Charter for
Compassion

VinE is delighted to join the In Defense of AnimalsInterfaith Vegan CoalitionCharter for Compassion and Climate Healers in celebrating Golden Rule Day and their ‘Compassion for All Animals’ campaign which runs for two weeks.

We are joined in the celebrations by our friends at RE Today and the Animal Interfaith Alliance. Check out their website here.

Full details here

In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan CoalitionCharter for Compassion, and Climate Healers invite everyone to focus on compassion for all animals from Monday, April 4 through April 21, leading up to Earth Day on April 22. The project partners celebrate the first-ever Compassion for All Animals Day on Monday, April 4, host a live panel discussion on International Golden Rule Day on April 5, and present daily video inspirations from April 6 through April 21.

Most people who love their animal companions draw an arbitrary line between the animals who live with them and the animals who they eat. The Compassion for All Animals Campaign will broadcast videos featuring music, speakers, and animation that showcase the benefits of eating a plant-based diet for our planet, our own bodies, and our connection to animals.

Susan Soleil, with the Charter for Compassion, said, “Albert Schweitzer eloquently expresses why this topic deserves our time and urgent attention: ‘Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.’ Thus, the Charter is focusing on compassion for all animals, both for them and for ourselves.”

Compassion for All Animals Day and the following campaign will help people expand their compassion for animals beyond their animal companions to include all animals by examining our diets and exploring ways to avoid harming other animals. The webinar on April 4 and the daily video inspirations from April 6 through April 21 will feature videos with prayers for animals, songs about animals, and stories from animal rescues, along with resources to support plant-based eating and vegan lifestyle choices. Participants can sign the Compassion for All Animals Pledge.

“In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition is honoured to partner with the Charter for Compassion and Climate Healers to launch the first-ever Compassion for All Animals Day,” said Lisa Levinson, Co-founder of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition and Campaigns Director for In Defense of Animals. “We will share this message of compassion for all animals and for the Earth far and wide. We hope many people will join our celebrations to connect the dots between the compassion in their hearts and compassion on their plates.”

Our growth-at-all-costs economic system drives human population growth and animal agriculture, which are the greatest contributors to the environmental crisis and threaten all life on Earth. In an effort to address this, the Compassion for All Animals Campaign partners are among many individuals and organizations urging world leaders to adopt the Plant Based Treaty as a companion to the Paris Agreement to stop animal agriculture from causing further devastation.

“I’m thrilled that the venerable Charter for Compassion, founded by Dr. Karen Armstrong, is creating a series of events focused on compassion for non-human animals between Golden Rule Day and Earth Day, and now with Compassion for All Animals Day,” said Dr. Sailesh Rao, Founder and Executive Director of Climate Healers. “This is a clear sign that the vegan movement, the fastest-growing social justice movement in the world, is now sweeping through our mainstream culture.”

In Defense of Animals started the Interfaith Vegan Coalition to help animal activists and spiritual leaders bring vegan values to spiritual, ethical, and religious communities. The coalition provides faith-based tools to help all faith and secular wisdom traditions practice the ideals of nonviolence, lovingkindness, and harmlessness toward all animals. The coalition is composed of 34 member organizations, 2 allied organisations, and one partner organization Animal Interfaith Alliance comprising 17 organisations, all working in harmony for a common cause.

Calendar

April 4 – Compassion for All Animals Day webinar

April 5 – Golden Rule Day live “Compassion for All Animals” panel

April 6-21 – Videos released daily at 7 a.m. PT

April 22 – Earth Day

All events will be livestreamed on the Charter for Compassion Facebook page.

Find the full schedule and event details on the Compassion for All Animals event webpage.

About the organisations

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org

The Interfaith Vegan Coalition helps animal activists and spiritual leaders bring vegan values to spiritual, ethical, and religious communities. The coalition provides tools to help all faith and secular wisdom traditions practice the ideals of nonviolence, lovingkindness, and harmlessness toward all animals. www.interfaithvegancoalition.org

The Charter for Compassion promotes and cultivates the principle of compassion and the Compassionate Way of Life, as articulated by the Charter for Compassion, so that compassion characterizes all human society and all relationships. www.charterforcompassion.org

Climate Healers is a non-profit organization dedicated to healing the Earth’s climate by implementing systemic solutions for human, Earth and animal liberation, founded on compassionate science. www.climatehealers.org

Contacts:

In Defense of Animals, Interfaith Vegan Coalition, Lisa Levinson, lisa@idausa.org, (215) 620-2130
Charter for Compassion, Susan Soleil, susan@charterforcompassion.org, (801) 554-9495
Climate Healers, Dr. Sailesh Rao, srao@climatehealers.org, (732) 809-3526

Compassion for All Animals & The Golden Rule

To mark the launch of this year’s Compassion for All Animals (4th April) we thought it was the perfect opportunity to share an article written by Marc Bekoff PHD, which looks at how to apply the Golden Rule to non-human animals.

Golden Rule Day is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the universal principle of treating others the way that we want to be treated. It is a powerful tool for all our relationships – with ourselves, others, animals and the planet. We will be incorporating the Golden Rule in our learning materials for Religious Education/Animal Ethics, as all the major faith and moral traditions teach us to embrace all living beings into our circle of compassion.

