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Animal Protection > AR FAQs > General AR FAQ

Does AW slow the path to AR?

AW has been described as everything from advocating larger cages for chickens, to advocating less painful euthanasia, to convincing pet stores to stop selling large parrots. The resources needed to achieve these welfare results are often only estimated in advance, and the end results are typically not known for years. Yet they are often debated as if they were known quantities.

This reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. There are multiple versions of the parable, with different morals to them.

A Jain version of the story says that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body.

The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.

A wise man explains to them

All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned.

This is used to illustrate the principle of living in harmony with people who have different belief systems, and that truth can be stated in different ways (in Jainist beliefs often said to be seven versions).

Buddha tells the story of a raja who had six blind men gathered together to examine the elephant.

"When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, 'Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?'

They assert the elephant is like a pot (head), winnowing basket (ear), ploughshare (tusk), plough (trunk), granary (body), pillar (foot), mortar (back), pestle (tail), or brush (tip of the tail).

The men come to blows, which delights the raja as just punishment for men who stubbornly cling to their views.

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