Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Taking Care of Multiple Animals Helps us Take Care of Human Animals

Because it turns out, some of the best and most humanistic medicine is being practiced by doctors whose patients aren't human. And one of the best ways we can take care of the human patient is by paying close attention to how all the other patients on the planet live, grow, get sick and heal. - Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

From multiple locations across the internet I received a link to this TED talk by human cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz.  She "shares how a species-spanning approach to health can improve medical care of the human animal — particularly when it comes to mental health." As a veterinarian myself, and as a Unitarian Universalist minister and facilitator to the First Principle Project I share the same approach as hers, and in fact, always have.  I do not see a fundamental divide between any two species, and to place humans in a category above or by ourselves limits the benefit possible to ourselves and others.  These benefits include physical, mental, and spiritual health, ecosystem health, welfare of the multiple species within our communities, and for us humans, a sense of belonging and wholeness.  Seeing the inherent worth and dignity of every being opens up a world of possibility and wonder, and of care for all. 

One of her most compelling observations in this video follows in the quote below, and I invite you to ask yourself a similar question:

How might I be taking better care of humans if I see them as a human animal?

and also

How might I be taking better care of many species if I see our species as a human animal?

I'd love to hear your reflections on this question, as well as the video (you can read the transcript here).  Your comments can be written below.

I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts and reflections, because it would be lovely to travel with you on this fascinating journey of being alive amongst such diversity and preciousnous, On our way together I believe we Unitarian Universalists will come to hear how all are called to multispecies ministry and medicine, or said another way, to the caring and healing of many species.

Rev. Dr. LoraKim Joyner 

Physicians and scientists, we accept intellectually that our species, Homo sapiens, is merely one species, no more unique or special than any other. But in our hearts, we don't completely believe that. I feel it myself when I'm listening to Mozart or looking at pictures of the Mars Rover on my MacBook. I feel that tug of human exceptionalism, even as I recognize the scientifically isolating cost of seeing ourselves as a superior species, apart. Well, I'm trying these days. When I see a human patient now, I always ask, what do the animal doctors know about this problem that I don't know? And, might I be taking better care of my human patient if I saw them as a human animal patient?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Helping Nonhuman Animals Helps Humans

Some have reservations about expanding their circle of compassion to include other species, for it might detract from the very important work humans have left to do in caring for our own species at both the individual and societal level.  As far as I know, there are no studies suggesting that helping one demographic or species causes a human person to diminish their compassion for another.  Many in fact argue that as we increase our compassion for any other, we increase the chances that our capacity of compassion for all others will also increase. We don't know this to be absolutely true, but recent studies suggest, as do many faith traditions, that it is so.

One scientific study showed that vegetarians and vegans had higher activation in brain areas associated with empathy than did omnivores when viewing scenes of either humans or nonhumans suffering.  This might suggest that empathy is associated across species lines, and those with higher empathy for nonhumans have higher empathy for humans.  Similarly, a study with children given humane education showed that empathy towards nonhuman animals is correlated with empathy towards humans.

What does our Unitarian Universalist faith have to say about the connection between caring for humans and nonhumans?  The First Principle Project's goal is to involve many in this question, with the hope of deepening faith, and increasing healing, wholeness, and compassionate action in the world towards all others. 

Here is as story of one Unitarian who exemplified how caring across species lines is related.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded by Unitarian Henry Bergh. He urged the New York legislature to pass the charter incorporating the ASPCA -- which it did, on April 10, 1866. Nine days later, an anti-cruelty law was passed, and the ASPCA granted the right to enforce it.

This step toward animal protection occurred before there were any protections against child abuse on the books. Eight years later in 1874 when Etta Wheeler sought to take action against the abuses to 10-yr-old Mary Ellen McCormack, she was frustrated by the lack of anti-cruelty to children legislation. So she turned to the ASPCA and the anti-cruelty laws they were charged with enforcing. Henry Bergh saw the girl, like the horses he routinely saved from violent stable owners, as a vulnerable member of the animal kingdom needing the protection of the state.  He arranged for the case to be argued, and it went to the NY Supreme Court, which ordered Mary Ellen removed from her abusive mother.

