Here is a draft of our mission statement, developed by Alice Bruckenstein, based on discussions at our early meetings. It's still a work in progress and feedback is welcome!
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The Animal Ethics Reading and Disucssion Group’s mission is to further advance awareness of the philosophical principles underlying the animal liberation movement. We feel there is a critical need for an examination of perceptions motivating humans’ role as co-habitants on Earth with other species. On the one hand, in the last half century there has been an unprecedented rise in animal abuse through the growth in population and technology, resulting in factory farms, vivisection, deforestation and other destructive developments to other species and our own. On the other hand, there has been a growing consciousness of animal abuse, and all manner of organizations have sprung up to defend, protect, liberate, shelter and rehabilitate wild and domesticated animals. This bifurcation in the cognizance of animal-related issues reflects a need for more meaningful societal conversation. We believe that at this point in history, a corpus of knowledge rooted in philosophical tenets would bring the movement forward to the next level.
We hope to inspire a greater depth and breadth of thought by seeking to
• Explore the historical philosophical foundations and development of the animal liberation movement, as well as its evolution into the various branches of current thought, through reading and discussion
• Share our findings with other individuals and groups to stimulate new ideas and further understanding
• Formulate a basic vocabulary as a means of making philosophical precepts accessible to those first gaining familiarity with key issues
• Refine our comprehension of the underlying concepts motivating our behavior in order more effectively to put forth our arguments
• Become a resource for those seeking a stronger intellectual groundwork for their beliefs than is readily offered by animal rights organizations
• Promote communication and debate within the public forum to foster insight regarding core values and their manifestation in attitudes towards other species
Our vision is that by engaging ourselves and others with key philosophical concepts supporting the animal liberation movement, a new code of ethics encompassing dignity, respect and compassion will inform humankind’s relationship with nonhuman animals.