Humanity in Animal Welfare

Uva: [00:00:00] [00:01:00] Dr. Candace Crony, welcome, welcome, welcome to Our Wellspring. Of course, I want to get started by just absolutely singing your praises for a few minutes, so if you will indulge me in that. I'll do that in just a second. But let me start by just checking in on you. There's a lot going on and at work, certainly, and in the world.

So before we have our conversation, how are you doing in this moment? How are you coming into our time together?

Dr. Candace Croney: Oh, Uva, thank you so much for, one, for having me, and two, for asking. I'm doing well. I'm doing well. It's oftentimes hard to be women, especially, , an African American women in academia. All that said, I think I'm doing just as well as possible. [00:02:00] And I love that I can be here to be a support for others too.

Uva: You have been such a source of support for so many in your field and I think well beyond. And it's part of what I think brings us together today. So certainly I want to delve into your work, but also your personhood and how you got here. Part of what we are exploring are origin stories, right? So how, who we are, where we come from, those early beginnings.

Probably seeded things. So that our careers could show up in the way or we could show up into our careers and roles in the ways that we do. So all of that is what we're hoping to delve into in over the next few minutes. But before that, as I shared earlier, I also want to just, you know grab a bouquet of roses, maybe, maybe a dozen or two and just lay them out at your feet.

So indulge me, just hold on for a sec as I talk a little bit about you and some of the things you have accomplished. From earning a PhD [00:03:00] in animal science from Penn State University to joining Purdue University to be, to being an Associate Director of Conservation Education at the, at the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.

You, of course, have done tremendous work in the field. You have also held a host of faculty appointments in animal behavior and bioethics. You are known for your cutting edge research. Most recently, you translated your collaborative research on canine welfare to create a unique voluntary national certification program, Canine Care Certified, which sets rigorous standards for the care and welfare of dogs and animal breeding.

Your work has been featured in national and international broadcast programs, including Animal Planet, National Geographic, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. And of course, there's more. Today, you serve as scientific advisor on animal welfare to numerous groups, including the American Humane Association.

Tyson Foods, Fairlife, and Bob Evans [00:04:00] Farms. Dr. Crony, of equal importance on our end, you're connected to SpringPoint Partners through our Life of Riley priority. Life of Riley, for those who are not as familiar, advances animal welfare by investing in diverse leadership and community driven solutions.

But one of the things that captured our attention about you Is your focus on seeing communities and engaging them, engaging your stakeholders in a thoughtful way that honors their history, their beliefs, their cultural norms while centering the work. It's, it's really your human centered approach to doing this work in this space, your kindness, your ability to both be a student and a learner.

That lifts your leadership is one that we believe others can be inspired by and learn from. And it's precisely the kind of conversation I am hoping we can have today because my dear, you have been doing the work. And yet, for those who may not be as familiar with you with your work with the [00:05:00] field.

What is at the core of your studies, your research and the work you do? And of course, we'd love to hear your current title, the work that you do at the university in this moment as well. So all of that if you could put a container around it and talk a little bit about yourself. I know humility is at the core of who you are and what you do, but, but tell us about you.

Dr. Candace Croney: Well, wow. I'm sort of humbled by just the introduction. And here's, here's the central sort of motivation for my work and kind of the principles I sort of operate by. All of my work focuses on animal welfare, right? I had been , even as a child, I was fascinated by animal behavior.

I was always fascinated by animals, what they did, why they did it, how we could communicate with them. And so like I think many others who are interested in animals, I was really animal focused, right? [00:06:00] And it's been sort of an evolution. through my career to come to the place where understanding that working with animals and particularly from the perspective of supporting and contributing to and ultimately, hopefully improving their welfare, that you can't focus only on the animals, right?

Because ultimately, everything that happens to them is dictated by people. And it's also important, and it's been an evolution coming to this, to this thought process that for me to do good work to support animal welfare, I've got to do good work to support the people who interact with the animals, the people who care about them, the people who count on those of us in scientific fields who have any kind of leadership or power of voice to make sure that we're being as respectful of the people as we are trying to be [00:07:00] about the animals and meeting their needs and doing what's right for them.