Bergh also prompted the formation, in 1874, of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC).

Here is a clear case where better treatment of animals helped humans get better treatment, and how one man did all he could not just for nonhuman animals, but for humans as well.

Can you think of other instances? If so, please post them here in the comment section. 

The First Principle Project is about sharing our stories, experiences, feelings, and thoughts so that together we can care for the many, including our beautiful human selves.  

May it be so.

Rev. LoraKim Joyner, DVM
First Principle Project Facilitator

For more about Henry Bergh and his transspecies work, click here and here.

For the obituary of Henry Berg, click here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

On Smushing Bugs

The First Principle Project (FPP), in operation since August 2013, has stoked conversations, reflection, and study regarding human's relation to and care of others, including those of other species.  Inviting and engaging each other in how to think and act in a multispecies world is one of the primary goals of the FPP.  We seek to wrestle with how we hold as precious the needs of all beings, without devaluing the beauty of humans having a flourishing life for themselves.  Indeed, we may come to share the understanding that human flourishing depends on seeing the inherent worth and dignity of indivdiuals of other species.

A recent article in the New York Times, On Smushing Bugs, lifts up how the FPP is about making life better for humans while considering the well being of other species, and this effort is no small thing, for Unitarian Univeralists, or for the author.  He begins by realting how insects and mice die at the hands of humans.  The author suggests that the Buddhist ideal of killing none and showing compassion to all in our actions is all but out of reach; "it's impossible even to live and move through this world without killing something....I helplessly kill dozens, if not hundreds, of animals daily with my big, dumb, blundering existence."  

For the author, though, these tragic, and often unavoidable results, do not diminish the worth of the other or the impact on humans; "A bug may be a small, unimportant thing, but maybe killing or saving one isn't. Everytme I smush a bug I can feel myself smushing something else too - an impulse towards mercy, a little throb of remorse. Maybe it would feel better to decide that killing even a bug matters.  Does devaluing tiny insignificant lives lead to callousness about larger, more important ones...?"

His grappling with this issue is what is happening when Unitarian Universalists consider changing the First Principle to the "inherent worth and dignity of every being."  How do we reconcile that they have worth when our outward actions continue to harm and maim?  How indeed....

I have no answsers to this question, other than that I am clear that taking up the question, with one another, may lead to greater flourishing and less harm for all.  In our stories, uncertainities, and yes, grief, we embody an understanding that might just heal the wounds we inflict upon ourselves thinking we are apart from the beauty of the many and the all, and hence we become more welcoming to ourselves and others humans, as well as other species.

The author ends his opinion piece with a story how he rescued some raccoons from a dumpster.  "Maybe I"m not a hero in the raccoon community. But whenever I think of all the harm I've done in this world, through cruelty or carelessness, or just by the unavoidable crime of being in it, I try to remember how I felt standing there, watching them go."   I assume that he felt good saving the raccoons, and from that action, he was also saving himself.

By caring for others, we care for ourselves.

Action with reflection leads him to seeing how he can be more compassionate in the world. This is the goal of the FPP - reflection and action woven together, ever leading us forward to a better world.

We are all caught in a web of harm and benefit - and we all subject to intersectionality, which is the intersection  between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination. This intersectionality also binds us in beauty and tragedy.

By opening our hearts and minds to this reality, we open our arms to welcome each and all to belonging as worthy individuals on this planet.  In so doing, we find ourselves truly at home, with a growing spirituality, consciousness, and compassion that considers and cares for all.

Together we find a way towards the greatest reconciliation and restoration that this complex life can offer.

May it be so.

