Ana is Executive Director of Sentient Media. Sentient Media is a non-profit journalism outlet aimed at making transparent the suffering that goes on in our food systems and inspiring readers to think more about the implications of what we eat. Ana also hosts the Sentient Media podcast.
In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”
01:38 Ana’s Intro
- Animals in the media (largely ignoring their perspectives)
06:17 What’s Real?
- “I never had a conversation with my parents about god”
- Church of England school but “I never believed in… a man sitting in the clouds”
- Linking Christian & pagan festivals
- Celebrating equinox & solstice. Sunrise to sunset walks with dad
- Wikka, paganism, nature
- “Beliefs of respecting nature & respecting animals”
- Not practicing any religion but rituals of respecting the solstice & natural transitions
- Building an elements altar as a child
- “I don’t believe in magic… but I do believe that nature & animals have incredible power & roles to play in the existence of our planet… it’s weighted in science & reason & logic”
- David Attenborough’s “Life of Plants”
15:15 What Matters?
- Looking to nature & our relationship with the planet
- The power and aura of natural cycles
- “The circle of life” (sorry for my singing) argument for animal product consumption
- The naturalistic fallacy
- JW: “Nature is awesome but it is not ethically good or bad”
- Wild animal suffering
22:07 Who Matters?
- At 6yrs old seeing a picture of a kitten being vivisected
- Family dog & fishes
- “I have this instinct to go to the underdog… the group or the being that is least respected or protected”
- Learning about exploitation of non-human & human animals around the world
- Children’s natural empathy for non-humans… “we kind of beat it out of them”
- Making the connection between animals on the plate and animals suffering at 6 yrs old
- Asking about animal derived food “my parents told me the truth”… I said: “I don’t want to eat animals”
- Supportive parents re: going vegetarian then vegan
- Social, psychological, practical, information impediments to veganism
- “One piece of the puzzle is knowing how to eat”
- “It took me a few years to realise what the dairy industry is”
- At 10yrs seeing a Viva poster of a dairy cow
- Going vegan but then “let cheese come back into my life”
- Considering nutrition & health. Locking fully into veganism
- “I don’t understand how you can separate these things” (sentient beings, environment)
- Instrumental vs. intrinsic value
- Biocentrism & ecocentrism
- “I don’t think we can say definitively that they [plants] can’t feel pain”
- The need for humilty as we learn more (e.g. animal capabilities / cognition / sentience)
- Centralised nervous systems as a sentience indicator
- Artificial sentience ethics?
- Links between non-human animal abuse & domestic violence
- Risks of de-sensitisation & dulling of empathy
49:15 A Better Future?
- A Utopian vision? “I guess the answer would be no.”
- “It can’t just be an easy life… We need challenges & things to overcome.”
- “More understanding & openness” re: the perspectives of non-human sentient beings
- “~7bn humans & 72bn farmed land animals – it’s just warped that we’re not centering their suffering that we’ve created!”
- Animal agriculture as a “force multiplier of human impact”
- Scope neglect “You can’t picture what 72bn looks like”
- “A small number of groups control the meat & dairy industry… it’s in their interest to ensure this news & information isn’t shared”
- Linking animal agriculture with animal perspectives & climate crisis
- Easy routes to affortable, nutritious plant diets
- Animal ag fight-backs. Ag-gag laws, marketing, language
- Big tobacco, oil now animal agriculture: same playbooks
- Warning labels on animal products?
- One academic paper, multiple skewed headlines
- Sentient Media: robust evidence & reporting, many approaches, direct & placed articles & digital SEO content for search (~4,000 search terms top #3 ranked reaching millions)
- SM’s Writers’ Collective (600 members, 35 countries) – courses, pitching, writing (~1,500 articles)
- Editors: “Maybe this is something we want to report on”
- Editorial standards re: animal language “it”
- @Sentient Media
Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.
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Thanks Graham for the post-production.