Right. And so that's, that's been the goal of the work and the approach that I've taken, especially recently in, in a lot of what we've been doing around that certification program that you mentioned, but also in the work that I do with agricultural animal welfare, it really comes back to

How do we really put ethics in action?

By making sure we're taking just as good care and consideration of the people who are involved as of the animals we're trying to help, right? And if we do that, then, then we'll do a much better job across the board. We'll have better outcomes.

Uva: That's that's helpful context around Your approach to the work. Although in our organization, certainly we have insight into the work because of because it is one of our priority areas. And yet we know that connecting the dots between animals and people can sometimes be [00:08:00] a heck of a leap for some, right?

Some people really have. There's almost a bit of a of a disconnect. Can you share how that Connection came to you. At what point in your career was that connection evident? Was that clear to you as a child? Was it later in your studies? How did that how did that point of connection come up for you?

Dr. Candace Croney: Great question. I'll, I'll admit I, I'm late to the game on this sort of thought process. I, when I, I definitely didn't have this thought process as a child. mad about animals, everything animal always have been fascinated. I grew up in, in, in Trinidad. I was born there, raised there until I was about 11 before my family moved to the United States.

So I was surrounded by animals. They were my babysitters. They were my favorite form of education and social interaction. You know, they were, they were my, [00:09:00] some of my earliest teachers, right? And so I had such great experiences with dogs, with lizards, with birds, with cats, with fish with tadpoles.

I, I was that child, right? So it was not about people for me at all. It was definitely about the animals. And then I will say that early in my academic career. You know, some of the questions that I was asked to think about, for instance, when I was doing my PhD research, which was on cognition in pigs, right?

With an eye towards understanding how, what they're able to do mentally. Impacts potentially the experiences they have at the hands of people who may be, you know, raising them, working with them for a number of different purposes, but in that instance it for food. And what, what did it mean if we understood more about their mental capacities and if they could [00:10:00] show us things that we didn't know?

were abilities they had that we hadn't previously known. What would we do with that information? Right? And so mine is the research where we taught pigs how to use computers.

Uva: mm-Hmm.

Dr. Candace Croney: at that point in time, it was really a comparative cognition study where we're sort of trying to use methodology that had been developed for non human primates and see.

if animals like pigs could actually do similar tasks and then figure out what that might mean. Because that certainly would have implications for their welfare under different circumstances, right? And so I think that was my earliest inclination when I looked at how invested people were in the research.

And when I looked at how Concerned, actually, some people were about what we might find and what it might mean. And I was never really certain why people would be concerned about learning more and understanding more about animals, what they could do and what it [00:11:00] potentially implied for how we interact with them.

That was my first inkling. That if you are not careful about thinking about the perspectives of other people and how they're impacted by what you're doing and what you might uncover, they either could get in the way of your work, be less supportive of your work, but also if you took a step back from how it impacted the work itself and thought about how it really impacted those people, then it became important to think about somebody else's perspective.

Right. And to center that perspective a little bit and try to be more empathetic, if you will, about What is worrisome to people? And so that I think was my first inkling. But some of us have to learn lessons the hard way over and over again. So I, I began my early career as a, as a faculty member still with this very, Animal first, primary animal centered [00:12:00] approach.

I am absolutely that person, I cringe now when I think about it, who would say things like, I like animals more than people, I, there's certain movies I remember as a child, I have no idea how Bambi ends, because I could not get past the forest fire. I can't watch movies that have animals in them unless I have something that lets me know what happened at the end to make sure that the animals were okay.

So that, that's the place I, I have been and have been for the longest time.

Uva: Mm-Hmm.

Dr. Candace Croney: Interesting shift came when I began to do more work, especially when I was a faculty member at the Ohio State University. And there was legislation that was being proposed for agricultural animals. And many, many people were so interested in that work from very different perspectives.