Rev. Dr. LoraKim Joyner
First Principle Project Facilitator

Friday, November 7, 2014

Please Take This Survey On Changing Our Principles

Dear Unitarian Universalists,

   Please take this survey, and distribute it widely to other Unitarian Universalists, so we can gather the wisdom and move forward with power and possibility. 

To take the survey on Facebook, click here.

 If you don't want to take it on facebook, you can take it here.

   This survey guides you in reflecting on your UU faith as expressed in our Principles, and how changing them might bring more flourishing to this earth and her beings.

   In gratitude,

   Rev. LoraKim Joyner
   First Principle Project Facilitator

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Norman Phelps Speaks on the First Principle Project

Guest Author:  Norm Phelps
Animal Rights Activist and Author (The Dominion of Love: Animal Rights According to the Bible (2002), The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights (2004), and The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA (2007).

The First Principle Project
Disclaimer: I have had and continue to have no involvement with the First Principle Project. I am writing strictly as an individual and the views expressed here, as throughout this article, are my own.
For the benefit of readers who are not UUs, Unitarian-Universalism is a non-creedal denomination. There is no specific set of doctrines to which one must swear allegiance. In place of a creed, we have a set of Seven Principles, which outline the commonalities that bind us together. The First Principle, a commitment to “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” is the subject of a pro-animal initiative known as the First Principle Project (FPP). Initially created by Unitarian-Universalist Animal Ministry (UUAM), and facilitated by UU minister and wildlife veterinarian LoraKim Joyner, FPP campaigns to amend the First Principle in order to bring animals as individuals clearly and plainly under its protection.
Let me start by saying that as far as I am concerned, the First Principle—exactly as it is written—should provide the same degree of protection and nurture to animals that it provides to human beings. As I explained earlier, nonhuman animals—especially the mammals, birds, and fish that we enjoy eating—are people in every meaningful sense of the word.
But because the preponderance of UUs view it through the frame of humanism, the First Principle as written protects only human beings. Most UUs interpret “person” as a synonym for “human” and consider our relationship to animals to be governed by the Seventh Principle, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Thus, most UUs adopt a conventional environmental or ecological attitude toward animals and advocate protecting species and ecosystems, but not individual animals. This is a morally deficient response to the fact of animal sentience and personhood.
The First Principle Project proposes to change the First Principle to read, “the inherent worth and dignity of every being,” so that it expresses a worldview similar to what Albert Schweitzer termed “reverence for life.” Schweitzer viewed all living beings as individuals, not as species or populations, and so does The First Principle Project.
I wholeheartedly support The First Principle Project for reasons that should be clear from what I have said thus far. Because the locus of sentience is the individual, all sentient beings need compassion and respect as individuals. No one would think that so long as homo sapiens was not endangered, the enslavement and slaughter of individual human beings was morally acceptable. The same principle should hold for nonhuman animals, as well. Personally, I would prefer that an amended First Principle refer to “every sentient being,” because I fear that some will insist on interpreting “every being” to include plants and will argue that since even vegans eat plants, the consistency principle permits us to eat animals as well. This would be a misuse of the consistency principle, but I suspect we will nonetheless hear the argument made. But one of the things that makes being a UU so stimulating is that no two of us ever (or hardly ever) agree entirely about anything. And if each of us insists on their own favorite wording, we will never get anywhere. And so, I support amending the First Principle exactly as FPP proposes.
One thing that I find especially interesting about The First Principle Project website, including the Resource Guide, is that it never once states that eating the flesh of enslaved and murdered animals is inconsistent with respecting “the inherent worth and dignity of every being.” In fact, it mentions vegetarianism and veganism only in a worksheet and even there it takes extraordinary care to assure that the language is sterile and value-neutral. “Inherent worth” is quite a different matter from “instrumental worth.” When we eat the flesh of slaughtered animals, we are allotting them only instrumental worth and denying them inherent worth. To respect the inherent worth of any being, you must respect their life, and take it only under the pressure of dire necessity, as in defending yourself or someone else from attack. Enslaving and slaughtering an innocent being for one’s own pleasure—gustatory or otherwise—is a gross insult to that being’s inherent dignity.
Why this tiptoeing around the fundamental moral issue? Why this reticence where the bedrock question of right and wrong, good and evil is concerned? I do not know for certain, but it seems to me likely that the leaders of the FPP fear that a more direct approach would trigger a reflexively negative reaction from so many UUs, clergy and laity alike, that the FPP would be doomed before it ever got started. And based on my experience trying to get ethically unambiguous language inserted into the Statement of Conscience on Ethical Eating, this is a legitimate concern. And this sad reality brings us back to the larger question: Why is the UUA—and why are UU congregations and members around the country—defending the enslavement and slaughter of 65 billion innocent sentient beings every year? What has happened to us? Why did we stand still while others were moving the moral agenda forward? And, more importantly, How can we get back on track? How can we reclaim the UU heritage of moving the moral frontier forward? On the answer to that question hangs not only the fate of nonhuman people, but the fate of Unitarian-Universalism as well. If we do not get on the right side of the definitive social justice issue of our time, future generations of UUs will look back at us and see little to be proud of.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Way Forward for Animal Advocates Who Would Campaign for a New UU Principle

