How do we show true solidarity with lab rats? Why do we demonize and vilify certain species? What is the difference between external and internal modes of solidarity? And what are the tensions between the two? This talk challenges conventional thinking in animal research, animal welfare, and even animal liberation.
Darren’s presentation is enormously insightful with regard to the ways humans can develop solidarity with lab rats–a species of non-human animals often discounted by humans as pests and vermin.
There’s a great discussion in the video about the concept of “solidarity vs. savior complex” within the animal rights community. Based on what I learned here, my take is that we need to develop alternatives to scientific research on NHAs and abolish the exploitive use of animals as things. These alternatives should take the form of human/NHA interactions based in mutual aid for the purposes of achieving a scientific or political goal (i.e. coalitions).
We must stop using animals for purposes that are perceived to benefit humanity, and instead liberate animals, so as to work with them in ways that recognize their interests as well as their capabilities for contributing to scientific outcomes that can benefit all Earthlings.
Ending the evils of vivisection and inhumane research does not mean an end to scientific understanding of the other sentient beings with whom we share this planet. Nor does it mean an end to scientific and medical breakthroughs that can drastically improve the lives of humans.
However, it does require a transition from a model of torture and Frankenstein-esque experimentation to a solidarity model that affords rights to animals and recognizes the points where the interests of humans and NHAs intersect. We must build a coalition of Earthlings.