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Title:From Sympathy to Synergy: Humane Activism in the Modern Environmental Movement
Author(s):Daitch, Vicki McKinney
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mark Leff
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, Modern
Abstract:Animal welfare activists contributed both substance and style to the environmental movement that emerged in the years following the Second World War. Women tended to take a more active role than men in humane politics. A loose network of women activists led campaigns to save marine mammals from hunters, predators from traps and poisons, primates from laboratories and birds from pesticides, among many other issues. They explicitly recognized a place for human uses of other animals, but denied that cruelty and outright extirpation was an inescapable and acceptable side effect of such uses. These women relied upon personal connections as well as organizational ones to coordinate programs designed to optimize paths to animal protection, whether through legislative, regulatory or social and cultural changes. Humane workers increasingly turned to science to support their values and their politics, and they were rewarded with new understandings of human/animal relationships through advances in science in every field from ecology and ethology to genetics. Animal welfare activists capitalized on the widespread sympathy for other animals that Americans exhibited during the post-war years to lobby for legislation to protect animals from systematic cruelties, including those affecting wild animals. They recognized that cruelties to wildlife such as traps and poisons, pesticides, oil spills and other habitat despoliation were also threats to nature more generally and to human quality of life. The combination of science and compassion proved to be a fruitful one for environmentalists because Americans reacted strongly to issues affecting' animals. Sympathy for animals supported and extended ecological arguments, while increased ecological understanding supported arguments in favor of avoiding cruel exploitation of animals. The environmental movement that exploded in the 1960s and 1970s benefited greatly from access to the political strategies and issues developed by humane workers starting in the 1950s. Compassion for other animals thus claimed an important place in the constellation of environmental ethics and politics.
Issue Date:2000
Description:287 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9955604
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2000

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