Guest Author:  Jennifer Greene

Jennifer is lead author of the new food education curriculum, Demonstrating Our Values through Eating (DOVE). She has served as RE director at the South Nassau Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freeport, NY; interim RE consultant for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Great South Bay; and board member for the Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry. Jennifer is part of the Food Justice Ministry team, and she assists Dr. Melanie Joy with her international speaking tours.

Gratitude for the vision of this project

I appreciate the invitation to share my ideas about how this project could move forward. In her invitation, Rev. Joyner refers to "the essence of the change" that is the purpose of this project. I thank her for this reminder (if I'm understanding her correctly) that the intention which unites us is not mere bylaw amendment, but of course personal and institutional transformation. 

I am terribly excited about getting UUs to hold discussions about widening our moral circle. These discussions are so challenging, but so important.

Let me begin this post by focusing on some of the questions currently posed by the First Principle Project (FPP).

Two different questions—one easier than the other

In its second sentence, the sidebar at the FPP blog poses a profound question: do species besides humans have worth and dignity? 

Most UUs could surely name some non-human species that they believe to be endowed with worth and dignity. Just a single example is all that's needed to collapse the "humans are the only ones" belief. For example, if the worth and dignity of Coco the gorilla and her kin is evident to us, we need look no further than her species in order to answer the question in the affirmative: yes, species besides humans have worth and dignity.

The sidebar continues, explaining in the very next sentence that the blog's essays will relate to the question, "Does every being have worth and dignity?"

This question, whether every being has worth and dignity, is quite a different question than the previous one. 

This question is not about collapsing the "humans are the only ones" belief. This question is asking if we can draw the circle representing those-with-worth-and-dignity so wide that it includes not just Coco, not just your dog or my cat, but every being. This question raises more challenging questions. Is a sponge a being? What does it mean for a tapeworm to have worth and dignity? And so on.

Is it clear, I hope, why these are very different questions? On more than one occasion, I have observed the conflation of the two; as if the proposed revision of the first principle is about collapsing the "humans are the only ones" belief, when in actuality the proposed revision is about asserting a far more expansive claim: "the worth and dignity of every being."

Another hard question; a common intuition versus bodhisattva-consciousness

Elsewhere, the FPP materials pose this question: are you comfortable with this statement, "…[humans] merit the same moral consideration as all [other species]." 

If you are a Buddhist, or Hindu, or Jain, you might indeed be comfortable with this statement, since Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain teachings promote this. (If my understanding about this is wrong, I hope someone will correct me on this point.)

But even ethicists known for challenging the hard line between humans and other-than-humans have held that in lifeboat-dilemma scenarios, it's possible (some of them say it's required) to give preference to a human's life over a non-human's life. [1] In other words, even prominent pro-animal ethicists seem prone to the intuition that humans may merit greater moral consideration than other species. 

