Monday, December 21. 2015
The only feelings we can feel are our own. When it comes to the feelings of others, we can only infer them, based on their behavior — unless they tell us. This is the “other-minds problem.”
Within our own species, thanks to language, the other-minds problem arises only for states in which people cannot speak (infancy, aphasia, sleep, anaesthesia, coma). Our species also has a uniquely powerful empathic or “mind-reading” capacity: We can (sometimes) perceive from the behavior of others when they are in states like our own. Our inferences have also been systematized and operationalized in biobehavioral science and supplemented by cognitive neuroimagery. Together, these make the other-minds problem within our own species a relatively minor one.
But we cohabit the planet with other species, most of them very different from our own, and none of them able to talk. Inferring whether and what they feel is important not only for scientific but also for ethical reasons, because where feelings are felt, they can also be hurt.
Animal Sentience [ASent] is a new international, interdisciplinary journal devoted to the other-minds problem across species. As animals are at long last beginning to be accorded legal status and protection as sentient beings, ASent will explore in depth what, how and why organisms feel. Individual “target articles” (and sometimes précis of books) addressing different species’ sentient and cognitive capacities will each be accorded “open peer commentary,” consisting of multiple shorter articles, both invited and freely submitted ones, by specialists from many disciplines, each elaborating, applying, supplementing or criticizing the content of the target article, along with responses from the target author(s).
The members of the nonhuman species under discussion will not be able to join in the conversation, but their spokesmen and advocates, the specialists who know them best, will. The inaugural issue launches with the all-important question (for fish) of whether fish can feel pain.
ASent is a publication of the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy (HSISP). Based in Washington DC, HSISP’s mandate is to advance the application of scientific and technical analysis and expertise to animal welfare issues and policy questions worldwide. The HSISP is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, the world’s largest animal protection organization.
ASent is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal. Thanks to HSISP sponsorship, ASent need not charge either publication fees to authors or subscription fees to readers.
Authors' opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or editors.
The table of contents of the inaugural issue of ASent follow below. Commentaries by scientists, scholars, practitioners, jurists and policy-makers are invited on any of the target articles (in bold); continuing commentary is also invited on the commentaries and responses. And of course the journal now calls for the submission of target articles. All target articles are peer-reviewed and all commentaries are editorially reviewed. Open peer commentary is intended particularly for new target articles written specifically for ASent, but updated versions of articles that have appeared elsewhere may also be eligible for publication and open peer commentary.
(Open peer commentary is modelled on the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), of which the editor-in-chief of ASent was also the founder and editor-in-chief for 20 years.)
Harnad, Stevan (2016) Inaugural Editorial - Animal sentience: The other-minds problem Animal Sentience 2016.001
Safina, Carl (2016) Animals think and feel: Précis of Beyond words: What animals think and feel (Safina 2015) Animal Sentience 2016.002
Key, Brian (2016) Why fish do not feel pain Animal Sentience 2016.003
Balcombe, Jonathan (2016) Cognitive evidence of fish sentience Animal Sentience 2016.008
King, Barbara J. (2016) Animal mourning: Précis of How animals grieve (King 2013) Animal Sentience 2016.004
Botero, Maria (2016) Death in the family Animal Sentience 2016.040
Broom, Donald M. (2016) Considering animals’ feelings: Précis of Sentience and animal welfare Animal Sentience 2016.005Chandrasekera, Charukeshi (2016) From sentience to science: Limits of anthropocentric cognition Animal Sentience 2016.048
Clarke, Nancy (2016) Sentience and animal welfare: Affirming the science and addressing the skepticism Animal Sentience 2016.049
Copeland, Marion W. (2016) Life in translation Animal Sentience 2016.050
Donaldson, Sue and Kymlicka, Will (2016) Linking animal ethics and animal welfare science Animal Sentience 2016.051
Duncan, Ian J.H. (2016) Is sentience only a nonessential component of animal welfare? Animal Sentience 2016.052
Durham, Debra (2016) The science of sentience is reshaping how we think about animals Animal Sentience 2016.053
Rolle, M.E. (2016) Animal welfare and animal rights Animal Sentience 2016.054
Rowlands, Mark (2016) Mentality and animal welfare Animal Sentience 2016.055
Sammarco, Andrea L. (2016) Is humanitarianism recent? Animal Sentience 2016.056
Broom, Donald M. (2016) (Response) Sentience and animal welfare: New thoughts and controversies Animal Sentience 2016.057
Lachance, Martine (2016) Breaking the silence: The veterinarian’s duty to report Animal Sentience 2016.006
Ng, Yew-Kwang (2016) How welfare biology and commonsense may help to reduce animal suffering Animal Sentience 2016.007
