During the months of February through April, Oscar Horta and Aditya S.K. gave talks and met with people in India, Nepal, Thailand, and Hong Kong. These talks and workshops are part of our efforts to reach a younger public with a growing interest in the defense of animals. We are working with student groups at universities and local altruist groups to help them incorporate moral consideration for animals and long-term thinking into their work and advocacy. We’ve been sharing information about core concepts like speciesism, animal sentience, wild animal suffering, and longtermism. During these trips, we were also able to make new contacts within academia.
The largest part of the tour was in India. Oscar Horta and Aditya SK gave a tour of talks, workshops, and meetups at diverse locations throughout India, on the topics of animal ethics, animal advocacy, and longtermism. Locations included universities, law schools, and festivals in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Pondicherry, Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi.
After India we gave talks in Nepal and Thailand. Oscar then headed to Hong Kong, where we have recently begun working.
We’ve found that there are varying views of wild animals in Asia. Some people are inclined to help wild animals because they are aware of the human-caused harms to wild animals due to trafficking, though they are unaware of wild animal suffering due to natural harms. In some places, people view all animals – domesticated and wild – as dangerous rather than vulnerable. We also saw that, as in other places around the world, it is commonly believed that what is good for the environment is good for wild animals, and that most of the natural harms like hunger and lack of space are the result of human activities, rather than the result of natural processes – mainly the fact that many more animals are born than can possibly survive. In other words, many people are still unaware that wild animal suffering is caused both by anthropogenic and natural causes.
During these events we were able to meet with a variety of people, including university students, vegans, animal activists, and academics, both formally and informally. The state of animal advocacy varies from place to place. In India there are very strong and well established animal movements around the country, while Hong Kong has a small but growing movement of people who are becoming more aware of the plight of animals and want to bring about change. While there is little awareness of speciesism or wild animal suffering due to natural harms, we have found that there are diverse groups of people who are receptive to both messages and are eager to learn more.
We regularly give talks throughout India, but these were the first visits to Nepal, Thailand, and Hong Kong. Next month, Aditya will be giving a talk at the Vegan Festival in Indonesia, while Oscar will participate in a virtual event for animal advocates in the Philippines. These will be our first events in those countries. We’re pleased by the reception our ideas received, and we expect to have new speakers in India and Hong Kong by the end of the year.
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