I do not know if this intuition of unequal interspecies moral consideration will ever be eradicated from human cultures in general. I wonder what kind of spiritual evolution it will to take for most people to agree that it's as wrong to kill a turkey, as a human; and that it's as wrong to kill an ant, as a turkey. There are religions other than Unitarian Universalism which already teach this, and there are individuals within the Unitarian Universalist denomination who believe this. Am I one of them? Do I believe it's as wrong to kill an ant, as a human? No, I believe it's far more wrong to kill a human than an ant. I won't rule out the possibility of feeling differently someday, but that's my present view.

While I don't believe that killing an ant or turkey is as wrong as killing a human, my day-to-day behavior toward ants and turkeys and other animals is the very same as Norm Phelps' behavior toward them, and Norm maintains that it's as wrong to kill an insect as a human.  How can this be, that Norm and I do not hold the same beliefs about moral considerability across animal species, yet our behavior is the same? What lessons does this hold for UUs who would campaign to widen our moral circle? 

The "mere considerability premise" is enough

Philosophy professor Mylan Engel, Jr. explores the differences between the equal considerability premise (Norm's position) and the "mere" (non-zero) considerability premise (my position) in his essay,"The Mere Considerability of Animals." Engel demonstrates that belief in the equal considerability premise (EC) is "a stronger and more contentious premise than is needed" to take a principled stand against animals' exploitation and oppression. Engel shows that it's not necessary to hold EC, in order to make an argument from consistency for the wrongness of even the most entrenched form of animal exploitation (i.e., the use of animals for food).[2]

Needless harm is inflicted on, for instance, more than 8.8 billion birds by the United States' poultry industry each year. If you think what explains this is people's lack of belief in "moral equality" between birds and humans, then it makes sense that you might see a need to push for adoption of the EC. But there's another possibility: it could be that people don't need new belief in EC. Instead, it could be that what's needed is for people to close the gap between their presently-held belief (in the non-zero considerability of birds), and their actions, which are not consistent with their own belief. This is the essence of Engel's consistency argument.

One of the things I appreciate about the consistency argument is that it promotes a profound optimism about people's goodness. It expresses a confidence in the beliefs people already have, in their core values of kindness, justice, mercy and compassion. This strikes me as theologically very UU. 

Does the FPP promote EC, or not?

Mark Causey has argued that the proposed revision to the First Principle is not attempting to posit EC.[3]  But not everyone shares Mark's view. To others, "inherent worth and dignity of every being" does imply equality. It's easy to understand why they think it does.[4]

I recognize that some of us cherish the "inherent worth and dignity of every being" phrase. I know that it's a personal credo for some. But to the extent that it's interpreted as promoting EC, it triggers resistance in many UUs.

Let's reframe the project

I'm sure that at this point, I have not persuaded every last FPP supporter to abandon the dream of changing the first principle. That's fine; I didn't expect to. I am simply hoping to persuade you that a reframingof the project could be a productive way forward. 

Here's what I mean: we could reframe this project as the New Principle Project, taking the position that to keep up with the times, our principles ought to include acknowledgment that sentience endows other-than-humans with moral interests, and that our moral community ought to extend beyond our own species. We therefore need a new principle. And then, rather than ask UUs whether they support revising the first principle, yes or no, the question could be this: given our need for a new principle, which do you favor—a revised first, a revised second, an augmented seventh, or a new eighth? 

If we ask a different question, might we achieve our purpose better?

