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May 2012: Kai Haswell on Animal Rights

The May 2012 meeting of the Humanists of Colorado features Kai Haswell, past president of the CSU student group Leaders in Free Thought, who will speak on the topic of animal rights.  For the past two years, Kai has worked closely with Dr. Bernard Rollin, one of the foremost animal rights scholars in the country.  Kai's current thesis work addresses the question of whether invertebrates, specifically insects, should be protected by anti-cruelty legislation.

Kai will discuss the challenges faced by the animal welfare movement, and specifically focus on the problems posed by the behaviorist movement.  He will give a short overview of behaviorism (what it was and what it hoped to accomplish) and will argue that the theory, now widely discredited by scientists, still pervades modern thinking about consciousness and especially animal welfare.  He will then discuss how humanist ethical theory relates to non-human animals and suggest a number of ways we might bring animals into the realm of moral consideration.  Finally, Kai will offer a few modest suggestions on what steps we can take to improve the quality of life for other sentient creatures.  

At 6:00 we will share a potluck dinner, with the talk to begin at 7:00.  If attending the potluck, please bring a dish according to your last name:

A-B) Main Dish

C-D) Non-Alcoholic Beverage

E-J) Dessert

K-R) Side Dish

S-Z) Main Dish

After hours: 9pm- ? Several members of the HOC meet afterwards to continue the discussions at the Bull & Bush, 4700 Cherry Creek South Dr. in Denver. Link:

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  • Grace A.

    It was such a pleasure meeting some very nice people and gaining valuable insight on this thought provoking issue, it was the highlight of my trip to Denver.

    June 3, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was quite pleased the group received more information on moral theories, and it was interesting to see our speaker's approach was from a subjectivist perspective. As ever, the pub talk afterward was very enjoyable too.

    May 14, 2012

  • Jeanette M. N.

    This was a very thought-provoking talk, without the pat, simplistic answers we're so used to hearing. The speaker acknowledged that ethical questions are complex, and that ethics itself is a complex subject where many points of view are possible. I hope that in the future we will learn more about Kai Haswell's research into whether insects feel pain, and I hope he succeeds in landing a career working for human rights and well-being.

    May 13, 2012

  • Greg R.

    You're correct, Richard Recard. The board meeting is at 4:30 and is open to any HOC member who wants to attend.

    May 8, 2012

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