On interviewing one’s heroes

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The Animal Manifesto

Our All Things Vegan radio show is the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. Tonight, I had the opportunity to interview an animal behaviorist and cognitive ethologist who I have been reading and following for about ten years: Marc Bekoff. How cool is that?

(By the way, I just spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out if I should use who or whom in that sentence. If you’d like to help this Writing & Literature major out, please feel free to comment).

Marc so graciously agreed to interview with us and it went really well. His research delves deeply into how we treat the animals we share the earth with, and his basic premise is that if animals could talk, they would say, “Treat us better or leave us alone.” More specifically:

“The central theme of The Animal Manifesto is that animals, including humans, are basically kind, empathic, and compassionate beings. … if animals can think and feel, what do they think and feel about the ways humans treat them? What would they say to us, and what would they ask of us, if they could speak a human language? Here is what I believe their manifesto would consist of:

  1. All animals share the Earth and we must coexist.
  2. Animals think and feel.
  3. Animals have and deserve compassion.
  4. Connection breeds caring, alienations breeds disrespect.
  5. Our world is not compassionate to animals.
  6. Acting compassionately helps all beings and our world.

Is such a manifesto radical? I think it’s common sense. These six items are also the six reasons we can use to expand our compassion footprint. …”

Marc is also an avid bicycle racer and is hoping to come to Bend for a race sometime soon.

If you’d like to learn about Marc’s research, I’d start with The Animal Manifesto. He also blogs for Psychology Today. You can find out even more about him at: marcbekoff.com.

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