Suzanne Lieberman Profile picture
Aug 20, 2018 10 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/10 Sunday night musings on the efficacy of “graphic” images in advancing animal welfare
2/10 It seems like graphic images of animal suffering can be helpful for those already mitigating suffering; less helpful for those not currently open to considering the plight of other sentient beings’ suffering at all, which seems a proportionally small but crucial audience.
3/10 The extent to which different forms of animal suffering - whether thru words or images - move individuals to change wrt animals - and how it can most effectively be done, is worthy of its own elaborate analysis. Some great orgs like @Faunalytics working on this.
4/10 Gut feeling on this is that we first look at whether animal suffering outweighs peoples’ perceived shame in contributing to that suffering. Explains why graphic images won’t work for ppl closed 2 animal suffering, or newly open to it but still more strongly assoc shame.
5/10 Overly graphic images tend to raise feelings of personal - rather than collective - shame, whether warranted or not. Most people operating out of perceived shame won’t feel motivated to change or even listen/look. See, e.g. #MLK and @NatGeo on climate deniers.
6/10 “You have been little morally persuasive power with those who can feel your underlying contempt.” #MLK
8/10 But graphic images have their place — for those of us already open to mitigating suffering, it’s harder for us to turn away, easier to explain to others more rationally the nuances of suffering and how they can be (fairly) easily averted over time through collective exposure
9/10 After shame, there are of course countless and insidious ways in which most religions’ concepts of dominion rather than stewardship, have crept into property laws & constitutions, literature, and culture for centuries that need to continue to be brought to light & untangled
10/10 Institutional-level change is where the most gains can be made for animals suffering most, per critical work by @jacyreese and #effectivealtruism advocates. But exposing countless everyday ingrained anti-species and anti-animal norms also key to change.

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