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Holistic Empathy

Holistic Empathy means having empathy for humans, animals, and the environment, recognizing that they are interconnected

Holistic Empathy acknowledges that all the decisions we make have an impact. Practicing holistic empathy means ensuring that we aim to be as kind and compassionate to our fellow humans, our animal friends, and the environment. While it is important to improve people’s wellbeing, we should do so without harming animals and the environment. We will need transformative change to make the world a more just, humane, sustainable, and healthy place. We believe this starts with holistic empathy.

Overview

What we eat and how we treat the environment is part of a greater picture. By 2050, there will be 9.7 billion people in the world1. This means an enormous increase in consumption and waste. This is especially true since the two most heavily-populated nations are experiencing rapidly-growing economies2. Yet we are already pushing past planetary boundaries3.

Out of the causes, animal agriculture particularly poses significant threats to a healthy planet able to sustain us. Animal agriculture is resource-intensive and inefficient; it’s the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction4. It is also a top cause of climate change4, pandemic risk5, and antibiotic resistance6. Other anthropocentric ways of living have caused problems as well, such as plastic waste. While it is important to improve people’s wellbeing, we should do so without harming others. It is important to keep in mind that people, animals, and the environment are highly interconnected. We will need transformative change to make the world a more just, humane, sustainable, and healthy place for everyone. We believe this starts with holistic empathy.

How are humans, animals, and the environment connected?

Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, biodiversity loss, species extinction, and climate change.

UN Food and Agriculture Organization
  • 80% of the 3 million trees that are cut down every day are cut down to make room for livestock production (mostly grazing and growing feed).
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of amazon destruction. 1 to 2 acres rainforest are cleared every second.4
  • Half of the habitable land on Earth is used for agriculture – 77% of that for meat and dairy, which is disproportionate since 82% of the global calorie and 63% of global protein supply come from plants.12
  • Livestock production is responsible for more of the world’s greenhouse gases than the entire transport industry… cars, planes, transport trucks, and boats (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)
  • 51% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to livestock and their byproducts.4 Livestock is responsible for 60% of Nitrous Oxide emissions (296x more destructive than cO2).4 Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day (25-100 times more destructive than CO2).4
  • Methane (from cows, goats, etc) is 86 times more potent than CO2 over 20 years (International Livestock Research Institute)
  • 60% of global biodiversity loss is due to land cleared for meat-based diets (World Wildlife Fund).
  • Between 1970 and 2010, we lost 52% of the planet’s biodiversity.10 We are facing so much biodiversity loss that we are currently in what scientists call the sixth mass extinction. In fact, 1 million more species are threatened with extinction.11
  • Every 24 hours up to 150 species of plant, insect and animal go extinct.16
  • The world’s cattle alone consume the amount of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people – more than the entire human population. 
  • 98% of the world’s soy meal is fed to farm animals.13  We could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat in the United States alone.14

75% of newly infectious diseases come from animals.7 When we exploit animals for food or other uses, we greatly increase pandemic/ epidemic risks like we saw with Covid-19, SARS, MERS, Mad Cow Disease, AIDS, Ebola, Spanish Flu, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, the Black Death, and more.

  • The waste from a farm of 2500 dairy cows is equivalent to the waste from a city of 411,000 people.4
  • Animal agriculture produces billions of pounds of manure each day, which ends up contaminating lakes, rivers, and our drinking water and creating ocean deadzones
  • 1 million plastic bottles of water are used every single minute around the world.8 Only a small fraction of that ends up recycled; a process which comes with its own environmental impact.
  • We live with all the waste we produce. Most of it ends up in landfills and garbage dumps.
  • The hazardous process of creating fur is one of the world’s five worst industries for toxic-metal pollution.9
  • It takes 660 gallons of water to make one burger – the equivalent of 2 month’s worth of showering.4
  • The meat and dairy industry use 1/3 of the world’s freshwater.4
  • It takes less water to produce a year’s worth of food for a vegan than to produce a month of food for a meat-eater.
  • 33%: marine fish stocks in 2015 being harvested at unsustainable levels; 60% are maximally sustainably fished; 7% are underfished. More than 55% of ocean area is covered by industrial fishing.15
  • About half of the world’s coral reefs have been lost since the 1870’s.15
  • 46% of ocean plastic is fishing nets.17

Not only is a vegan diet safe for all stages of the life cycle (pregnancy, infancy, childhood, etc.), but it can also help reduce the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, obesity, and some types of cancer.18

PTSD in Slaughterhouse workers, low wages, and unsafe working conditions are notorious in the animal slaughter industry.