Friday, December 18. 2015
1. Richard Poynder's take on Berlin 12 is basically valid (even though perhaps a touch too conspiratorially minded).
2. The much-too-long series of Berlin X meetings, huffing on year after year, has long been much-ado-about-next-to-nothing.
3. The solemn 2003 "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities," with its unending list of signatories, was never anything more than a parroting of the 2003 "Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing [sic]," which was, in turn, a verbose reiteration of half of the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative -- skewed toward only BOAI-II ("gold" open access publishing), virtually ignoring BOAI-I ("green" open access self-archiving).
4. For what it's worth, I attended Berlin 1 in Berlin in 2003 (out of curiosity, and in the hope it would lead to something) and we hosted Berlin 3 in Southampton in 2005 (at which it was officially recommended to require BOAI-I, green OA self-archiving, and to encourage BOAI-II, gold OA publishing -- exactly as had been recommended in 2004 by the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology).
5. After Berlin 3 in 2005 the Berlin X series went on and on, year after year (I never attended again), but the progress on implementing the Southampton/Berlin-3 recommendations was transpiring (though still much too slowly) elsewhere (with the ROARMAP mandates being adopted in the UK, Australia, EU, and US, starting from 2003 and continuing today).
6. As far as I can tell, the Berlin X series just continues fussing about gold OA, and although I am less suspicious than Richard, I too suspect that the "secrecy" was because the institutional reps attending Berlin 12 are trying to forge a common front for working out a gold-OA "flip" deal with publishers.
And my prediction, for reasons I've repeated, unheeded, many, many times, is that any such flip will be a flop.
Monday, December 7. 2015
Disagreement is always good — creative, even. I am not trying to change Richard Poynder's mind, just openly airing points and counterpoints, in the spirit of open peer commentary...
1. I agree that the home pages of Institutional Repositories that simply tout their generic overall deposit counts are doing numerology.
2. "Dark deposit" is rather ominous-sounding. The reality is that there are:
(i) undeposited articles,And there's the Button to supplement them. One can always describe cups as X% full or as (1-X)% empty.
3. No, to calculate yearly deposit ratios using WoS or SCOPUS in order to estimate total yearly deposit ratios is definitely not "deceptive": it is valid for WoS-indexed or SCOPUS-indexed output (which also happens to be the output that the OA movement is mostly about, and for), but it might be an underestimate or overestimate for non-WoS/SCOPUS output, if for some reason their ratio differs. So what?
4. Numerology is meaningless numbers, counted for their own sake, and interpreted according to taste (which can be occult, ornate or obtuse). Calculating correlations between mandate conditions and deposit ratios and drawing predictive conclusions from correlations whose probability of having occurred by chance is less that 5% is conventional predictive statistics (which only turns into numerology if you do a fishing expedition with a very large number of tests and fail to adjust your significance level for the likelihood that 5% of the significant correlations will have occurred by chance). We did only a small number of tests and had predicted a-priori which ones were likely to be significant, and in what direction.
