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August 31, 2012: Learning from other animals without exploiting them

Originally posted on August 20, 2012 on this blog.

One of the main beliefs of the Effaist philosophy is that we, as humans, should do our best not to exploit or abuse other animals. This is why we are against sports and entertainment events in which animals are used, whether they be relatively harmless (such as horse racing) or much more so (such as bullfighting, dog fighting, etc.) This is also why we don't support the use of horse-drawn carriages, or any other such mode of transportation that exploits animals. This is why we are against experimenting on animals, whatever the reason. Some people will tell you that it's OK to experiment on animals to improve our health and lengthen our lives, but this is unethical. We don't consider progress that is a result of the suffering and death of other animals to be real progress. We do not want to extend our lives at the expense of the lives of other living beings.

This does not mean, however, that we can't learn from other animals in an ethical way. Animals have a lot to teach us, and we can, indeed, learn without subjecting them to experimentation, and without causing them harm. Historically, there are a lot of precedents for this type of thing, especially true when it comes to incorporating animal movement into the human realm. Examples of this include studying bird flight patterns to learn about aerodynamics, using animal-based moves in certain martial arts, developing technology that mimics the movement of snakes or other animals to get into hard-to-reach places. The truth is, there are many more ways we can mimic the movement of animals to improve our technology, to study them in a non-exploitative way. This is the ethical way to learn from other animals, one that improves our lives without worstening theirs.

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