The most marginalized people on earth suffer the consequences of climate change and from food inequity the most.

In many countries, instead of subsidizing organic fruits and vegetables, we subsidize meat and dairy.

Cows

Studies have proven that cows display learning and cognitive abilities (such as long-term memory, rapidly learning tasks, recognize different faces in their own and other species, etc.), have a wide range of emotions, unique personalities, and are naturally socially complex.19 Their levels of stress are very real and measurable.

Pigs

Pigs are intelligent and empathetic animals. Like humans and other animals, they have unique personalities and can experience either positive emotions (such as joy from playing) or negative emotions (such as pain or fear from being abused).20 Pigs have the ability to learn and remember information, and enjoy mentally challenging tasks.20 They can even play video games!21

Chickens

Chickens are cognitively, emotionally, and socially complex.22 As a few examples, like humans they can be deceptive and cunning, convey their intentions in different ways, use prior experiences to make decisions, solve complex problems, and empathize with those in danger.23

Fish

Fish are often mistakenly thought of as unable to feel pain since we cannot recognize it as easily as we can in other animals – but this is not true. Fish have pain receptor cells, have physiological responses to cuts, bruises, and electric shocks, have processing systems in the brain parallel to birds and mammals, and learn to avoid places where they have had bad experiences.24

Mink

Minks suffer immensely from being confined in uncomfortable, tiny, and unsanitary cages (this is the standard for mink farms). The lack of stimulation stresses them out mentally in the same ways a human would be stressed out.25 They become desperate for something to do. Long-term, this state of extreme mental instability results in a condition called “zoochosis”

Rats

Rats are intelligent and empathetic animals. They are even known to help others before addressing their own self-interes.26

How to Incorporate Holistic Empathy Into Your Life:

  1. Maintaining a peaceful and compassionate culture and being mindful of impact on humans, animals, and the environment.
  2. Paying others fairly for their work or seeking fair trade options, making sure people are not exploited and paid well so they can develop their own communities.
  3. Not using animal products.
  4. Sharing or serving plant-based meals and sticking to a plant based menu.
  5. Not using single-use plastics.
  6. Actively reducing waste.
  7. Compost diligently. Food, paper, and wood in garbage dumps emit methane.
  8. Teaching or incorporating permaculture initiatives or tree planting activities.
  9. Utilizing our holistic empathy building exercises in your work.
  10. Supporting ethical businesses and initiatives.

Why People, Animals, and the Environment?

We Are All Connected

People, animals, and the environment are deeply interconnected. Animals (in their natural habitat) provide ecosystem services, which in turn provide benefits to people. Just one of countless examples is pollination. In order for most plants to reproduce, they need pollinators such as bees to move pollen around. A world without pollinators would threaten global food supply and cost hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage.

Animals and the environment affect our health, a concept known as One Health. An example of this is mosquito populations growing and spreading diseases faster, due to the raising temperatures from climate change. Other examples include Covid-19, SARS, MERS, Mad Cow Disease, AIDS, Ebola, Spanish flu, bird flu and swine flu coming from the use of animals. Animals merely existing in the wild is not the cause. Rather, being in close proximity from factory farming, hunting, or preparing meat, all of which can create conditions ideal for disease transmission. The link is clear; at least 61% of diseases come from animals, and have represented 75% of all newly infectious diseases from 2010 to 2020. The heavy use of antibiotics in factory farming also increases antibiotic resistance, which is another one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.

