Animals & Society—SYP 4675
This is worth 300 pts or 30% of your final grade
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP ASSIGNMENT: This essay, the final essay for the course, requires you to propose a solution(s) to a specific non-human/human altercation (where human needs or wants are endangering animals). This requires you to a) self-reflect on how you would handle the problem if you lived in the community, b) analyze and understand the viewpoints of the parties or stakeholders—both those who contribute to the endangerment and those who could help minimize the risks, and c) use the above value assessments to present a possible resolution to the risks to the animals involved. You are seeking unlimited funding from a generous donor to work on this human-animal problem.
PROMPT: You have been hired by a wealthy animal/environment lover to help save/better serve the animals in one of the prompts below. Your mission is to enlist key stakeholders in this mission, especially those who may be part of the “problem.” Select one of the following scenarios with which to work.
- Whales: Climate change has put whales and cargo ships in the same paths or shipping channels. This results in tens of thousands of whale deaths a year, in areas around the globe (e.g., Patagonia and off the coast of California). Whales play a significant role in maintaining the ocean ecosystem and there are nonprofits working on the issue but have had little success.
- Feral & Stray Cats: Estimates put the feral cat population in the US between 50,000 and 100,000. There are a number of stands on how to address this issue but know that a female cat can have 2-3 litters per year with approximately 5 kittens per litter. Males can contribute to roughly 7 litters each year. The existence of feral cats can lead to widespread disease and interfere with wildlife ecosystems. There have been multiple proposals on how to lessen the “problems” that result from these cat populations, but none have been terribly successful.
INSTRUCTIONS & FORMAT:
- First, you should do some research on the topic so you better understand the larger context/impact of the issue. Be sure you include these resource in your bibliography.
- Second, you should explain where you stand in relation to the situation. If it were you and you alone, what might you do? And why? What values drive your decision?
- Third, consider the perspective of others (people, organizations or institutions) who could be impacted by this issue. These are your stakeholders. What might their values be? What is important to them? Then, propose a solution that would benefit the animals (and human-animal relationships) . Ask yourself two fundamental questions: 1) how do you explain to them the importance of humans living a balanced life with animals (in relation to the prompt you chose), and 2) how specifically might they do so and be a part of the solution?
- Begin your essay with an introductory paragraph in which you make an argument about the significance of non-human animals in our lives (related to the prompt you chose), and how you will present this idea to a community with values that may differ very much from your own.
- In the body of your essay, you should systematically reflect on and analyze the scenario, including your understanding of the stakeholders and what is important to them. These “details” are what will help you create a strategy.
- In your conclusion, reflect on and analyze how the change(s) you propose can make a difference. Also discuss what you see as potential barriers to the success of your program.
- Your essay should be approximately 2000-2500 words (not including citations & bibliography).
- Writing: I expect your essay to be well written and clean of typos and grammatical errors. You are free to, even expected to, use first person. Always be specific and not general. Never use “etc.,” “and so on,” or abbreviations.
- References: You may draw from class readings, discussions and documentaries. You are not required to use outside sources. ALL material used should be cited properly in-text and in a bibliography using ASA or APA style. Refer to Purdue OWL (owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) for guidance.
- Use of Quotes: Avoid using lengthy quotes or quoting extensively, since doing so limits your space to claim your own argument. Strive to use a brief quote, correctly cited, only when it is something that strengthens your claim.
- Grading Criteria: I will evaluate and grade your essay by asking the following questions—
- Have you cleanly and persuasively introduced your essay with a statement about the significance of non-human animal and human coexistence?
- Have you systematically explored and analyzed the problem and provided reasonable (context specific) arguments; and solutions (context specific) within this perspective?
- Have you discussed anticipated difficulties you would have presenting these ideas to the people/organizations/institutions in the scenario, and the best ways to make the solution palatable to them?
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