5. Yes, there are far too few mandates, just as there are far too few deposits. Nevertheless, there were enough to detect the statistically significant trends; and if they are put into practice, there will be more effective mandates and more deposits. (The HEFCE/Liege immediate-deposit condition for eligibility for research evaluation turned out to be one of the statistically significant conditions.)
6. I heartily agree that academics are excessively micromanaged and that evaluative metrics can and do become empty numerology as well. But I completely disagree that requiring scholars and scientists to do a few extra keystrokes per published article (5 articles per year? 5 minutes per article?) counts as excessive micro-management, any more than "publish or perish" itself does. Both are in fact close to the very core of a scholar's mission and mandate (sic) qua scholar: To conduct research and report their findings -- now updated to making it OA in the online era. Justifiable animus against excessive and intrusive micromanagement is no excuse for shooting oneself in the foot by resisting something that is simple, takes no time, and is highly beneficial to the entire scholarly community.
7. Cultures don't change on a wish or a whim (or a "subversive proposal"!); they change when the pay-off contingencies (not necessarily financial!) change. That's how publish-or-perish worked (publication- and citation-bean-counting for employment, promotion, tenure, funding) and the online era now requires a tiny, natural extension of publish-or-perish to publish-and-deposit for eligibility for bean-counting.
8. And if we remind ourselves, just for a moment, as to why it is that scholars scull in the first place -- which is not for the sake of publication- and citation-bean-counting for employment, promotion, tenure, funding), is it not so that their findings can be accessed, used and built upon by all their would-be users?
Wednesday, December 2. 2015
"I have a feeling that when Posterity looks back at the last decade of the 2nd A.D. millennium of scholarly and scientific research on our planet, it may chuckle at us... I don't think there is any doubt in anyone's mind as to what the optimal and inevitable outcome of all this will be: The [peer-reviewed journal| literature will be free at last online, in one global, interlinked virtual library... and its [peer review] expenses will be paid for up-front, out of the [subscription-cancelation] savings. The only question is: When? This piece is written in the hope of wiping the potential smirk off Posterity's face by persuading the academic cavalry, now that they have been led to the waters of self-archiving, that they should just go ahead and drink!" -- Harnad (1999)I must admit I've lost interest in following the Open Access Derby. All the evidence, all the means and all the stakes are by now on the table, and have been for some time. Nothing new to be learned there. It's just a matter of time till it gets sorted and acted upon; the only lingering uncertainty is about how long that will take, and that is no longer an interesting enough question to keep chewing on, now that all's been said, if not done.
Comments on: Richard Poynder (2015) Open Access, Almost-OA, OA Policies, and Institutional Repositories. Open And Shut. December 01, 2015A few little corrections and suggestions on Richard's paper:
(1) The right measure of repository and policy success is the percentage of an institution's total yearly peer-reviewed research article output that is deposited as full text immediately upon acceptance for publication. (Whether the deposit is immediately made OA is much less important, as long as the copy-request Button is (properly!) implemented. Much less important too are late deposits, author Button-request compliance rates, or other kinds of deposited content. Once all refereed articles are being deposited immediately, all the rest will take care of itself, sooner or later.)
(2) CRIS/Cerif research-asset-management tools are complements to Institutional Repositories, not competitors.
(3) The Australian ERA policy was a (needless) flop for OA. The UK's HEFCE/Ref2020 policy, in contrast, looks like it can become a success. (None of this has anything to do with the pro's or con's of either research evaluation, citations, or metrics in general.)
(4) No, "IDOA/PEM" (Deposit mandates requiring immediate deposits for research evaluation or funding, with the Button) will not increase "dark deposit," they will increase deposit -- and mandate adoption, mandate compliance, OA, Button-Use, Almost-OA, access and citations. They will also hasten the day when universal IDOA/PEM will make subscriptions cancellable and unsustainable, inducing conversion to fair-Gold OA (instead of today's over-priced, double-paid and unnecessary Fool's-Gold OA. But don't ask me "how long?" I don't know, and I no longer care!)