We are always learning more about how ecosystems work. Often, our misunderstandings about ecosystems cannot be seen and are only realized in hindsight. For example, right before the Atlantic cod fishery collapse, fishermen saw the fish in big groups. The fishermen could only assume nothing was wrong. But science and technology later showed this is because the fish began gathering in big groups; but there were much less groups of fish. This resulted in an economic downturn for fishermen – and then consequently for others in the area. Another example is culling coyotes with the intention of reducing their populations. However, lethal control doesn’t work and has a counter-intuitive effect. The unintended result is more coyotes in the area. This is because coyote from other territories will migrate in, causing bigger litters and faster reproduction. Yet another example is that we now know human activity is increasing ocean noise levels, which negatively impacts ocean animals and ecosystems. In one specific case, many humpback whales showed no behavioural reactions to explosions which resulted in their death. Researchers later realized this was because noise levels had gotten so loud in the area that they had already experienced hearing loss, so they were unable to detect the explosions. Whales are important to balancing marine ecosystems in several ways including nutrient transfer.

Population Growth and Overconsumption

Source: Our World In Data

Advancements in society such as agriculture and better healthcare have lead to lower death rates and longer lives. These are some of the main reasons the human population has increased rapidly over the past 100 years. We’re adding around 220,000 new people in the world every single day. The world’s population is estimated to cross over nine billion people by 2050. Where equality, education, and reproductive healthcare are strong, women tend to have less children. However, even if people have less children, a phenomenon known as “population momentum” means our population will continue to grow rapidly. India and China are the most heavily populated countries, which also happen to have the fastest growing economies.

More people and higher standards of living means more consumption and more waste. Developed countries use substantially more resources, meanwhile developing countries are left to deal with the environmental problems more quickly. This is because although people consume considerably more in wealthier countries, the production is often outsourced to developing countries with poor environmental and human rights regulations. An example of this is with clothing. Toxic leather tanneries harm people including children, so that fashion brands can get it made cheaply and profit more. Textile dyes are full of chemicals and pollute their water (which eventually makes its way around to other locations in the world). In the documentary River Blue, designer and activist Orsola de Castro says “there is a joke in China that you can tell the ‘it’ color of the season by looking at the color of the rivers.” Often, these clothes are only to be recklessly tossed aside when they go out of fashion next season. But polluted water and air in another country can make its way across the world. This is called transboundary pollution.

Planetary Boundaries

Source: Science.org

The planetary boundaries framework indicates which of the Earth’s capacities we are surpassing; where the tipping points are for irreversible and abrupt change. First created in 2009, it was later updated in 2015. All of the planetary boundary categories are highly interconnected with each other. As the diagram shows, we are in or past the zone of uncertainty for 4 of the 9 planetary boundaries.

Climate change affects many of the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter – and will cost 2-4 billion per year in direct health damage alone.

Climate change is caused by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. There is overwhelming evidence of climate change being caused by human activity. For example, carbon dioxide levels grew exponentially around 1950 – in tandem with exponential population growth (as seen in the graph from the previous section). We can expect to continue to see rising temperatures and extreme weather due to climate change. What are the causes of greenhouse gases? Burning coal, oil and gas, deforestation, animal agriculture, fertilizers containing nitrogen, and fluorinated gases.

What can we do to reduce our carbon footprint?

Be mindful of transportation. Walk, bicycle and use public transportation more. Fly less or consider a carbon offset. Consider an electric or hybrid vehicle.

  • Be more energy efficient in our homes, businesses and institutions.
  • Consume and waste less.
  • Consider less or no children in your family planning. A study of the relationship between population growth and global warming determined that the carbon legacy of just one child can produce 20 times more greenhouse gas than a person will save by driving a high-mileage car, recycling, using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, etc.
  • Eat plants instead of meat, dairy and eggs. Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. It’s no surprise there is a growing number of universities banning meat to help fight climate change. Switching to plants can help the environment in other ways too. The largest study ever conducted on farming and the environment analysed almost 40,000 farms in 119 countries and covered 40 food products that represent 90% of all that is eaten. It assessed the full impact of these foods, from farm to plate. “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use” said Joseph Poore, who ran the study.

Biosphere integrity refers to loss of biodiversity (plant and animal life). Biosphere integrity is important because as already noted, humans, animals and the planet are highly intertwined. Biodiversity helps our crops grow, ensuring food security. Plants are of special importance to medicine. But we have been losing species at alarming rates in recent decades. Between 1970 and 2010, we lost 52% of the planet’s biodiversity. We are facing so much biodiversity loss that we are currently in what scientists call the sixth mass extinction. In fact, 1 million more species are threatened with extinction. Besides documenting biodiversity and reducing our resource consumption, preserving biodiversity hotspots are crucial – and necessary for humans to have a stable future.