Many disagreements occurred on the topic. There were different [00:13:00] stakeholders. Their interests were different. Their perspectives were different. And I could see clearly how much people were not listening to each other. And everybody thought they were right and they had the answer on animal welfare.

Uva: Mm-Hmm.

Dr. Candace Croney: And people were actually doing a little bit of damage to each other in the things they were saying to each other, right? And it, it was, it was painful to listen to that. Because number one, throwing rhetorical darts at each other doesn't help an animal anywhere. Never does. Stymieing the problem solving.

But I could see at the end of the day, there was a lot

Uva: Mm-Hmm.

Dr. Candace Croney: of emotion, there was a lot of investment in the answer to the question, but there was not a lot of perspective taping.

And I realized that if I could help bridge some of that, I could, I could help us get to a better place and to a different solution, or at least put more tools on the table for people to come around [00:14:00] to really getting it.

What under the circumstances was the best that we could do for animal welfare while respecting

that there's so many other people who are going to be impacted and impacted differently. And they all matter and they all need to be heard and they all needed to be respected. And then there was one other thing that happened to me and it was a massive shift for me.

And it was when I, I was asked to teach at a veterinary school in the Caribbean for, you know about a month in the summertime. So like, you know, dream gig.

Uva: Really a sacrifice. Huge sacrifice, right?

Dr. Candace Croney: It was hard. I took one for the team and I, I went and I I taught and at this beautiful university and in a wonderful environment where there are beautiful beaches all around me that I could take advantage of after class every day. And, and so I pushed through that experience. And one of [00:15:00] the things that, Oh, it was so eye opening.

That particular college had students from all around the world attending, right? It's veterinary college. And the students were there to, to get their medical training. They were in an environment where demographically they looked and sounded and were very different from the local population. And I watched students do things like chase after what looked to them like stray dogs in the neighborhoods and on beaches, tripping over people of color who were all around them, some of whom it appeared they did not even see.

And then, in part because of, you know, people, I think, recognizing that just racially, the differences between me [00:16:00] and many of the students who were there and then some people heard that I was originally from Trinidad, they started to tell me things, and they started to point out how invisible they clearly were to these students, Who are they are focused on the animals , and making, you know, lots of statements, lots of judgments with no interest in the community itself, or why people would keep their animals the way they did, why they didn't, you know, have the same sorts of knowledge and values that these students appear to have.

And it was really hurtful to me. Because I realized that, but for the fact that I was in that privileged position that I was of being where I am and we joked about it, but I mean, having the opportunity to go teach in the Caribbean as part of a summer gig at a veterinary college is actually a huge privilege.

Not a lot of people get to do that, right? It was a wonderful experience for me. But the people who live there were having a different experience. And so many Of the students. And even I would say [00:17:00] some of the other faculty did not seem to be cognizant of that. And so while they were focused on the animals, just like I was, they were not even seeing the people who ultimately their efforts should have been helping as well.

Right? And it was at that point, I took a step back and went, Oh, wow. I need to do something different here. I still need to focus on the animals, but I have to look at the people and to the degree possible, connect with them, understand them. Really listen and try to learn from them and think about how, if I got where they were coming from and what they were about and how their experiences and culture and values impacted what they are willing to do for animals or what they think they owe to animals, I've got a better shot of

maybe connecting with them in a way that resonates and is internalized for them that allows them to tap into their real values, [00:18:00] relative to animals and do even better work there.

Uva: hmm.

Dr. Candace Croney: That was for me, transformative.

Uva: I am picking up on some of the words that you have used to describe those experience those pivotal experiences for you words like emotion and values and the suspension

of judgment. You're in your desire to kind of stand in the

gap between people who care deeply about animals, but who in that

space rendered other human beings invisible, right?

It's not lost on me that while you decided to stand in that gap and create a bridge between those, those disconnects, you're still a human being, Dr. Crony, right? You are still a human being Dr. Crony. And I imagine that some of this had to affect you in a very, on a very personal level, nonetheless, right?