(5) The few anecdotes about unrefereed working papers are completely irrelevant. OA is about peer-reviewed journal articles. Unrefereed papers come and go. And eprints and dspace repositories clearly tag papers as refereed/unrefereed and published/unpublished. (The rest is just about scholarly practice and sloppiness, both from authors and from users.)
(6) At some point in the discussion, Richard, you too fall into the usual canard about impact-factor and brand, which concerns only Gold OA, not OA.
RP: "Is the sleight of hand involved in using the Button to promote the IDOA/PEM mandate justified by the end goal — which is to see a proliferation of such mandates? Or to put it another way, how successful are IDOA/PEM mandates likely to prove?"No sleight of hand -- just sluggishness of hand, on the part of (some) authors (both for Button compliance and mandate compliance) and on the part of (most) institutions and funders (for the design and adoption of successful IDOA/PEM mandates (with Button). And the evidence is all extremely thin, one way or the other. Of course successful IDOA/PEM mandates (with Button) are (by definition!) better than relying on email links at publisher sites. "Successful" means near 100% compliance rate for immediate full-text deposit. And universal adoption of successful IDOA/PEM mandates (with Button) means universal adoption of successful IDOA/PEM mandates (with Button). (Give me that and worries about author Button-compliance will become a joke.)
The rest just depends on the speed of the horses -- and I am not a betting man (when it comes to predicting how long it will take to reach the optimal and inevitable). (Not to mention that I am profoundly against horse-racing and the like -- for humanitarian reasons that are infinitely more important than OA ever was or will be.)
Thursday, November 12. 2015
If the British research community, universities, and government heed the siren call of all the disinformation summed up by Elsevier above, what can one say but that we deserve everything that’s coming to us?Alicia Wise (ELS-OXF)
Every single talking point above is the exact opposite of the truth, and of what is best for the research community, researchers and the British tax-paying public in the online era.
And it takes only a little critical reflection to see exactly how and why.
I will not repeat here, yet again, all the points to which I’ve tried — unsuccessfully — to alert the research community across the years.
It should be enough to just ask ourselves:
“Why on earth is the research journal publishing industry — the industry that has made a fortune by appropriating our intellectual property during the many years when the costs and constraints of print and its distribution left us no choice — now to be allowed not only to retain its stranglehold but to strengthen it -- and to do so in the online era, the era that would at last have allowed us to free ourselves (and our property, and our actions) from that industry's gratuitous and greedy grip?”We don’t need Elsevier (or any publisher) and its PURE Trojan Horse to handle the archiving, access-provision, accounting and assessment of our research output! We only need publishers to manage the peer review (which we also provide ourselves, for free, the same way we provide our articles for free).
Why on earth do we want to willingly and knowingly renew and even reinforce this Faustian Bargain?
It is not that I am too exhausted to keep fighting.
It is that the research community’s gormless gullibility (not Elsevier) is starting to look unconquerable, incorrigible.
From: Stevan HarnadNor is there any need whatsoever to turn to turn to Elsevier's PURE for CRIS asset-management functionality: Open source versions of CRIS/CERIF already exist and more are on the way. Elsevier and Thompson/Reuters bought up the first generation (developed, of course, by universities) but the next generation is already being created. Industry is richer in buy-up money but bright doctoral students at universities are an inexhaustible resource of ever more powerful tools -- and many of them are not as ready as their university administration is, to sell out to industries that exploit the very hand that feeds them.
Wednesday, August 12. 2015
Kudos to the University of Oxford! Although the Oxford 2013 "Statement on Open Access" had been rather weak and vague, it has now been reinforced by Open Access Oxford's 2015 system (see text at end, below) for implementing HEFCE/REF2020, and this time it's the optimal system.
Now all that's needed in order to monitor and ensure compliance is to make the date-of-acceptance (year, month, day) field in the Oxford repository (ORA) a mandatory field (and advise authors to make sure to retain their acceptance letter for possible audit).
