A DRAFT proposed definition of humane.
In parts 1 and 2 I discussed why we need to update and reclaim the word humane. I’m offering a DRAFT updated definition below. It is unfinished, uses too many words, and needs revision. But it does begin to remove the self-serving, anthropocentric misuse of the word humane that causes, ironically, so much suffering. I will continue to work on this and consult people with skills that exceed mine. After presenting the meaning of humane in a modified format at a July, 2014 conference, I will re-post the results of that collaborative work here. For the moment:
humane – an adjective that describes human behavior and the relationships we establish with people and individuals from other species that reflect empathy, compassion, kindness, mercy, protection, and love for their direct benefit absent exploitation, harmful treatment, and lethal outcomes, and is to be practiced independently of any benefit the person being humane may or may not receive. It is not humane to endorse any practice or act that harms or kills a person or other sentient being or to cause or let remain any aspect of suffering in order to further exploitation or make the harm more commercially successful. Importantly, “animal welfare” is not humane. It is the expression of the “Golden Rule”.
Being humane – requires the humane person to oppose any strategy, policy, or act in businesses, organizations, and in one’s personal life if involved with persons being inhumane, contributing to the harm, enabling harms to remain, or causing the death of sentient life from another species, wild or domestic. This includes animal agriculture, fish and wildlife management (hunting, trapping, fishing), captivity, entertainment, experimentation, animal welfare and rights organizations, environmental organizations, and other human institutions that exploit individuals from other species or destroy their ecosystems. We extend our humane treatment to other species, whether captive, domesticated, or wild as we would for ourselves. If under our protection as domestic species, we support their living a natural, full lifespan that is fulfilling to them. If in the wild, our task is to protect and restore their ecosystems, end our war on wildlife, and practice a sustainable and humane vegan new human ecology.
An unexploited right to life free of human violations is one of the “rights” we share with individuals from other species. That is what it means to be humane.