Can you talk a little bit about how you were able to do this work of translating between these [00:19:00] seemingly disparate communities to be the translator and at the same time, what that meant for you As a woman of color, a black woman who shared some identity identity layers with those same people who were being rendered invisible.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, Dr. Crony, you're standing in the middle of biases um, racial challenges and you're still trying to maintain your focus on the work, your commitment to the work, and I can't imagine that it didn't affect you on a personal level. So I'm wondering if you could just speak to how you were able to remain whole, to maintain your own sense of sanity and continue to move the work forward.

Dr. Candace Croney: Yeah. So I got, I'll, I'll be honest. It was hard. It was hard at times. Right. You know, I, I don't just work in the sphere of science. I do quite a bit of work on. ethics, applied ethics, especially moral deliberation. And that work [00:20:00] forces you to think about if you're going to do the right thing, you have to think about everyone and as much as possible, everything that's impacted, right?

And you also have to look at your own biases and you have to perspective take and think about What is it that people are trying to accomplish and what matters to the different stakeholders that are embedded? Right? And I'm one of them, right? And so one of the things that I would, I would always teach and try to get my, my students to understand, and it's, it's what I think helps me in this space.

Because at this point in time, I'd been doing this work for at least, oh, 10 years or so, right? Probably a little bit more. And I always tell this to my students because they oftentimes want to know what my perspectives are on issues. And I often will not tell them. And I don't teach so that people believe the things that I believe and think the thoughts that I think.

I actually don't believe in that at all. I want people to [00:21:00] develop their own thought process. I will give them tools. I will give them concepts. I will give them principles. But I am not at all invested in people thinking what I think. Because the truth of the matter is, I could be wrong. Right? I also know there are also many ways of knowing, and there's a lot out there that I don't know about.

So I try not to do that because it's too easy for people to then just pare it back to me, what they think I want to hear, right? And when you sit in that space of owning your stuff and knowing what your perspective is, but not putting that out there and centering it, it opens you up to hear other people better, right?

And to really be thoughtful about what they're telling you and more importantly, why they're telling it to you. And also what's not being said. And so that was one of the things that I think has been a big shift for me. Being able to do that has really helped me to serve others much more effectively.

But [00:22:00] at the same time, because people can get really comfortable sharing because they know I'm sharing from a place that is not judgmental, that is really centering them and their experience. Because when it comes to animal welfare, so many people. Just like on other really important issues, they just want to be heard.

They want to know that somebody hears them and importantly cares what they have to say, right? And my experience in coming through my discipline is oftentimes I was invisible, right? And so when I hear someone, however they articulated, say, any version of I'm not being heard or I'm not being respected, that resonates for me.

It's because I've had that exact experience multiple times that I make it a point to help people see when they're doing that to each other, because again, The animals are critically important, but but if you can't respect [00:23:00] the people who care about them, who are the ones who are especially ones who are going to be directly interacting with them, you will never get the result for those animals that you're after. It is that plain and simple.

And you can't make people invisible. You just, you cannot do that.

Uva: We work with so many leaders in at Spring Point Partners across issue areas well beyond animal welfare. We see it in Delta, we see it in the Hive we see it in Ember and social justice. This, this concept of invisibility, right? And I am curious about how you, you mentioned that you were, you know, part of, part of what, maybe it's your superpower, right?

It's the fact that you can see when others are being rendered invisible because you've had a similar experience in your career. Can you share a little bit more about what that has been like, what that's looked like for you?

Dr. Candace Croney: Yeah. Well, I do have a superpower. A lot of people [00:24:00] like me have that same superpower. It's the ability to be both hyper visible and invisible, sometimes simultaneously, right? So I, I can remember. And I want to be careful, right? Because I, I never want to send the message to people that the story I'm telling is feel bad for me, feel sorry for you.