The repository software can then calculate the (likewise mandatory) deposit date D and the Acceptance date A and subtract A from D. If D - A < 3 (months) then the article is HEFCE-compliant and eligible for REF2020.
If D - A > 3 then the author is alerted that the article risks not being eligible for REF2020 and that for future articles D - A must be less than 3 months.
Automated D-A monitoring and feedback to authors should be continuous and immediate.
HEFCE/REF2020 will probably be flexible about the start-up 1-2 years, but not longer than that. Oxford is right to get the system in place as early as possible.
Vincent-Lamarre, Philippe, Boivin, Jade, Gargouri, Yassine, Larivière, Vincent and Harnad, Stevan (2015) Estimating Open Access Mandate Effectiveness: I. The MELIBEA Score. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) (2015, in press) /
Oxford prepares for ‘Act on Acceptance’
Friday, July 10. 2015
In an entertaining posting, "The Deniability of the Blog," David Worlock chides me for (amongst other things) failed predictions, hoping that I (and Derk Haank) stick around long enough to keep providing entertainment.
Stay tuned. Dunno about Derk but I’m still around for the long haul.
But I do want to point out that I haven’t the slightest interest in journal publisher revenues (though they will of course plummet sooner or later); never had.
There are two problems for journal article users: articles' unaffordability and their inaccessibility. And I’m interested solely in the latter. OA is the solution to that; the former problem will then take care of itself.
Yes, eventually peer review will die, journals will die, research will die and the universe will devolve into heat death. But OA will come before all that.
If David wanted to pillory me with having been taken by surprise by events, he could easily have found many genuine examples of my stupidity:
Yes, I had sincerely believed that within a year or two of my 1994 Subversive Proposal, all researchers would be self-archiving. I never dreamt they would keep — so to speak — sitting on their fingers for at least another two decades.
Nor did I imagine that if they got free software in 2000 to create interoperable institutional repositories, their posteriors would stay put, their digits still immobile.
Taken by surprise again that once their institutions and funders began in 2003 to mandate their fingers into action where the sun does shine, all of them — the researchers, their institutions and their funders — would instead be blinded (and blindsided), beginning about 2006, by gold-dust, tempted to heed instead the siren call of journal publishers to “leave the keystroking to us — for a fee.”
What I did anticipate all along, however, was that if authors didn't hurry up and do the stroking, publishers would and could make their offer look like an un-refusable one, trying to gild the lily by embargoing the green option of authors flexing their own fingers.
But now there’s still the Button to buttress the mandates and save the day for digital self-help, with immediate Almost-OA, immune to publisher blackmail.
Moral: One cannot second-guess human nature; only what is feasible, sensible and optimal. The rest is in the hands of the gods.
But do stay tuned…
Tuesday, July 7. 2015
Sander Dekker, Netherlands’ State Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science wants Open Access and has set some deadlines for how soon he wants it for Netherlands. That’s fine.
But the Netherlands' Sander Dekker, like the UK's Finch Committee, wants Gold Open Access.
That means Universities must pay Elsevier’s asking price for Gold OA.
Elsevier’s asking price is a price per article that will maintain Elsevier's current total net subscription revenue.
Elsevier’s current total net subscription revenue is enormously bloated — not only by huge profit margins (c. 40%) but by obsolete product and service costs forcibly co-bundled into the price (print edition, online edition, access-provision, archiving).
The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has a consortial Big Deal subscription with Elsevier, and they have said they will continue to pay it if Netherlands authors can have Gold OA for their articles at no extra charge.
This is basically trying to transform a bloated subscription deal into a bloated Gold OA membership deal, rather like SCOAP3.
The reasons this transformation cannot work globally are many, but locally it can be made to work, for a while, by fiat, if VSNU collaborate and Elsevier agrees.
And on the surface it is not obvious why Elsevier would not agree, since it looks as if the deal would give Elsevier exactly what it wants: current revenue levels per Elsevier article will be maintained, but with the Netherlands paying its share not as subscriptions but as memberships, in exchange for Gold OA for Elsevier articles by Netherlands authors.
