Trans-species psychology is rooted in
methods and enquiry that eschew causing distress or damage in the
process of knowledge-making. In contrast to the past scientific paradigm,
trans-species psychology does not support the gathering of "knowledge
for the sake of knowledge." Prioritizing research over the wellbeing
of animals has been one of the primary causes of animal suffering.
Chimpanzees, rats, mice, fish, and others are used routinely as experimental
subjects with little consideration for their rights as living beings.
Elephants, wolves, deer, lions, orcas, turkeys, and others are manipulated
and "managed" through conservation methods such as culls, translocations,
confinement, and artificial insemination with little regard for the
emotional, social, and psychological costs.
Trans-species science is based on the concept of Animal Participatory
Action Research (APAR). Participatory
Action Research (PAR) is guided
by the work of Paulo Freire and his concept of conscientization. Conscientization
seeks to give voice to those who have been silenced and not conventionally
included in decision and knowledge making. As objectified property,
animals are one group who has been silenced. This lack of inclusion
translates to ineffective and inaccurate understanding and definition
of issues and false solutions.
Inclusion in learning and knowledge-making process brings inclusion
in decision and cultural making. APAR ensures that equality of knowledge
value regardless of species. Inclusion implicitly involves the deconstruction
of perceptions, concepts, and behaviour that engenders exclusion and
therefore requires cultural change. Study becomes an agent of cultural
change. To include animals in the knowledge-making process expands
communication and investigative modalities beyond what is practiced
conventionally in science to be able to include animals as partners
in knowledge and decision-making. Integral to Kerulos research and
education is inter-species dialogue and beauty.
"Elke and Ralph", photo courtesy Elke Riesterer, CMT