No, that's not it. I'm just going to point it out because it is what it is and what people do with it how they do with it, right? But I can remember as a student showing up in classes and I couldn't be seen in the classroom. I, I just, I wouldn't be called on if there were opportunities. I, you know, to, to do things that were really cool and interesting.

I was not necessarily the person that was going to be picked. No one looked at me and thought, Oh, this is the person who's going to be a scholar. And so we should cultivate her scholarship. No. In fact, I, I [00:25:00] had the unpleasant experience along with other black women in my class of being visible only when I was occasionally late and I was hyper visible or during exams when there was the presumption that you know, I was going to be cheating. Right. And so I learned very early in my academic career that the only way I could be seen was to show up and be excellent all day, every day, in all ways, and also manage myself down so I wasn't threatening to anybody.

Right. And, and for much of my career, especially because there are not many people in my demographic, in my field, that became, you know, pretty much the, the sort of survival strategy, right? Do really good work, but make sure you're not threatening to other people, because we'll see you and we'll acknowledge [00:26:00] you, but only if you present in ways that are comfortable and not challenging or overly challenging, right? So there are times where I would want to speak up. And I would speak up, and I come from a place, people who know me there are folks who call me Candid Candace, and it irritates

Uva: hee hee hee hee

Dr. Candace Croney: gonna let that lay where it is,

Uva: Mm hmm.

Dr. Candace Croney: Because I am a truth teller. It is, it is my it is my thing. You cannot, you cannot do good work and not be honest. You can't do work in ethics and not be willing to be really honest with yourself and with other people. And that's just not how I want to be in the world. stepping on like something truthful or not, right? I think we gotta, we gotta be able to trust each other. You can't do that if you don't know that people are coming from a place of integrity. So I, I try to embody that. The thing though, that I realized is there are going to be some people who are just uncomfortable with my being in [00:27:00] the room. And who just don't see me, or whose lived experience and background doesn't say, Oh, that's the person who's the leader on animal welfare. So there are many times in my academic career where I was working really hard, I was doing really hard work, I was producing really good results, and no one sort of could see what I was doing or what it took to get there.

But something needed to be done, like service of some sort. I'm on everybody's list. When it came to having work acknowledged and recognized, I didn't exist again, and it was, it was fascinating to me, right? And it was painful. I, I will tell you, there was a lot of frustration. I, I was angry about a lot of those experiences.

There are times I would be in the room and I would be clearly the most knowledgeable person on a topic and watch literally everybody else be given a platform and have their [00:28:00] ideas and their thoughts elevated and amplified. And I couldn't get on the carpet. Right. And as bad as that was, it was a really great learning experience because it taught me not to do that to other people.

Uva: I'm just reflecting on your words and thinking about a through line between that sense of both hypervisibility and invisibility. And your work with the within and with the Amish community. Part of part of what brings us together is also some of the great work you have done With that particular group of stakeholders in, I think, creating some connection.

A deep seated engagement that provides both voice and visibility to a community that is often demonized, and I'm wondering if you can share a little bit about your perspective on that work, that community what you want the world to know as you [00:29:00] continue to do the work of bridging across these divisions.


Dr. Candace Croney: Yeah, this is, this is so important and it's, it's some of the work that I find most important within the work of animal welfare because values and ethics and living up to them are

really important to me. Being empathetic to other people is really important to me. And I will tell you, when I came into first doing this work with commercial dog breeding, right?

Often known to, you know, the world as the world of puppy mills.

Uva: hmm.

Dr. Candace Croney: I have the same information and the same perspectives that everybody has, that Dr. Google is always happy to share.

Uva: An overshare.

Dr. Candace Croney: and overshare, yes. And has no [00:30:00] referee on The quality of information, but nevertheless, I mean, I knew what other people knew.

I knew only what I knew. And so when I first engaged with the Amish community members that I was asked to meet with about the welfare of dogs and their kennels, I, I tell the story and I'm not proud of it. I'm actually very ashamed of myself, which is why I tell the story. I had been at that point teaching ethics, working in animal welfare for Oh, probably 14 years.