Celebrate The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule is ancient and modern, secular and religious, personal and common. Golden Rule Day is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on and celebrate the universal principle of treating others the way that we want to be treated. It is a powerful tool for all of our relationships – with ourselves, others, animals, and the planet.

The Charter for Compassion expands its circle of compassion to include all animals. VinE will be posting inspiring quotes on compassion for animals to commemorate the event.

How to Apply the Golden Rule to Dogs and Other Nonhumans

Marc Bekoff Ph.D.

originally posted on Psychology Today

This cross-species guideline is driven by data, decency, and heart.

A recent essay called “‘I Sure Wouldn’t Put My Dog in a Puppy Mill, Would You?’” generated a good number of email messages and discussions. The question on which this piece was based was asked by a 10-year old at a talk I gave a few years ago. While I was talking with someone, the idea of applying the traditional Golden Rule—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”—to nonhuman animals (animals) came into my head and heart, and I thought it would be something in which others would be interested. A few people asked me what it would be based on and my response was a simple one—it would be based on data, decency, respect, and compassion for who other animals truly are. It’s not a radical animal rights move. Other animals are valuable because they are alive and have inherent or intrinsic value. Their worth is not measured by what they can do for us, often called their instrumental value.

The Nonhuman Golden Rule can easily be fact-based, because there are ample data clearly showing that a vast array of diverse animals have rich and deep cognitive and emotional lives. What it basically calls for is that all humans who have any sort of interactions with other animals will ask themselves would I want to be treated in this way. Because the number of humans who do, indeed, influence the lives of other animals is staggering, asking this question should surely reduce abuse and violence directed to nonhumans, even if a large number either don’t ask this question or ask the question and then move on to harm and kill other animals nonetheless.

Would you do it to your dog?

I often encourage people who don’t want to consider humans as part of the equation because they subscribe to different forms of human exceptionalism, to ask if they themselves would do something harmful to their dog, cat, or other companion animal, or allow them to be used in the harmful and often violently lethal ways in which countless non-companion animals are treated in a wide variety of venues. I’ve never had anyone say they would. This is good news, and I hope that dogs and other companion animals can serve as “gateway species” to bridge the empathy gap. This basically means that dogs and other animals with whom people are familiar can serve as models for how other animals should be treated and also benefit from applying the Nonhuman Golden Rule. I take this view because it’s likely to be easier to begin to think about applying a Nonhuman Golden Rule to the nonhumans with whom we’re most familiar, namely companion animals.

Consider dogs, for example. By following the following guidelines for making your dog happier and more content you’re applying the Nonhuman Golden Rule. Let your dog be a dog; Teach your dog how to thrive in human environments; Have shared experiences with your dog; Be grateful for how much your dog can teach you; Make life an adventure for your dog; Give your dog as many choices as possible; Make your dog’s life interesting by providing variety in feeding, walking, and making friends; Give your dog endless opportunities to play; Give your dog affection and attention every day; Be loyal to your dog. Allowing puppy mills and kitten factories to exist and allowing these animals to be abused in other ways would be counter to the Nonhuman Golden Rule.

It would also be easy to apply a similar set of guidelines to many other animals, while incorporating their species-typical needs. While individuals of different species will have different needs, the one common denominator is that individuals of each and every species need to be treated with respect, compassion, and decency. Their feelings truly matter.

Caring for other animals means caring for ourselves

When we give dogs and other animals the very best lives possible, it can easily spill over into more freedom and justice for all animals, including ourselves. Wouldn’t that be grand? Who could argue that more trust, empathy, compassion, freedom, and justice wouldn’t be the best thing we could do for all animals and for future generations who will inherit our wondrous planet? I surely don’t know anyone who would disagree.

How to apply the Golden Rule

Applying a fact-based and heart-driven Nonhuman Golden Rule would be a win-win for all. We must use what we already know about who these animals are, what they need, and what they feel to give all of them the best lives possible. In fact, we’ve had relevant detailed information available for many years but simply haven’t used it on behalf of countless other animals. There’s more than enough science that shows other animals are emotional beings.

In our book The Animals’ Agenda, Jessica Pierce and I call the failure to use what we know the “knowledge translation gap.” Essentially, what we know about animal cognition and emotion has not been translated into an evolution in human attitudes and practices. Simply put, it’s high time to seriously apply evidence-based animal ethics in our interactions with other animals. Not using the evidence we have and not applying the Golden Rule to nonhumans is a species of speciesism. It’s plain and simple human exceptionalism.

When other animals are treated well it’s good for us, too, For example, the One Health approach is a way of looking at the world that helps humans to see and acknowledge that humans, other species, and the natural environment (the three pillars of One Health) are completely and perfectly interlinked. If we harm one of these three pillars, all three are harmed.

I look forward to more discussions about how we can make the lives of other animals the very best they can be, and how the thinking about the Nonhuman Golden Rule can foster decisions that are based on decency, compassion, and respect for other animals.

It’s essential to remember that while this cross-species guideline can be golden and truly help other animals, silence isn’t—it’s deadly.

References

Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a Fellow of the Animal Behaviour Society, and a past Googenheim Fellow.

Find out more: marcbekoff.com

Our posts celebrating Golden Rule Day 2022

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