The Kimmela Center has just finished the first stage of our work for the Someone Project, a joint project with Farm Sanctuary that will be used to increase awareness about the complex minds and lives of farmed animals and influence farm animal policy for the benefit of the animals themselves.
In this first stage, we’ve been compiling the scientific evidence for cognitive, emotional and social complexity in pigs and chickens. The next stage will involve doing the same for other factory farmed animals such as cows and goats.
A great deal of work has gone into gathering all this evidence, and much of it has been done by the all-volunteer team of scholar-advocates who are invaluable members of the project:
Christina M. Colvin: Tina will graduate with a PhD in English from Emory University in May 2014. She specializes in 20th and 21st century American literature and animal studies, with a particular interest in texts depicting ecological crises and odd encounters between humans and animals.
Her most recent writing and professional presentations have focused on William Faulkner’s critique of speciesism, the permutations of taxidermy as a cultural signifier, as well as the vexed relationship between animal welfare and the rhetoric of sustainability.
Christina aims for her academic and public scholarship to spark renewed interest in animals in both literary studies and the world.
Heather Harrison: Heather is attending Antioch University of New England for a Masters in Environmental Studies with a concentration in advocacy, and recently completed an internship with the Humane Society of the United States’ Farm Animal Protection Campaign. Through her work with the Someone Project, she hopes to enrich her knowledge of farm animal intelligence in order to effectively increase public awareness.
Heather is currently working as the education intern at Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres shelter in California.
Beth Snead: Beth is the assistant acquisitions editor at the University of Georgia Press. She graduated from UGA in 2007 with a BA in English and has been working in the field of scholarly publishing ever since. She is currently exploring the possibility of implementing an animal studies series at the UGA Press.
Beth is a strong advocate for animal rights and is particularly concerned about the plight of laboratory animals and factory farmed animals in the U.S. She is thrilled to be assisting Farm Sanctuary with the “Someone” project.
Julia Tsai: Julia is an undergraduate at Stanford. She entered college intending to major in Biology as a pre-vet, but after living on an organic farm, became increasingly interested in the social and environmental issues surrounding our food system and society’s perception of food.
Now, her focus has turned to our production of animals for food. The Someone Project’s goal to use scientific material to influence the policies surrounding the treatment of farm animals is such a novel approach to advocate for a change in the way we view animals and use them for our benefit.
Julia is still thinking of attending vet school in the future, but her goals have become more nuanced, shifting from learning how to treat animals in a medical setting to how to understand and treat them psychologically and educate others about them.
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Scholar-advocacy, the basis of Kimmela’s approach, focuses on applying scholarship, science and expertise to animal advocacy issues, and these talented and accomplished volunteers exemplify this model perfectly.
Many thanks to all of them as we move on to the next stage of the project.