This fragment is contained in > > Edition Farangis: Animal Autonomy E-Reader, Jahrgang 4, Nr. 1 (2023)

The fragment in German >

Looking in a fair way at the level of experience

Some people who compare their problems to those of animals assume that their analogy comparisons do justice to the specifics of the injustices committed against animals and ‘the animal world’ by humans.

However, they do not really operate their comparisons of suffering in a basic degree of convincing consistency, or would they really want to claim that everything that happens to animals through humans (animal objectification, speciesisms …) could be compared in real terms with their human-internal -isms, without overlooking both the concreteness as well as the overall setting of animal problematics?

Constellations and contexts are obviously different when people devalue, exclude or/and „dehumanize“ people from their ranks in an exclusionary way. Dehumanization“ takes place within human societies and human spaces of interaction, and must be viewed against the background of human history and the sociological contexts that are effective among people, cultures, human groups.

The political approaches for finding common solutions to intra-human conflicts, will have to choose a different perspectivity as a starting point.

In fact, in our opinion, it is somewhat insensitive to believe that the cause of animals is easily helped by analogy comparisons,

by not only comparing or relating the suffering, oppression, etc., that humans experience through humans, with the suffering of the human oppression of animals – which, in the overall context, first of all experience a fundamental negation by humanity – alone,
but by confusing two different political-ethical problems and the resulting catastrophes for the affected as “similar”.

We should be able to realize, without a far too crude recourse to the lamentable chain of human -isms, what it really means for animals and for us when animals are and have been just completely and perpetually objectified by definition in quite nameable, specific ways, by humans.

A conservative analogism is that many people generally think the comparison “we are treated ‘like animals’” or “this person is as cruel ‘an an animal’/this is something ‘only animals do’”, can always be employed by people as needed to contrast the criterion of ‘humanity’ with a negative of ‘animalness’ and ‘being an animal’. Conservative analogism involves omitting the actual situation and interest of animals in one way or the other.

But as far as the more progressive side is concerned: With a more intersubjective and fairer approach, a blanket statement such as: “we share the same suffering” should first be questioned more closely in its justification. We would not consider such a statement to be a sufficient expression of solidarity. Because: If we move to a more just level, human intersubjectivity with animals would indeed mean that humans are able to really put things into relation and thus break the spell of
discrimination – by making the situation of the counterpart (the animal victims/of animals as affected by human destructiveness) in this case really understandable for humans as being of a far more severe nature.

How can a human being assume that the concrete things done to animals by humans would have a lesser consequence for animals than if the same thing happened to humans?

If I compare myself with animals, quasi intersubjectively, and then come to the conclusion that we experience the same among humans in this human-determined world, then this is simply not fair to animals and does not represent the real events and the real history known to us.

And whether an intersubjectivity that contains so many discrepancies is an optimal way of approach, since there are still a number of other and perhaps more clear-sighted ways, we would like to put at this point as a question in the room.

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