Rev. Brammer, in her recent guest post to the FPP blog, wrote, "I have difficulty increasing the reach of the first principle to non-human individuals when we have so much more intentional human bridge-building to do."  If we asked her to tell us which approach to a new principle she would favor, might we get a different answer? We might discover that a differently-framed question would keep the door open to inter-movement solidarity.[5]

This project could decide to seek the answer to this question: 

     In light of our need for a new principle, which do you favor?
     The inherent worth and dignity of every being (a revised first)
     Justice, equity, and compassion in all our relations (a revised second)
     Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, 
          and for the interests of individual beings as well (an augmented seventh)
     Respect for the sentient creatures, great and small, who dwell with us on Earth. (a new eighth)

What would be the practical implications of turning the FPP into the NPP? The essays in favor of revising the first principle would still be relevant resources, but the conversation going forward would not be limited to the question of revising the first. If I understand the conversation Rev. Joyner had recently with Jim Key, fifteen congregations must all pass the same resolution concerning the bylaw amendment. The NPP I'm proposing is compatible with that requirement.[6] 

The risk of lost opportunities, the cost to animals

I'm urging the collaboratory to embrace this course adjustment because of the reactions I've observed to the proposed first principle revision. I've seen non-vegans (and we know the vast majority of UUs are still in this category) react negatively, in part I think because the proposal seems too extreme—because "every being" makes them think about tapeworms and dust mites, rather than the chickens on their plates or the cows on their feet. 

I know you've been doing your best to address this, with thoughtful writings about the meaning of being, and about the meaning of worth and dignity—but I'm afraid the current wording will remain a stumbling block for many. The proposed first principle revision reinforces their impression that those of us who are animal advocates are rather different from them. It adds to their perception that we're pushing an "extreme" agenda (possibly even an EC premise, which, as I discussed above, runs counter to common intuitions about the moral permissibility of giving human life preference over non-human life in cases of true conflict). 

If the only proposal you continue to put forward is this first principle revision, there is a real danger you will be contributing to this unfortunate notion that to be an animal advocate requires profoundly different beliefs than the ones most people hold. The impression some people have already taken away from their encounter with the first principle proposal is that there's a considerable distance between where they are and where FPP wants them to be, a chasm which may be so wide they cannot picture themselves crossing it.[7] But if you reframe this project now by also putting forward some possibilities which are more clearly compatible with the mere-considerability position (which, I want to reiterate, is the position held by myself, by prominent pro-animal ethicists, and by at least some members of this collaboratory too), you'll mitigate the risk of making such a counterproductive impression, going forward.

A more inclusive, more productive way forward

If this project has been conceived in order to foster personal and institutional transformations, to lift up our obligation to recognize the interests of non-human beings, and to expand our circle of compassion, then it seems to me a New Principle Project as I've described here offers a way forward that could, possibly, be more inclusive while not losing the original purpose of, or existing contributions to, the First Principle Project. 

[1] Schweitzer, Singer, Regan, and Francione all hold that under the "equal moral significance" premise, it's still possible (some of them would say required) to give preference to a human's life over a non-human's life, in lifeboat-dilemma scenarios.

[2] Argument from consistency is the same approach presented by Gary Francione and Anna Charlton in Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals

[3] Mark writes: "There is a fairly standard philosophical distinction that I think might be helpful here. Moral philosopher, Kenneth Goodpaster, back in 1978 made a helpful distinction between "moral considerability" and "moral significance." Moral considerability is the question of whether an entity should be taken into account morally *at all.* Moral significance is about *how much* that entity is to be taken into account, It seems to me that what we are asking here in terms of inherent worth and dignity is that we expand our notion of moral considerability to include all beings. If we humans could just take that first step it would be amazing and completely transformational! After we take that first step, then can worry about the harder issues of moral significance in light of the sorts of conflicting interest claims that inevitably occur in life. It may be that we legitimately consider some entities as having more moral significance than some others, but that should be predicated upon the recognition that all possess moral considerability at least. It seems to me that we sometimes get hung up in our discussions by wanting to rush ahead into the thorny issues of moral significance before we have even taken the first step of expanding our conception of moral considerability to all. To me, inherent worth and dignity means at the very least having moral considerability. I see no reason why moral considerability should be limited to just humans, and I don't believe that in our heart of hearts we really believe it is that limited."