But what about the rest of the world? They continue paying subscriptions — not just to Elsevier, but to all other publishers. And VSNU, too, must continue paying subscriptions to all other publishers whose journals Netherlands users need.
Would this local Netherlands solution be stable, sustainable and scalable?
The answer is that it would be none of these -- and Elsevier knows that perfectly well. And that explains why they are not eager to make this local Gold membership deal with VSNU (even though Springer has been trying to encourage the consortial Gold membership model for its subscribers) -- and why VSNU is contemplating asking Elsevier editors at Netherlands institutions (and eventually all Elsevier authors in Netherlands) to boycott Elsevier unless Elsevier makes this transition to Gold
A Gold consortial membership model is unstable, unsustainable and unscalable because memberships, like subscriptions, are locally cancellable -- by an institution or a country -- and because there are other (competing) publishers in the world.
And membership would be unstable and unsustainable even if the scalability problem could be magically surmounted by a global “flip” in which all institutions on the planet and all publishers on the planet solemnly agree jointly to go from their current subscriptions to Gold OA memberships for all their journals with all their publishers at their current subscription price all on the same day.
The very next day the system would destabilize, with cash-strapped institutions cancelling their “memberships” to journals that their users needed to use but in which their authors published little, preferring instead to pay for publishing by the piece for the few articles they publish in them.
This would in turn destabilize the sustainability of yesterday’s subscription revenue streams via memberships, which would mean that membership fees would have to increase for the non-defecting institutions to sustain all publishers' net revenue, which would in turn mean that institutions would be paying more for memberships than they had been paying for subscriptions.
And the Global Consortial Gold Membership Deal (which is in reality a global producer oligopoly sustained by a global consumer consortium) would begin unravelling the moment it was “flipped.”
Trying instead to get there more gradually, institution by institution, publisher by publisher, journal by journal rather than via a miraculous global “flip” instead destabilizes the scalability of the Gold membership model rather than just its sustainability. Institutions as well as publishers would be participating in a multi-player prisoner's dilemma, with defection always being the optimal choice.
But this is also the relevant point to recall that there is another way to give and get OA, namely, Green OA self-archiving:
For institutions struggling with bloated, unaffordable journal subscription prices, the far more natural route is to reduce subscriptions to just their users' must-have journals and to mandate Green OA, in their own institutional repositories, for their own publication output, rather than to lock themselves into increasingly unaffordable subscriptions in the form of membership fees in exchange for Gold OA for their own institutional publication output.
This, of course, is exactly why publishers are trying so hard to embargo Green OA: Not because the survival of refereed journals is at stake but in order to hold publication hostage to either current bloated subscriptions or bloated Gold OA fees that sustain the same net revenue either way they are paid.
That way the bloated asking price price will never go down and the costs of the obsolete products and services can continue to be forcibly co-bundled into the asking price.
But publishers know perfectly well that they are fighting a battle that they will ultimately lose, and that all they are doing now is whatever they can to sustain their current revenue levels as long as possible, with the vague hope that piece-wise Gold OA fees might continue to sustain the bloat as unstable, unscalable and unsustainable consortial "memberships" could not.
So publishers continue conning the likes of Sander Dekker into believing that today's bloated Fool's Gold OA is the only way to have OA, and that Green OA would destroy journals altogether, so it must be embargoed.
And VSNU thinks it is fighting the good fight by threatening another boycott against Elsevier unless they agree to Fool's Gold consortial OA membership for the Netherlands.
A stable, scalable, sustainable solution, of course, is within reach, through a transition to affordable, unbloated Fair Gold induced by first universally mandating and providing Green OA (there is even an antidote for publishers' embargoes on Green OA) -- but neither Sander Dekker nor VSNU are grasping it.
Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: Anna Gacs. The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age. L'Harmattan. 99-106.
