Animals were the main concern on Tuesday night as both students and faculty gathered in West Dining Room to hear how animals live difficult lives under humans.
“Compassionate Living: Considering the Animals” was led by Zandra Wagoner, assistant vice president of undergraduate programs, and sponsored by ULV campus ministries and The Most Greatest Club Ever.
Wagoner looked at the ways humans use animals for their own benefit without consideration for the animals themselves and how that impacts our world view of certain animals.
“It was very informative and very eye opening. It strikes a nerve and makes you think about ourselves and our hierarchy,” said Jonathan S. Elias, a sophomore history and philosophy major.
The main idea Wagoner attacked was that other animals were lower than humans because, as she pointed out, humans are animals too.
She also presented a list of world views that were bad for animals such as farm animals only existing for our use, the idea animals had no souls and how pets are seen as companions, not their own beings.
Wagoner then used cartoons to show the many ways humans harm animals as she said she wanted to inform rather than shock, although she used real photographs to highlight issues such as the bad conditions in puppy mills.
She also presented the room with the shocking statistic that 3-4 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year and presented that fact with a view of dead puppies in a trashcan.
“It was really good, I am really glad I came. I liked how she presented the material with awareness of who she was talking to. I liked how she was not trying to shock us, just get the information out there,” senior English major Emily Romo said.
Wagoner also presented her argument for a vegan lifestyle, although she admitted that she was not fully vegan herself as it was almost impossible to stay away from animal products as they fill our lives.
When talking about factory farming, she focused on chickens unlike cows and pigs, there are no laws protecting the treatment of poultry, which meant that bad treatment of chickens, such as trashing male chicks alive was commonplace.
“What we need is better legislation for free range and farm raised animals,” Wagoner said.
She pointed out how there are very simple ways to help animals such as going to sanctuaries rather than zoos, adopting from shelters and avoid buying animal tested products.
Jay Jones, professor of biology and biochemistry, said that he was delighted to see this presentation.
“It was a gem of a presentation. The way she put it together was absolutely fantastic. I liked how it centered on isolation between us and the world,” Jones said.
Wagoner said that she always had an interest in animals since she was young and as a child, she wanted to own a deer as culture told her she could possess animals.
“I hope people walk away from this presentation with the same complex questions that trouble my mind about our relationship with animals and for them to reconcile that with whatever world view they hold deeply,” Wagoner said.
Diane Scott can be reached at email@example.com.