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Brueghel’s two monkeys: passing the final exam in the history of mankind

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Ingrid E. Newkirk
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Norfolk, VA, USA

As society’s ethical values expand over time, we understand that we must have consideration for more than just ourselves, our race, our gender, and our species. This talk confronts our biases and provides food for thought in moving beyond our current understanding of human-animal relations. History provides a lens through which our current norms can be viewed. It allows us to discern how our behavior might be perceived by future generations, and this perspective can help us understand how to improve our behavior. While it is easy to be appalled by what has been done in the past, it is more challenging to uncover the actions taking place today that will be regarded with horror in the future and, most important by far, to be a part of the necessary change. By modifying one’s perspective to include a more empathetic view of other animals, our obligations and potential become clear.

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