And when I was asked to meet with these folks and to visit their kennels and visit with them about animal welfare, I really didn't want to go right. And I didn't want to go because I knew what I knew. And I believed what I knew and I forgot who I was and what I do for a living. Right. And, and I went to that meeting literally [00:31:00] because I felt an obligation to go, not because I was going in the spirit of, Oh, I'm going to serve and do my best work.

Right. I was just going to go, put in my time, check my box and move on. And in the course of the conversation with these people who are very different for me, Their culture, their religion, their backgrounds are very, very different from mine. Their communities are very different. And not knowing any of what those differences were or how they could matter.

I went in with the concept of Amish puppy mill, Amish puppy millers. I'm going to do my due diligence and get out the door. And I sat and I had a conversation where people started to ask me questions and the questions were interesting. So that's what got me a little bit engaged. And then I was completely and profoundly ashamed of myself when I realized that the questions they were asking of me, they were [00:32:00] asking because they had never heard that information before.

Right. And so while I, and this, this is my bias and I'm going to own it because I think people need to see that it's okay to be wrong. It's okay to have a bias. It's not okay to sit with it, get comfortable with it, not do anything with it. Right. So I brought my bias to the table, not even fully recognizing that's what I was doing.

And I had made judgments that these folks were doing the wrong thing by dogs because they didn't care about dogs. And they were just all about profit, because again, that's what Google told me, and nobody said different. And then I realized in that meeting, they were doing what they were doing because they didn't fundamentally understand what the concerns were, and they had never engaged with an academic of any kind on the topic.

And no one had ever bothered to explain to them the details of what the concerns were, why people had those concerns, or even better yet, how they [00:33:00] could meet the expectations that folks had. that really led to the demonizing of them and their communities and the painting of all of these individual people with the broadest brush.

And when I realized I was doing that as a person of color who's had that experience, I was ashamed of myself. So then I had to work with them, right? Because I had to make that right.

So that's that's how that work unfolded. And it has been disturbing to me. How many people who care deeply about social issues and social justice casually throw around bigotry about this community, paint them with the broadest possible brush, make no effort to learn anything about them, make no effort to engage them in any meaningful way, or to even see them as people, [00:34:00] right?

And yet, stand on a soapbox of animal welfare as though caring about animals gives you permission to dehumanize other people.

There is nothing right about that. So, knowing that, part of the work I do, and part of the reason we've had the success we've had with my program, is because the approach I take is to work not on these communities, but to work with the communities. It is not to treat them like they are the problem, but to treat them like partners in the problem solving.

And they have taught me so much. And to watch them just open up and embrace a relationship that could have been very top down, but is really very meet you where [00:35:00] you're at, we are all in this thing together, and have people go. I appreciate that. So everything you asked me to do, even if it's hard, my answer is I'll try.

is transformative for me. I've never seen culture change happen and have the privilege of being part of it. And in this work, I get to do that. And it's the best thing ever. And the beautiful part about it is having had people really

change. Not so much their knowledge about dogs, though, of course that happens, but their hearts and their minds about what it means to do right by animals and how important that is for doing right by the people who love those animals will take them into their homes.

That's the best work I've ever done, and it's such a privilege to do it. And I've learned much for the people who took the risk of Opening up their communities, their homes, their lives to me so that I could learn from them as much as they could learn. [00:36:00]

Uva: It strikes me that

and I appreciate your candor around this. And now I appreciate why it's

it's Candace, right? We'll leave that behind us, but I appreciate the why of it even more now. But you talked about

being ashamed at some point and recognizing how you were bringing your own biases to

the table.

And I think so many of us, no matter what the What the bias might be, we get stuck, we get stuck in the shame, we get stuck in not having the right language, not knowing what to do, how to move the work forward, right? And so it's easier to retreat than to actually do exactly what you did, which is to name the thing, stand in the thing, right, and work through it, and commit to the work nonetheless.