______ (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed. D-Lib Magazine 16 (7/8).
______ (2013) The Postgutenberg Open Access Journal (revised). In, Cope, B and Phillips, A (eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal (2nd edition). 2nd edition of book Chandos.
______ (2014) The only way to make inflated journal subscriptions unsustainable: Mandate Green Open Access. LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog 4/28
Houghton, J. & Swan, A. (2013) Planting the Green Seeds for a Golden Harvest: Comments and Clarifications on "Going for Gold". D-Lib Magazine 19 (1/2).
Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2014) Open Access Mandates and the "Fair Dealing" Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)
Swan, Alma; Gargouri, Yassine; Hunt, Megan; & Harnad, Stevan (2015) Open Access Policy: Numbers, Analysis, Effectiveness. Pasteur4OA Workpackage 3 Report.
Vincent-Lamarre, Philippe, Boivin, Jade, Gargouri, Yassine, Larivière, Vincent and Harnad, Stevan (2015) Estimating Open Access Mandate Effectiveness: I. The MELIBEA Score JASIST, in press.
Tuesday, June 30. 2015
On June 13 2015, all around the world – in Paris, Brussels, London, Berlin, Istanbul, Delhi, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal – people gathered to March for the Closing of the Slaughterhouses.
But the slaughterhouses will not close of their own accord.
To close the slaughterhouses people’s eyes and hearts have to be opened. Opening people’s hearts is the only hope for the countless victims – innocent, helpless, without voices, without rights – who are suffering, horribly and needlessly, every moment of every day, everywhere in the world, for our palates.
Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, The Ghost in Our Machine (with permission)
How to open people’s hearts?
With two fundamental facts that most people do not yet know or believe.
I. The first fundamental fact is that eating meat is not necessary for human survival or human health.
The vegans from all over the world who marched on June 13 were the living proof of this first fundamental fact (Nearly 1% of the world population of 7.5 billion is vegan today.)
II. The second fundamental fact is that in order to provide this meat that is not necessary for the survival or health of the 7.5 billion humans on the planet, an unimaginable amount of suffering is necessary for over 150 billion innocent, voiceless, defenceless victims every year.
Slaughter for meat is not euthanasia. It is not the merciful, pain-free, terror-free ending of a long, happy life in order to spare the victim from suffering a terrible incurable disease or unbearable pain.
SEE ALSO:Slaughter is the terrifying and horribly painful ending of a short, anguished life full of disease and fear and pain, for innocent, defenceless victims deliberately bred and reared for that purpose. And it is all carefully concealed from the public eye.
And it is completely unnecessary for our survival or health. We inflict all this pain on the victims only for taste pleasure, and out of habit.
Demonstrations like the June 13 march are very important, but they are not enough to open people’s hearts and close the slaughterhouses.
For that, we first have to open access to the slaughterhouses, with audio-visual surveillance Webcams placed at all the sites of the abominations (breeding, rearing, transport, slaughter) -- cameras that will film the horrors and stream them all immediately, continuously and permanently on the Web so that all people on the planet can witness the terrible cost in agony that our taste-preferences are inflicting, every moment of every day, everywhere, on our victims: sentient beings, innocent, defenseless, without rights, without voice, without respite, without hope.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons (public domain image)
Not everyone will look at the videos streamed on the web.
But the number of witnesses who will look and see will grow and grow. And with them will grow the knowledge of the heartbreaking truth, the reality that has till now been hermetically hidden from our eyes and our hearts.
And those of us who come to know the awful truth can provide the eyes and the voice for the victims.
The existing regulations for minimizing suffering in slaughterhouses are shamefully inadequate -- how can one needlessly end an innocent life humanely? But even these existing, inadequate regulations are not being enforced or monitored or obeyed today.
As its first consequence, the crowd-sourced monitoring of slaughterhouses, based on the evidence streamed and stored publicly on the web, witnessed and reported by a growing number of informed and concerned citizens, will help to ensure that today’s existing (though inadequate) regulations – and prosecution for their violation – are enforced more and more reliably and rigorously.