Excess nitrogen and phosphorous in the water and air is polluting the environment. Animal agriculture manure and fertilizer contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous. The runoff leaches into rivers, lakes, and oceans, leading to oxygen-depleting algae, a process known as eutrophication. This creates dead zones where aquatic life cannot survive. The algae also produce toxins which cause problems up the food chain. Both agriculture and burning of fossil fuels release nitrogen into the air. In the air, high levels of nitrogen cause respiratory and sensory problems for humans, and reduces growth/ crop yields in vegetation.

Maintaining forests, grasslands, wetlands and other vegetation types is necessary for biodiversity and our well-being, but land has been converted to agricultural land at alarming rates. Half of the habitable land on Earth is used for agriculture – 77% of that for meat and dairy, which is disproportionate since 82% of the global calorie and 63% of global protein supply come from plants. A football field size of rainforest is cleared every six seconds, mainly to make room for livestock. Producing livestock anywhere is not efficient, since It takes approximately 43,560 square feet of land to produce 250 pounds of beef, while the same amount of land can yield 10,642 pounds of crops fit for human consumption. We are growing enormous amounts of food to feed animals that could otherwise be going to people. 98% of the world’s soy meal is fed to farm animals.  We could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat in the United States alone. While factory farms continue to take over, so does urbanization (humans shifting from rural to city life). 

Large amounts of carbon dioxide now go into our oceans. This increases ocean acidity, which is killing off coral reef. Thriving coral reefs are vital for much of life on Earth. To get an idea of the magnitude of this, one study shows that ocean acidity from volcanic eruptions in the past caused the great mass extinction of all time. Ocean acidity also alters nutrient cycling and shifts competitive advantage among species, which can have further complications.

Water is undervalued; the true cost is not considered. It is cheaper to use new water than it is to treat and reuse it. Many people and businesses use excessive amounts of freshwater for unnecessary things like making their lawns green (even in climates where they naturally shouldn’t be), meanwhile aquifers are being depleted faster than they can replenish.

Rivers and other bodies of water are deplenishing as well. Water bodies of the world are connected. The Aral Sea was once one of the largest inland seas in the world but is now dried up. It has become a symbol of what can go wrong when transboundary water is mismanaged. The environmental damage has caused myriad health problems for those nearby, including increased diseases, respiratory infections, cancers, reproductive problems and significantly lower life expectancy.

Water-intensive activities like urban development, farming, and energy from fossil fuels are leading to water shortages. This is expected to increase alongside the increasing population and growing economies. So much water is wasted, meanwhile many people still do not have access to clean drinking water. For example, 6 billion gallons of drinking water is lost in leaky pipes every single day in the United States alone. Another example is seen in our diet. Meat and dairy are very water-intensive compared to plant-based alternatives. A vegan diet uses 5 times less water than a meat-eater’s diet.

You may have heard of the hole in the ozone layer crisis which began in the 80’s. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, corrective action was taken and slowly but surely, the hole has closed decades later as of the end of 2020. The Montreal Protocol is a great example of how we can make positive change with collective efforts and global policy.

Toxic substances are prevalent in everyday life and have harmful effects. For example, pesticides, while they have helped increase food production, also have adverse effects on humans, including reproductive disorders and cancers as well as acute poisonings, and pose threats to biodiversity. It is also known to kill off pollinators. Another example is cancer-causing flame retardants, which is in everything from the pillows we sleep on to toys for children. Household products, food packaging, and toiletries are also notorious for containing toxic substances. While many of these substances have been analysed, many have not and their effects are not yet fully understood.

Aerosols are tiny particles of substances in the air. They have serious human health impacts (since we breathe in the air) and affect the functioning of the Earth’s system in many ways. For example, they influence the Earth’s radiation and energy “budget” and the hydrological cycle.

Living in the Anthropocene

In the past, natural forces were the main drivers in shaping the world. Now, human activity changes the Earth so much that we are now living in the era scientists have dubbed the Anthropocene. This is proven in what is called the great acceleration, which details Earth system trends changing in tandem with socio-economic trends. Other startling findings can show just how much we have impacted the planet. For example, the mass of human-made materials such as concrete, asphalt, metal and plastic now outweigh the combined biomass of every living plant and animal on Earth. Living in the Anthropocene means new evolutionary processes, new aspects of control, new levels of connectivities, and new types of risks.  

