“People—The Curse” Is the Theme of Animal Kingdom’s 2015 Annual Convention

“People—The Curse: Hell on Earth for Nonhuman Species” will be the focus of the Animal Kingdom’s 2015 Annual Convention, to be held September 14 and 15 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More than 6,000 animals, wild and domesticated, are registered for the event, which draws a roughly equal number of fish, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians from around the world, including a small number of invertebrates.

Organizers had hoped to boost the attendance of invertebrates — clams, worms, gnats, termites, algae, sponges, protozoa — by offering them raised front-row seating at the convention’s speeches, workshops and symposia. Many invertebrates launched a boycott of the event following the 2008 convention, complaining they had routinely been seated behind much bigger animals at large-group sessions and thus could not see or participate.

Day 1 Programming

8:30–9:30 AM
Keynote Speech: We Are All Endangered: People as Predators, Nature as Prey
Speaker: Frank Eagle, PhD, (author of “Human Being or Human Nonbeing: Which is it?”)

10:45–11:45 AM
Plenary Session: Coping with Habitat Loss: Large Quadrupeds Living on a Square Foot of Land in an Era of McMansions
Speaker: Janice Elle-Phanta, PhD, (author of the monograph “Nature in a Woodchipper: Ecology as Blather in the Human Imagination”)

12:00–2:10 PM
Lunch Options
Salads and Grasses: West Lawn
Mixed Carrion Plate: Darwin Hall
Organic Particles and Plankton: Lobby Aquarium
Live Prey (1 to 2 kills allowed, depending on weight): South Lawn
Insect Buffet (featuring crickets with brown juice gravy): East Banquet Room

2:15–5:00 PM
Recreational Options
Running Wild in Downtown Minneapolis (Please wear I.D. bracelet)
Swimming (Buses depart at 2:30 for area lakes)

Day 2 Programming

9:15–10:45 AM
Workshop: Preparing for Extinction: Saying Goodbye to an Entire Species
Chair: Rosalyn Leech, PhD, (author of the paper “When Bad People Do Bad Things: Where are the Good People and When Will They Do Good Things?”)

11:00–11:50 AM
Symposium: Escaping Factory Farms: A Spiritual Approach (Praying for the Emergence of Morality in People)
Chair: David Chickenson, PhD (editor of the anthology “I Know Why the Caged Hen Clucks: Essays in the Psychology of Confinement and Christianity” and co-author of the article “Conveyor Belt to Where?”)

12:00–2:10 PM
Lunch Options
Box Lunch for carnivores
Box Lunch for herbivores
(No special requests please)

2:20–4:15 PM
Small-Group Discussions: On Being a Pet
1) Beyond Kibble (Sponsored by Purina)
2) Canned Food and its Discontents: Vomiting as Non-Violent Protest
3) Loosen the Collar! Preventing Canine Murder of Humans
4) Declawing and the Second Amendment: Why We Have the Right to Our Claws
5) No, I Will Not Heel: Ask Me To Do So One More Time and I’ll Hurt You

Closing Session
All animals form a circle around the convention center and interlock some portion of their bodies — hind legs, hooves, wings, shells, antennae, abdominal segments, outer membranes or ectoplasms — and sing the natural anthem: “Nature is Our Mother, and Father Will Severely Punish Those Who Mistreat Her”