Charter for Animal Compassion

About

Our vision is of a world in which human and non-human animals flourish.

We believe that compassion has a clear and critical role to play in creating such a world.

The Charter for Animal Compassion is a non-political, non-ideological statement of the significance of empathy and compassion in an age of species loss and animal suffering.

The Charter champions the science of animal sentience, and calls on writers, researchers and artists to collaborate in translating and carrying this science into popular consciousness.

By affirming the Charter you signal your support for the principles it contains. You signal your support for a more compassionate world.

Join us today.

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The Charter

Animals are sentient beings. Mammals, birds, fish and many other creatures possess the ability to feel and perceive; they experience the world subjectively. The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. As fellow participants in sentient and conscious life, animals experience fear and pain, excitement and joy. What happens to them matters to them. What happens to them should also matter to us.

Our interactions with animals often lack compassion. Compassion lies at the heart of moral behaviour, impelling us to alleviate suffering and treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion calls on us to unseat our species from the centre of the world so that other species can flourish. It seeks the wellbeing of all creatures and respects the integrity of animal life. It is the heart of our humanity, the expression of an evolved empathy.

Empathy is the art of perspective taking, the ability to see through the eyes of another, to step imaginatively into their skin. Empathy takes us beyond ourselves. Through empathy we participate in experiences and feelings that are not our own. We understand the world as a plurality of points of view, prolific with different forms of intelligence. Empathy can carry us into feather and fur, into non-human minds, albeit imperfectly. Empathy makes possible the practice of animal compassion.

We call upon all people to act compassionately towards animals. In this age of habitat loss and wildlife destruction, as species slip into extinction and billions of sentient beings suffer in intensive farms, we urgently need to kindle a shared commitment to animal compassion. This begins by paying heed to animal perspectives in how we feed ourselves, organise our society, and interact with our natural environment. It begins with the belief that a more equitable world is possible.

We call upon artists and scientists to collaborate in bringing animal perspectives to life. As a society we find that we are alienated from animal points of view, stranded beyond an ‘empathy gap’. We struggle to understand the experiences and feelings of our mammalian, avian, reptilian, amphibian and aquatic kin. The science of animal sentience must be translated and carried into popular consciousness if it is to inspire compassion. We call on artists and writers to take up this challenge.

Click here to see who has signed the Charter for Animal Compassion

Affirm

Affirm the Charter for Animal Compassion.

Your signature is an affirmation of the principles outlined in the Charter. It signals your support for a more compassionate world.

There is no cost involved. Signatories will be kept up to date with the Charter as it works to promote the writers, researchers and artists whose work engenders inter-species empathy.

View Charter signatories 

Info

‘Charter for Animal Compassion’ is an independent not-for-profit based in London, England.

Our mission is to realise the principles outlined in the Charter for Animal Compassion. We work to promote the writers, researchers and artists whose work engenders inter-species empathy. We aim to inspire compassion towards non-human animals.

Throughout 2017 and 2018 we will be compiling an online archive of research and writings that bring the Charter for Animal Compassion to life. We will be publishing interviews and articles that interrogate its themes.

Find out more about the ideas, intentions and people behind the Charter.

Talk to us at: contact@charterforanimalcompassion.com

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The Charter for Animal Compassion is an affiliated partner of Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion. Read here.

The Charter for Animal Compassion quotes the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, written by Philip Low and colleagues. Read here.