For those who are Grappling with those, those same emotions, those, those feelings of shame and, and concern and you know, they're perplexed all of the, many of the feelings you were having as well. What is your guidance? What is your advice as they're trying to move good work forward in this field and, and, and even [00:37:00] beyond?

Dr. Candace Croney: Here's what, here's what I've learned the hard way. At a certain point you have to realize everything's not all about you. I mean, don't get me wrong. Every person is important. Every person matters. But when, when we're working together, when we are forced to work together, you can't make everything just about you and your experience.

Other people matter too, right? And it's Feelings are just feelings. They don't have to control everything we do. In fact, they shouldn't control anything we do. It's okay to sit and feel, like I told you, profound shame. The important thing is to name the feeling, even if you're just doing it for yourself, and then to think about What does that mean?[00:38:00]

So, I felt ashamed. Big deal. I could have turned a corner and said, Well, I'm not going to engage. Right? But, now here is where it's important to come back to your own experience and center your own experience. What good would that have done? And if I say that I'm trying to do this work because I want to do what's right and what's good, especially for animals, even if I didn't care about the people, what good would that have done for me to wallow in that feeling, indulge myself, and walk away?

Nothing would have changed. You know, or at least nothing would have changed that I could have contributed to, right? Because I'm not that important. Somebody would have found a way to do some of this. They would have just done it differently. So I think that's part of it. It's The first thing is to go back to who you are and who you want to be and what you're really about.

Right? If what you're really about is making yourself comfortable, well then I guess you stay stuck in your feelings. Right? But if what you're really [00:39:00] about is being in tune with what you're doing and the effect you have on others and the effect others have on you You take that information and you try to channel it to doing more of what's right than more of what's not so defensible.

And for me, the only option was, I did a bad thing. I have to make it right. I can contribute. I just have to now go back to my bias is not as well controlled as I think it is. So I've got to really pay attention to that. And when that little voice says, yeah, I don't like what they're saying, or I don't like what they're doing.

I can just almost compartmentalize, step back, look at what that means, and then think about what do I do with that information, right? And then what am I bringing to the table that I am not owning in terms of my own baggage, my own stuff, my own need to control the [00:40:00] situation cause I have a lot of that to what is a better way to engage so that, Those people feel like they are as important in the conversation that they are as seen, they are as heard, they are as cared about as I am about myself, my perspectives, and those who, you know, I'm more interact with on a day to day basis that I might be even more comfortable with.

Right? And so that, that's the advice I would give to other people is go back and think about

your feelings are valid. You feel how you feel for a reason. But what are you using those feelings to do, to remind you of who you are and how you want to be in the world? Because if so, those feelings should motivate you to act accordingly.

For me, when I felt really bad about what I was doing, it was more important that I think about how I got to that place so that I didn't do it again. [00:41:00] Right. And I hope other people can think about that because I watch so many people who are completely passionate about animal welfare and who are making the case for what they want to do that they think is the right thing to do destroy people in the process.

And I guess, again, going back to what, what does doing good in the world look like for you? How is harming a person? Even psychologically, in ways that you probably don't understand or account for, how is doing that getting you to the goal of helping an animal anywhere? Right? So, for me, again, the reminder for other people is, your feelings are your feelings.

They're valid.

But more important than your feelings is really what you do as a result of how you feel. And we can take ownership of our [00:42:00] actions. As much as we can take ownership of our feelings, because we can just live with our feelings. They're transient. They'll pass. But what we do and how we make other people potentially feel, that has lasting effects.

Uva: I think that's a wonderful way to, segue into our finish line of our time together, though. I could spend days on end with you, Dr Crony. As we transition, I just have a couple of questions. The first of which is what does the finish line in this work look

like for you? What's your greatest aspiration, your highest aspiration for this work you do for animals and for the people you serve?