In Quebec -- the province that has until now been the worst in Canada for animal welfare -- we have just acquired a legal basis for requiring rigorous monitoring of slaughterhouses: the National Assembly has heeded the many Quebec voices raised on behalf of protecting animals from suffering. The Quebec Civil Code has been amended to give animals the status of sentient beings instead of the status of inert property - or movable goods - as formerly. (Other countries are doing likewise: New Zealand is the latest.)
But this new status, like this public demonstration, are not enough.
Sensitizing Sentients to Sentience
In Quebec, on this new legal basis, and with the help of the new audio-visual evidence, as witnessed by the Quebec public, not only would we be able to prosecute those who do not comply with the existing (inadequate) regulations but we could also press for the passage of stronger and stronger legislation to protect sentient beings.
And the evidence provided by these surveillance Webcams would have a still further effect, apart from the enforcement and strengthening of today’s animal welfare regulations: It would also awaken and sensitize witnesses to the actual horrors made necessary by a non-vegan diet: It would sensitize us all to the sentience of sentient beings.
In place of the shamelessly false advertising images of "happy cows" and "contented chickens" we would all have the inescapable, undeniable, graphic evidence of the unspeakable suffering of these innocent, sentient victims - and the utter needlessness of their suffering.
Might this not at last inspire us all not to remain non-vegan, just for the pleasure of the taste, at this terrible cost in pain to other innocent feeling beings? Might it inspire us to abolish their needless suffering, instead of just diminish it?
SEE ALSO:Win/Win Outcome for All
Let me close with a little optimistic numerology and the world’s most benign pyramid scheme for every sentient being on the planet, with no losers other than industries that build profit on suffering:
If each vegan today inspires just 6 more non-vegans (1) to become vegan AND (2) to each inspire 6 more non-vegans to become vegan, then in just 9 steps all of the population of Quebec will be vegan, in 10 steps all of Canada, in 11 Canada and the United States, and in 12-13 the whole world.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public domain image)
It is also entirely fair that it should be ourselves, the most prosperous and well-fed populace in the world, who start. By the time we have closed all of our industrial slaughterhouses and converted the land to producing food to feed people instead of using it to breed, feed and butcher innocent victims, needlessly, the planet will be producing 40% more human food, 60% less pollution and 90% less suffering – with enough left to sustain natural wildlife and their habitat too.
That will also be enough food to feed the world’s current malnourished as well as to allow the last subsistence hunters on the planet to make the transition to a truly fair, sustainable, scalable and merciful means of sustenance.
Friday, June 5. 2015
William Gunn (Mendeley) wrote:
“[E]verything you could post publicly and immediately before, you can do so now. There's a NEW category of author manuscript, one which now comes with Elsevier-supplied metadata specifying the license and the embargo expiration date, that is subject to the embargo. The version the author sent to the journal, even post peer-review, can be posted publicly and immediately, which wasn't always the case before…”Actually in the 2004-2012 Elsevier policy it was the case: Elsevier authors could post their post-peer-review versions publicly and immediately in their institutional repositories. This was then obfuscated by Elsevier from 2012-2014 with double-talk, and now has been formally embargoed in 2015.
Elsevier authors can, however, post their post-peer-review versions publicly and immediately on their institutional home page or blog, as well as on Arxiv or RePeC, with an immediate CC-BY-NC-ND license. That does in fact amount to the same thing as the 2004-2012 policy (in fact better, because of the license), but it is embedded in such a smoke-screen of double-talk and ambiguity that most authors and institutional OA policy-makers and repository-managers will be unable to understand and implement it.
My main objection is to Elsevier’s smokescreen. This could all be stated and implemented so simply if Elsevier were acting in good faith. But to avoid any risk to itself, Elsevier prefers to keep research access at risk with complicated, confusing edicts.
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