TAWC is able to carry out its mission of
facilitating positive change in the welfare of animals
because all TAWC members have agreed to abide by
the following philosophy:
We are all here to make animals’ lives better than they are today. Despite our differences in views, we all come to TAWC around this single goal. We are here to improve the welfare of all the animals under our society’s care, including animals used in research and teaching; livestock and production animals; animals used for work, recreation, sport, entertainment, and display; pets and companion animals; and wild animals. We are able to work together, because we all care about animals and want the best for them.
Harry S Truman is credited with saying, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Everyone in TAWC is here for the animals, and we believe we can get better outcomes for animals if we work together. To make the most of our collaboration, each of us is an active participant in TAWC. We reach out to people. We start conversations. We propose joint projects. We believe that the best ideas arise and the swiftest progress is made when we work together.
One of the main reasons we come together is to listen to other people’s perspectives. At TAWC, we listen to those who care about animals and are willing to accept our simple philosophy. We find that by listening—really listening—we can let a variety of perspectives sink in and turn over in our minds. At the very least, they inform our own perspectives and, at best, they lead to brilliant ideas.
At TAWC, we aim to build trust in each other. And when trust falters, we try again. Humans are fallible, emotional creatures. We know that trust takes time, and it isn’t always easy. But at TAWC we believe in working together to improve animal welfare, so we need to be very mindful of trust. We strive to create forums in which people can share their views without fear of being judged or attacked. To make this possible, we choose to avoid being inflammatory, we make a special effort to acknowledge differences of opinion and not to judge, and we show our eagerness to work together to make progress despite any differences.
We are all unique in our knowledge, insight, and ideas. This is why, at TAWC, we consider everyone to be part of the solution. We are brave enough to throw our ideas onto the table, no matter how crazy they sound. We acknowledge that we each have a responsibility for contributing to the solution. TAWC needs all hands on deck for every problem we tackle.
We behave as if the world is watching and listening to everything TAWC does. We hope that what we do will be shared, critiqued, and even emulated. At the same time, we are always open to new ideas on how to do things better. We welcome constructive feedback, that is, feedback that proposes an answer to the problem identified. If there’s an idea that could lead to better animal welfare, we are open to hearing it.
With many potential differences of opinion across TAWC, it would be easy to stay stuck on an issue. But staying stuck doesn’t make animals’ lives better. To keep moving forward for the animals’ sake, we choose a positive course of action, even if it isn’t perfect. Once a course is chosen, we keep moving forward, adjusting our processes as needed along the way. This is the iterative nature of collaborative design; we are always improving.