Dr. Candace Croney: Ow. This is a tough question. What is the finish line? I, I don't know that there's a finish line. I think as long as there are animals and people, as [00:43:00] long as we're interacting, we're going to have questions about what's the right way to treat animals, right? And so for me, I guess, to the degree I can say there is a finish line, I'll feel like I've done really good work and I can sit back and be happy with it and Watch other people pick it up and, and, and run with it.

If more people, one, don't even remember how we got to a place where they were doing such great things for animals and animal welfare, because it's so normed now that people can't remember the origin story, right? That, that part would be great. But I think even better than that. is creating this culture where as we challenge ourselves to do our best work for animals, we're also [00:44:00] intentionally building in how we take care of people along the way, including all those people who might be invisible otherwise, whose experiences, whose efforts

are so vitally important to getting us to the goal of working and living together more harmoniously with the animals, where we protect them.

But we also protect each other. And I'll think my life's work is done when more people who are pushing for animal welfare are simultaneously asking the question, how are we doing right by the people in the process? Because if we can do both, we'll do amazing


Uva: There's that bridge. There's that bridge. What are you reading for those who might be interested in learning more about the field or just in general? What are you reading? What are you listening to? Who is setting your heart on fire, your brain on

fire in this moment? Or maybe you're writing the very

thing that you And others to get excited about?

Dr. Candace Croney: Oh my gosh yeah, my, I [00:45:00] don't get a lot of time these days to read for fun.

Uva: Mm hmm.

Dr. Candace Croney: you know, from a professional standpoint, I've gone back, there's this lovely book Some we eat, some we love, some we hate. It's a Hal Herzog's book. And it really talks about our relationships with the animals, how we characterize them and so on.

And it's a, it's a small paperback book and I just find it to be so well done. And just so thought provoking when it comes to the issue of animal welfare. I read that one a lot. On a, on a completely different level. For fun. I've been re reading The Handmaid's Tale.

Uva: Rereading.

Dr. Candace Croney: Re reading. And wow, that, that book is disturbing for a number of reasons.

And, you know. eerily just on point in terms of so many social issues that we're talking about today and debating [00:46:00] today. And so in between, you know, when I, when I get a chance to go back and look at the disciplinary work, but I need a little bit of a, a break from it. And I go back and I read that. I think about how do you get to places in society where we're so at odds with each other, where we're so focused on ideology that we can do things to one another that are terrible.

And so, interestingly, then, both sets of, like, the work or the things I'm reading kind of come together, right?

And that's completely accidental. What am I listening to? I have no time to listen to podcasts

anymore. I've been working too much and I, I haven't had a good opportunity to to listen to some of the things that I would like to.

So I, I, I love great

suggestions from other people because I'll tell you what in my off time, I'm also relearning French. Right? So Duolingo is not my friend.

Uva: I have a feeling, hopefully this podcast, this episode [00:47:00] specifically will be one that others will listen to and learn from you along the way. I'll do a really quick lightning rod set of questions for you to respond to in a way that makes sense. It could be a word, a whole sentence, however you choose to,

to end them. Animal welfare is.

Dr. Candace Croney: How animals are doing in the conditions in which

they're finding themselves. How well they're coping. How

Uva: I hope we all pay attention to,

Dr. Candace Croney: we are in a world full of strife. Contributing harmony and support and positivity every chance we get.

Uva: I am learning that, [00:48:00]

Dr. Candace Croney: It's okay to make mistakes. It's how you recover that matters.

Uva: and two more, I am grateful for,

Dr. Candace Croney: All of the wonderful people who have been so patient and such great teachers and mentors for me, especially the ones I

forgot to thank along the way,

Uva: and finally, Dr. Crony, I am optimistic about,

Dr. Candace Croney: people, and what we have the capacity to do, despite the fact that we're making big mistakes every day, but some of us are learning and some of us are being good students and more compassionate students.

Uva: Thank you. so much for your time, your wisdom, your words, and especially your work, Dr. Crony, [00:49:00] thank you.

Dr. Candace Croney: Thank you. Aw, thank you, Uwe. Ah, you made me tear up.

Humanity in Animal Welfare
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