, at some point we must confront the reality that someone has to stop oppression. much of it can be done via education and example, but it seems, at present, that enforcement is also necessary, if for no other reason than to protect the victims, as you point out.


however, you don't have to do everything, as this post explains:


with the key phrase being what leanne mallet says:

"we need everyone!"


and what i tell ema at the end of that post, i say to you too rudy:

"i am so glad you are part of that everyone!"


in friendship,




Nicely said about getting our troops to aim these weapons at the real enemy...instead of each other. 

I totally agree with that. 


I suppose I have premature fruitopian dreams.  I wish we could bypass government laws, lawbooks, and all the confusion that brings, but they are probably temporary evils. 

If I look back on it, we pat ourselves on the back in Western society for have achieved more rights for women when the shameful part is, it should have been human rights all along. For example, either all have the right to vote, or none. 

This is an example of the point I was trying to make earlier. For example, in the West, we define gender as male or female.  We then oppress each other based on this. While in society, males might have the upper hand, sometimes at home, they can be wooped puppies themselves.  Forget about recognizing and or respecting people born with a third or different gender and or orientation.  Now, especially in the USA, we are writing and rewriting the laws on partnerships and marriage, and third gender rights. 

It is a shame.  For all humans should have human rights. 

I fear the same problem for animal rights.  Just like Roe verses Wade, will we go through decades of politics, and law book (re)writing on the subject? 

As a species, we already abuse animals.  By involving the law, we further solidify the problem by denying it or enforcing it, by making it an us verse them in the human arena as well as us verses them as in human verses animal. 

When all along, it should have been (hum)animal rights and ethics. 

So this is my mental struggle right now.  Should we even bother to go the road of the courts and law books and or police enforcement? 

Or is this more like putting a band aid on a festering wound that will not heal? 

(Keep in mind I am not saying do nothing at all, I will continue in efforts to educate people on these matters, rather, what I am asking about is methodology.)

Peace, PK

Should we even bother to go the road of the courts and law books and or police enforcement?
at present, the battle needs to be fought on different levels. legal enforcement is one of those levels.

Or is this more like putting a band aid on a festering wound that will not heal?

it is a bandaid and the wound likely won't heal, but we don't have the means to perform amputation, just yet. ;)


so one does what one can with what one has.


in friendship,




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