For the voiceless

This morning I told Palmer about a news article I read about the Eastern Cougar. It was declared extinct. The Western Cougar is still thriving however, so this is not necessarily any sort of tragedy. I did however take the opportunity to tell Palmer a little bit about the competition for resources of humans with wild animals.

I have long considered myself a bit of an advocate for animal rights (those are the causes to which I consistently give money). I remember how displaced that concern seemed when I moved to Iceland, and it is one of the things I most welcome about being here in California again. I get to side with the Western Cougar, and that feels nice.

And it got me thinking that in my scholarship, I have also chosen to side with the voiceless. Objects, the landscape, and people who have died long ago. To give these voiceless things back their dignity, their simple right to existence, is something I like to try to do.


VJ said…
Your concern for animal rights displaced in Iceland - was it?
Well, most Icelanders or their immediate ancestors have been
raised among domestic animals and got familiar with hunting
some wild ones. This might make for a view of animals
that is kind of non Disney – for the lack of a better term.
If you dig deeper I bet you‘ll find that Icelanders in general
insist on animals being well treated. If I was a non-human animal
able to choose and pick I would consider Iceland before quite a few places.
Lissy said…
Ah, yes, well thanks for the opportunity to clarify my thinking on this. I agree with you about Icelanders giving animals a lot of respect and even agency, which is actually part of the reason my animal rights concerns felt misplaced in Iceland. In the US, and in California, I have many, many opportunities every day to feel sympathy, compassion, and even guilt for the treatment of animals. By this I mean not so much toward domestic animals, but more so toward wild animals, whose habitats have been completely disrupted by miles and miles of suburban sprawl. So that guilt is what was misplaced in Iceland. I did not feel like my house there was at the expense of a racoon's den, the way I do here in California.

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