[4] As Mark notes in his "Inherent Worth" blogpost, it's natural that many UUs will understand an implication of EC in the inherent worth and dignity of every being.  They hear "equal" because the First Principle as it exists now intends exactly that message of EC among humans.

[5] As justice activists, we need to ask ourselves: does it matter, the ways that different forms of oppression mirror and interact with one another? Many of us think so, and we've appreciated the perspective of pattrice jones, for example, who explains that eating meat is something we do to someone else's body without their consent, of  A. Breeze Harper, of Jasmin Singer, of others who are making connections in justice work, explaining why, for instance, dairy is not just an issue of animal exploitation—it's an environmental issue, an issue for feminists, an issue of race and ethnocentrism, too.

These activists say that people doing various kinds of anti-oppression work need to be allies, and inter-movement solidarity is important. Part of that work is unpacking our own privilege(s), be that white or straight or male or cisgender or economic or able-bodied or another form of privilege. Does being human in a multispecies world call for some unpacking, too? Without a doubt. 

[6] Congregations could decide which of the following they want to pass:

a) We the (insert congregation name) do hereby call on the General Assembly of the UUA to omit "every person" and replace with "every being" in Article II Principles and Purposes, Section c-2.1 Principles, Line 12, UUA bylaws.

b) We the (insert congregation name) do hereby call on the General Assembly of the UUA to omit "human" and replace with "all our" in Article II Principles and Purposes, Section c-2.1 Principles, Line 13, UUA bylaws.

c) We the (insert congregation name) do hereby call on the General Assembly of the UUA to append ", and for the interests of individual beings as well" in Article II Principles and Purposes, Section c-2.1 Principles, Line 21, UUA bylaws.

d) We the (insert congregation name) do hereby call on the General Assembly of the UUA to insert "• Respect for the sentient creatures, great and small, who dwell with us on Earth." in Article II Principles and Purposes, Section c-2.1 Principles, after Line 21, UUA bylaws.

Just as FPP supplied the precise wording for congregations to pass in support of the first principle revision, the expanded NPP would supply the precise wording for congregations to pass in support of the other possibilities (a second principle revision, a seventh principle augmentation, or a new eighth principle). And it's conceivable that more than one change could be passed by fifteen congregations. This process would offer congregations more pathways to participation in the conversation, and could stimulate more attention than the binary, yes-or-no question regarding the first principle.

[7] I have found no better description of the tragedy of this lost opportunity than the following passage, written by Michael Greger in 2005 (this is an excerpt from his reflection for Satya Magazine in which he questions the wisdom of making a big deal about honey avoidance):

It’s happened to me over and over. Someone will ask me why I’m vegan—it could be a new friend, co-worker, distant family, or a complete stranger. I know I then have but a tiny window of opportunity to indelibly convey their first impression of veganism. I’m either going to open that window for that person, breezing in fresh ideas and sunlight, or slam it shut as the blinds fall. So I talk to them of mercy. Of the cats and dogs with whom they’ve shared their lives. Of birds with a half piece of paper’s worth of space in which to live and die. Of animals sometimes literally suffering to death. I used to eat meat too, I tell them. Lots of meat. And I never knew either.

Slowly but surely the horror dawns on them. You start to see them struggling internally. How can they pet their dog with one hand and stab a piece of pig with the other? They love animals, but they eat animals. Then, just when their conscience seems to be winning out, they learn that we don’t eat honey. And you can see the conflict drain away with an almost visible sigh. They finally think they understand what this whole “vegan” thing is all about. You’re not vegan because you’re trying to be kind or compassionate—you’re just crazy! They smile. They point. You almost had me going for a second, they chuckle. Whew, that was a close one. They almost had to seriously think about the issues. They may have just been considering boycotting eggs, arguably the most concentrated form of animal cruelty, and then the thought hits them that you’re standing up for insect rights. Maybe they imagine us putting out little thimble-sized bowls of food for the cockroaches every night.