Human Development

Source: Global Footprint Network

The diagram above shows that the higher the Human Development Index (quality of life), the more Earth’s it would take to sustain these lifestyles. What we want to do is achieve a high quality of life but sustainably, represented in the grey rectangle area in the lower right of the graph. The United Nations created the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 to act as a guide in the focus areas to achieve this.

Humans and nature are strongly linked together. We need to use innovative thinking, new technologies, and creative incentives, to leave the world resilient. For example, when designing clothing and other products, how can we design for a circular economy? How can we reduce resource use and avoid waste? How can governments and consumers make this appealing to businesses? Likewise, how can businesses make this appealing to consumers?

One example would be non-toxic, biodegradable tablet household cleaners, which are placed in a reusable spray bottle. This reduces the need for a new spray bottle every time. Being non-toxic and biodegradable would avoid pollution. The packaging the tablets come in, depending on the brand, could be recycled material that is biodegradable. There are even opportunities in packaging these days to double as a seed that can later be planted to grow.

Another example, on the larger scale, is clean meat. The meat is grown in cell culture, rather than on an animal. Besides alleviating cruelty from factory farming, clean meat saves enormous amounts of resources and prevents incredible amounts of waste. For example, cultured meat could be produced with up to 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions, 45% less energy, 99% lower land use, and 96% lower water use than conventional meat. This also means being able to customize the meat to be healthier, clean and safe production facilities, eliminates the risk of zoonotic disease transmission, and eliminates the need for antibiotic use.These are the types of results we need to safely and sustainably feed a growing population.

Animal Intelligence

Many animal ethicists and behavioral experts point out that we could be more accurate in assessing how animals think and feel if we recognized that there are many different measures and kinds of intelligence. It’s possible that some of these kinds of intelligence are outside of human understanding. Only using human skills to judge animal intelligence can prevent us from understanding their own type of intelligence.

For example, one study gave elephants tools to pick up with their tusks in order to reach food placed up high in trees. The elephants failed to use these tools. However, they ended up using boxes to stand on in order to reach the food. Researchers later realized this is likely because picking up the tools with their tusks would interfere with the elephants’ sensory organs.

As another example, another study judged dogs’ intelligence based on if they can recognize themselves in mirrors. The dogs failed to do so. However, when dogs were given different urine scents to investigate, they investigated scents other than their own significantly longer. Researchers believe this is because while dogs do not have the best visual senses, they have a sense of smell 10 000X better than humans and this is how they navigate their world.

Another factor to consider is that some animals are impressively capable of understanding skills foreign to them naturally; for example, dolphins understand human hand signals when they do not even have hands themselves.

Our relationship with animals considered pets versus food can be very different however research is now demonstrating that food animals like cows also have individual personalities and social complexities.

Small Efforts Can Lead to Big Change

The world and how we are all connected is a complex system full of chaos theory. You might already be familiar with the butterfly effect; when we make even small changes, it can have a big impact. Reducing pressure in one planetary boundary can really amplify their effects as it can directly reduce pressure on other planetary boundaries. Or, it can lead to a change in human behaviour which in turn affects another planetary boundary. 

When choosing how to help others, we can be most effective by considering scale (how many are we helping?), neglected causes (what causes aren not getting enough attention?), and tractability (can something be done about it?). Lastly, consider your personal fit. There is no one answer that is the best way to fix everything; rather there are many different angles to tackle transformative change throughout the whole system. There is a need for different skill sets, knowledge and backgrounds to make positive change. You can make a difference in your own way.

