This is the second in a new series of blog posts highlighting some of the dedicated, inspiring people who support the NhRP’s mission and work. Inci Demirkanli is a senior scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Lab and a longtime monthly donor to the NhRP who believes in challenging the norms of how we view and treat nonhuman animals:
Why I value a rights-based approach
I cannot exactly remember how we first heard about the Nonhuman Rights Project. However, I think it was somewhat related to a book that my husband and I read, Bonobo Handshake, and a later talk that we attended by [Lola ya bonobo founder] Claudine Andre (who was mentioned in that book) in Washington, D.C. The book depicts the alarming and sad state of bonobos in the Congo and talks about Claudine’s efforts to set up a sanctuary for these endangered animals.
I have always felt an ache in my heart for animals who suffered cruelty directly or indirectly because of human actions, and felt powerless to do anything substantial about the situation. This book and Claudine’s story were very inspirational. My husband and I had many conversations about how we could best create a larger impact on preventing animal abuse, and one solution was to change the legal status of animals through a nonprofit that supports scientific research proving their cognitive and emotional capabilities. When we heard about the Nonhuman Rights Project, we immediately realized the value of the approach and also completely agreed on the goals of the effort.
What I do for work and for fun
I am a senior scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Lab focusing on groundwater related research and work on technologies such as injecting carbon dioxide into the subsurface to reduce emissions. My husband and I both like outdoor activities, spending time with our companion animals, and also playing soccer. We also like to travel as well.
Why all species matter to me
I would say all [species matter to me], and even hissing cockroaches! Just because our senses do not register the nuances of various species doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, or that they suffer less than the others. Furthermore, I am a strong believer that all living organisms have a role to play in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Earth processes and systems are very complex, and our understanding is still in its infancy.
Why I chose to become a monthly donor to the NhRP
I strongly support the approach that this project is taking and believe in its goals. I also think that there is still an additional need for scientific support and also an outreach effort for educating younger generations, having them challenge all the norms related to animals that we accept without questioning, asking questions such as whether animal captivity is acceptable if it is simply for our entertainment.
How and why I got involved in animal rights work
I just wanted to be a part of the solution.
One thing others might be surprised to learn about me
Not sure about surprising, but an interesting story about myself is that I raised a baby squirrel that I found and returned him to his natural habitat once he was able to care for himself. It was a tremendously rewarding process to see him grow from the days that I had to carry him in my backpack to my office until he was climbing trees and jumping from branch to branch. He continued to visit me in my backyard for some time until we eventually moved.
Thank you, Inci! We appreciate your compassion for all species and your understanding of the need to address core problems in order to truly protect nonhuman animals (and the planet we share with them).