Part Three: Sentience

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This is a moment for yodelling ‘At Last‘.

In its Action Plan, the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill commits to:

  • Recognize animal sentience – the capacity of animals to have feelings, including pain and suffering
  • End the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter and taking “further steps” to limit foie gras trade
  • Bring in “more effective powers” to tackle livestock worrying as part of its Kept Animals Bill
  • Stop people keeping primates as pets, improving standards in zoos and “cracking down” on puppy smuggling

We’ve written endlessly on this – that it’s potty to deny animals sentience. If you have had a pet, wandered in nature or watched even one social media clip of a dog/cat/bird/horse/otter/grizzly bear/dolphin/panda/ elephant/orangutan reacting to or initiating some self-entertainment, then it is impossible … just impossible … to refute conscious decision-making, delight-bringing, care-demonstrating capacity of all living creatures.

That we don’t speak their language has persuaded those of our species who traditionally determine such matters that animals lack consciousness. [Odd though: that they understand and react to ours.]

To be clear, we find Consciousness synonymous with Life. Consciousness IS life.

That means feeling joy, pain, loss, scepticism, hunger, cold, confusion, irritability, revenge, love [that’ll do; Ed] are states of awareness experienced by ALL breathing creatures. And it’s going to be validated in law.

At last. #whyzittakensolong ?

madeleinebaird.com/blogos

Part Two: Necessity in naming

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Hermaphrodite lobsters appear as 1 in 50 million. Thare split-colour displays the condition of gynandromorphy; in this case, the blue side’s female, the brown male. Aren’t thay magnificent?

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© J_P_M

Since rising in emphasis to inculcate cultural priorities, we’ve been thinking on normative solutions to Gender.

Cards on the table: provided none is harmed as a result, once grown we think every child born has the right to love and be loved; we think every child born has the right to express their truth.

In light of which, do we not owe it to one another to listen to what each says about themselves and accommodate those wishes accordingly? Gender fluidity, for those who experience it, is an all-consuming demand.

Well, in that case, grammar needs robust refreshing. Personal pronouns in current declension just won’t do. So we start the debate which we hope others will embrace, dissect, ventilate, broaden. Here’s an opening suggestion:

  • I, you, he, she, thay
  • Me, you, him, her, thane
  • Mine, yours, his, hers, thine/thare
  • S/he, wo/man, Mr, Mis, mrs … though that’d be wierd

An essential property of human life is our humanity. The huffing, puffing and eye-rolling which accompanies the utterances of many who find this trivial might be calmed by reflecting on what it means to be acknowledged for our true selves.

Name: to a large extent, our name IS our identity: it captures who and what we are. Spelling it correctly is part of honouring that. Thus mis-spelling a name demonstrates a lack of respect for that person: if the meaning of a term is its reference, then it must be carefully and correctly applied as a rigid designator : just as, for example, understanding thare [non-binary] gender for who thay are.

There is both freedom and tyranny in such refreshed approach to how we greet the world. Empathy is a real help in supporting efforts to navigate through: I don’t suppose anyone intends harm yet being careless with others’ feeling impacts as a dreadful blow. For many, sense of self supervenes on how one’s treated: being diminished by tactlessness is an empirical universal, alas.

Sensitivity to others deepens one’s own river of humanity, allowing it to flow ever more freely. Although at first we found this enlarged way of understanding our many-peopled-world difficult, there is something utterly splendid in the necessity of correctly naming others: that opening oneself out as walls come tumbling down.

madeleinebaird.com/blogos