References

  1. United Nations. “Growing at a slower pace, world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100”. 17, June 2019 https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2019.html
  2. Eichengreen, B., Gupta, P., and Kumar, R. “Emerging Giants: China and India in the World Economy”. 2010. Oxford University Press. https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575077.001.0001/acprof-9780199575077
  3. Steffan et. al. “Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet”. 13, February 2015. Vol. 347 (6223). Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1259855. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/1259855
  4. Cowspiracy. Facts. https://www.cowspiracy.com/facts
  5. World Health Organization. “Neglected Zoonotic Diseases”. https://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/zoonoses/en/
  6. Martin, Michael J et al. “Antibiotics Overuse in Animal Agriculture: A Call to Action for Health Care Providers.” American journal of public health vol. 105,12 (2015): 2409-10. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302870. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4638249/
  7. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. One Health. “Zoonotic Diseases”. https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/basics/zoonotic-diseases.html
  8. Scarr S. and Hernandez, M. Drowning in Plastic: Visualizing the World’s Addiction to Plastic Bottles. Reuters Graphics. 4 Sept. 2019. https://graphics.reuters.com/ENVIRONMENT-PLASTIC/0100B275155/index.html
  9. Hoskins, T. “Is the Fur Trade Sustainable?: CEO of International Fur Trade Federation argues fur is natural and durable, while the World Bank ranks it as one of world’s worst industries for toxic-metal pollution”. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/is-fur-trade-sustainable
  10. WWF. “Living Planet Report”. Good Nature Travel. 7, October 2014. https://www.nathab.com/blog/wwfs-living-planet-report-2014-we-now-have-less-than-half-the-biodiversity-of-just-forty-years-ago/
  11. United Nations. “UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’”. Sustainable Development Goals. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/
  12. Our World Data. “Land Use”. September 2019. Land Use – Our World in Data
  13. Wills, K. “Where do all these Soybeans go?” 8, October 2013. Michigan State University. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/where_do_all_these_soybeans_go
  14. Cornell University. “U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists”. 7, August 1997. Cornell Chronicle. https://news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat
  15. United Nations. “UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’”. Sustainable Development Goals. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/
  16. Djoghlaf, Ahmed. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. United Nations. 2007, May 22. https://www.cbd.int/doc/speech/2007/sp-2007-05-22-es-en.pdf
  17. Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F. et al. Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Sci Rep 8, 4666 (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-22939-w.
  18. Melina V, Craig W, Levin S. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: vegetarian diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116:1970-1980.
  19. Beckoff, M. “Cows: Science Shows They’re Bright and Emotional Individuals”. Psychology Today.  2 Nov. 2017. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/animal-emotions/201711/cows-science-shows-theyre-bright-and-emotional-individuals 
  20. Compassion in World Farming (2021). “Sentience in Pigs” report. Pig Sentience. Retrieved September 2, 2021, from  https://www.ciwf.org.uk/research/species-pigs/pig-sentience/.
  21. Croney, C. C. and Boysen, S. T. (2021).|”Acquisition of a Joystick-Operated Video Task by Pigs (Sus scrofa)”. Frontiers in Psychology. 2021, February 11. DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.631755
  22. Marino L. (2017). Thinking chickens: a review of cognition, emotion, and behavior in the domestic chicken. Animal cognition, 20(2), 127–147. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-016-1064-4
  23. Grillo, R. (2014). “Chicken Behaviour: An Overview of Recent Science”. Free From Harm. 2014, February 7. https://freefromharm.org/chicken-behavior-an-overview-of-recent-science/ 
  24. Fish Count (2019). “Fish are Sentient”. Retrieved September 2, 2021 from http://fishcount.org.uk/fish-welfare-in-commercial-fishing/fish-sentience.
  25. Rebecca K. Meagher, Georgia J. Mason. Environmental Enrichment Reduces Signs of Boredom in Caged Mink. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (11): e49180 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049180 
  26. Sato, N., Tan, L., and Tate, K. “Rats Demonstrate Helping Behavior Toward a Soaked Conspecific”. Animal Cognition. (18) 2015 1039–1047. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-015-0872-2

THE KAAVAN PLEDGE

 

I pledge to think critically and with compassion about my relationship with animals 

- I will advance my knowledge about the sentience of animals
- I will research and consider my decisions to use products and support activities that abuse and exploit animals
- I will learn about what happens to animals in industrial farming, laboratories, zoos, circuses, and fashion
- I will abstain from participation in animal exploitation and educate others 

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THE EMPATHY PLEDGE

I believe that Empathy can reduce suffering in the world, therefore I pledge that:

- I will make a conscious effort to enhance my empathetic abilities

- I will be mindful of my ego which can discourage my ability to relate to others

- I will stand and speak up for the well-being of humans, animals, and our planet

- I will align my thoughts, speech, and actions with the core principle of empathy

You have successfully signed up!