Close

“Farmers say they want to take care of their animals… let’s give them that opportunity!” – David Michelson of YesOnIP13 – Sentientism Episode 90

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

David is an activist & chief petitioner of the Yes On IP13 campaign (www.yesonip13.org & @yesonip13) which aims to outlaw the harming & killing of sentient animals in the US state of Oregon. That’s without exceptions for animal agriculture, hunting, research or other forms of exploitation. Originally with a background in psychology & public health, David’s switch to activism began after bearing witness to pigs being killed in gas chambers.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” In addition to the video above the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and here elsewhere.

We discuss:
00:00 Welcome

01:29 David’s Intro

  • Being new to activism
  • IP13: Criminalising killing & breeding animals in the state of Oregon
  • “We’re asking for what we want”
  • Linking the academic & the real world

04:03 What’s Real?

  • Culturally Jewish/Christian family branches
  • Religion was just a label
  • Having a Bar Mitzvah to “side with my mother… it made religion seem arbitrary to me”
  • “They taught me how to read Hebrew but never taught me what I was saying”
  • “It wasn’t a worldview… it wasn’t used to make sense of the world”
  • “Sitcoms were more of a determinant of what’s real”
  • Meeting people who had done atheist & animal outreach
  • “Free yourself from those harmful social norms!”
  • UFOs, conspiracy theories & religion
  • There’s enough awesomeness in reality
  • “I was angry when I learned that Santa wasn’t real”
  • Investigating Santa as a child w/a hidden camera
  • Why do we lie to children about so many things?
  • Homeopathy, “stop the steal”, astrology, tea leaves…
  • “Psychedelics made me more naturalistic & gave me the final push to go vegan as well”… connectedness
  • Buddhism & Plum Village monks
  • Talking to a flat earther
  • The challenge of having enough, but not too much scepticism
  • Epistemological & methodological naturalism
  • “Pretend naturalism” (only considering evidence supporting what you already want to believe)
  • What evidence would change your mind?

24:55 What (& Who) Matters?

  • Intuitive ethics
  • Vegetarian at 14 “I didn’t want to eat animals”
  • “‘I’m not very much of an animal lover”
  • “I thought that cows had to be milked” & eggs were “picked up like an easter egg hunt”
  • Going vegan, then learning about dairy/eggs
  • Watching Dominion then getting involved in activism
  • “A baseline of avoiding violence”
  • Compassion for victims vs. judging human actions
  • Judging moral agents (actions/decisions) vs. the impact on moral patients/victims (outcomes)
  • Freedom from fear & violence as a need of individual sentient beings
  • Non-violence is the the best way of meeting all of our needs
  • Free will & determinism & moral luck
  • Restoration/rehabilitation/protection/deterrence vs retributive justice
  • Non-violent communication, Rosenberg
  • Beauvoir’s “Ethics & Ambiguity”
  • “The freedom to oppress others isn’t a freedom we should respect”
  • Anti-Vaxx: bodily autonomy vs. putting others at risk
  • “Everything comes back to sentience”
  • Fear of violence as an imposition on freedom & flourishing
  • “The animals live mostly under fear”
  • “Only sentient beings have these sorts of needs”
  • Still feel connected to non-sentient things but there’s a distinction
  • “You can’t grant rights to a river & not to a pig”
  • “There’s no sentience at the species level”
  • Wild animal suffering, whether human caused or not
  • “All suffering has to matter, surely?”
  • “Until people start caring about the animals they’re directly hurting…” will they care about wild animals?

53:58 How Can we Make a Better World?

  • David’s IP13 Nov 2022 election ballot measure in Oregon: “A bottom up approach to legislation”
  • Helpful naivety: “You need to be naive to challenge institutions like this!”
  • 112k supporting signatures, then on the ballot, then a public yes/no vote
  • Animal abuse is “intentional reckless injury of an animal”
  • If you’re enjoying the physical or sexual abuse you’re bad. If you’re abusing for other reasons – that’s fine
  • Victims’ perspective is ignored
  • Remove exemptions (farming, hunting, pest control, fishing, research) from Oregon’s animal cruelty law. Criminalising injuring & breeding & killing of animals
  • “create a sanctuary state”
  • “I don’t know if it’s the most effective but it’s authentic” (vs. welfare)
  • Anyone can donate!
  • Laws influence ethics
  • “We can choose what is right & wrong”
  • #JustTransition plans, property status, sanctuaries
  • Give farmers the opportunity to really care for animals
  • The goal is to stop this everywhere, not just Oregon.

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.

Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook. David and I are already there!

Thanks Graham for the post-production.

Latest work

Headshot of Jimmy Videle smiling towards the camera. Wearing a grey hoodie with the hood up - and glasses.

Is Veganic the Future of Farming? “We grow plants using plants” – Jimmy Videle – Sentientism Ep:192

Jimmy Videle is a farmer, naturalist and researcher. He is the author of The Veganic Grower’s Handbook. A Sentientism conversation about "what's real?", "who matters?" and "how to make a better world?"
More

Is Veganic the Future of Farming? “We grow plants using plants” – Jimmy Videle – Sentientism Ep:192

Jimmy Videle is a farmer, naturalist and researcher. He is the author of The Veganic Grower’s Handbook. A Sentientism conversation about "what's real?", "who matters?" and "how to make a better world?"
More

Half-Earth Socialism – Troy Vettese – Sentientism Ep:191

Troy Vettese is an environmental historian and co-author, with Drew Pendergrass, of Half-Earth Socialism. A Sentientist conversation about "what's real?", "who matters?" and "how to make a better world?"
More

“Your Neighbour Kills Puppies” – Tom Harris – Activist, Artist & Author – Sentientism Ep:190

Tom is an artist, published author, and social justice activist. He is an expert and consultant on animal liberation history and strategy, and the global animal rights movement. His first book, Your Neighbour Kills Puppies was released in March 2024. A Sentientism conversation.
More

Join our mailing list and stay up to date

Sentientism

Handcrafted with ♥ by Cage Undefined