Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection (Radical Animal Studies and Total Liberation) [Critical, New ed.] 143316311X, 9781433163111

Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection represents the very best that the internationally

1,170 30 3MB

English Pages 318 [315] Year 2019

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection (Radical Animal Studies and Total Liberation) [Critical, New ed.]
 143316311X, 9781433163111

Citation preview

Anthony J. Nocella II Series Editor Vol. 5

The Radical Animal Studies and Total Liberation series is part of the Peter Lang Education list. Every volume is peer reviewed and meets the highest quality standards for content and production.

PETER LANG New York • Bern • Berlin Brussels • Vienna • Oxford • Warsaw

Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies A Historical Collection Anthony J. Nocella II AND Amber E. George EDITORS

PETER LANG New York • Bern • Berlin Brussels • Vienna • Oxford • Warsaw

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Nocella, Anthony J., editor. | George, Amber E., editor. Title: Intersectionality of critical animal studies: a historical collection / Anthony J. Nocella II and Amber E. George, editors. Description: New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2019. Series: Radical animal studies and total liberation; vol. 5 ISSN 2469-3065 (print) | ISSN 2469-3081 (online) Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018047543 | ISBN 978-1-4331-6311-1 (hardback: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4331-6310-4 (paperback: alk. paper) | ISBN 978-1-4331-6312-8 (ebook pdf) ISBN 978-1-4331-6313-5 (epub) | ISBN 978-1-4331-6314-2 (mobi) Subjects: Animal welfare. | Human-animal relationships. | Social justice. Classification: LCC HV4708 .I58 | DDC 179/.3—dc23 LC record available at ( DOI 10.3726/b14844

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at ( © 2019 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York 29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006 ( All rights reserved. Reprint or reproduction, even partially, in all forms such as microfilm, xerography, microfiche, microcard, and offset strictly prohibited.

About the author

Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., internationally award-winning author, educator and community organizer, is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Justice Studies, and Criminology in the Institute of Public Safety and the Department of Criminal Justice at Salt Lake Community College. He is co-founder of the Journal of Critical Animal Studies, Institute for Critical Animal Studies, and the fi eld of critical animal studies, with publishing over forty books. Amber E. George, Ph.D., is Instructor of Philosophy at Misericordia University. She is editor of Journal of Critical Animal Studies and co-editor of Screening the Nonhuman: Representations of Animal Others in the Media and The Intersectionality of Critical Animal, Disability, and Environmental Studies.

About the book Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection represents the very best that the internationally scholarly Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS) has published in terms of articles that are written by public critical scholar-activists-organizers for public critical scholar-activists-organizers. This move toward publishing pieces about engaging social change, rather than high-theoretical detached analysis of nonhuman animals in society, is to regain focus for liberation at all costs. The essays in this collection focus on intersectionality scholarship within the realm of Critical Animal Studies, and discuss issues related to race, gender, disability, class, and queerness. Not only are these articles historically significant within the field of Critical Animal Studies, but they are integral to the overall social justice movement. Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection should be read by anyone interested in the Critical Animal Studies field, as we consider them to be classic writings that should be respected as foundational texts. There are many interesting and innovative texts, but these are historical, not only because they were published in JCAS, but because they were among the first to publish on a particular intersectional issue.


Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies “Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies truly ‘bridges theory with action and academia with activism’ as 21 scholar-activists forward the fi eld and fi ght for social justice. Intersecting queerness, disability, gender, class, and race, these chapters challenge the homogenization of animal studies and strengthen the work of all activists, especially those seeking to liberate humans and nonhumans from the myriad harmful policies we see today.” —Dr. Erik Juergensmeyer, Editor, Green Theory & Praxis Journal “Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies comes at a time when the established structures, left unchanged, seek to reassert themselves. This ground-breaking collection gives both newcomers, and past enquirers alike, a chance to acquaint, and reacquaint, themselves with the crucial underpinnings of Critical Animal Studies and caste a light on the hierarchies of oppression it seeks to overthrow.” —Carolyn Drew, Senior Lecturer, University of Canberra College “Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies is an unflinching yet deeply respectful deconstruction of the cruelly constructed barriers among and between human and non-human animals by scholar-activist authors; it comes at a crucial time in our history when benevolence and hope are acutely under siege.” —Dr. Judy K. C. Bentley, Associate Professor of Disability Studies and Inclusive Special Education, State University of New York College at Cortland “Intersection of Critical Animal Studies is a brilliant collective of radical activist-scholarly essays that promote intersectional social justice for total liberation. This book will help all activists grow and become more effective in working toward justice for all.” —JR Bobik, Regional Coordinator, Save the Kids “When first published these essays smashed through the speciesist horizons that enamored mainstream academic and activist communities, and in doing so helped create the critical spaces upon which a truly intersectional politics of total liberation stands today. Read now, at a time of global crisis and darkening of the world, their messages still burn brightly and brilliantly, and carry with them the promise to inspire a new spirit of hope and solidarity in all who read them.” —Dr. Richard J. White, Reader in Human Geography, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom; former Editor-inChief for The Journal for Critical Animal Studies (2009–2012) “Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies is an amazing and needed text within the field of critical animal studies. This collection of historical brilliant and cutting-edge essays truly capsulate what critical animal studies is.” —Peace Studies Journal “Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies is a powerful text that must be used in all animal law, intersectionality, social justice, critical animal studies, and liberation courses. Get this book and share it with others.”

—Arissa Media Group “Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies is a book that found our interest because it was not just about nonhuman animals or animal rights, but about total liberation, which includes racial justice, social justice, economic justice, gender justice, disability justice, sexuality justice, and environmental justice. This book will interest anyone concerned about their community and the world. This engaging powerful socio-political book will capture the minds of all social justice individuals.” —Transformative Justice Journal

This eBook can be cited This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Foreword Sarat Colling Preface—Critical Animal Studies: Tracing Historical Lines in the Sand Richard J. White Introduction: Respecting the Past, while Defending the Future of Critical Animal Studies Amber E. George and Anthony J. Nocella II Part I Queerness Chapter One: The Love Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken: Queering the Human–Animal Bond Carmen Dell’Aversano Chapter Two: From Beastly Perversions to the Zoological Closet: Animals, Nature, and Homosex Jovian Parry Chapter Three: A Queer Vegan Manifesto Rasmus Rahbek Simonsen Part II Disability

Chapter Four: From Marginal Cases to Linked Oppressions: Reframing the Conflict between the Autistic Pride and Animal Rights Movements Daniel Salomon Chapter Five: Intersectionality and the Nonhuman Disabled Body: Challenging the Neocapitalist Techno-scientific Reproduction of Ableism and Speciesism Zachary Richter Chapter Six: Animal Crips Sunaura Taylor Part III Class Chapter Seven: Doing Time in Slaughterhouses: A Green Criminological Commentary on Slaughterhouse Work Programs for Prison Inmates Amy J. Fitzgerald Chapter Eight: Getting Their Hands Dirty: Raccoons, Freegans, and Urban “Trash” Lauren Corman Part IV Race Chapter Nine: The Subhuman as a Cultural Agent of Violence Maneesha Deckha Chapter Ten: Animal Advocates for Prison and Slave Abolition: A Transformative Justice Approach to Movement Politics for an End to Racism Anthony J. Nocella II Part V Gender Chapter Eleven: “Most Farmers Prefer Blondes”: The Dynamics of Anthroparchy in Animals Becoming Meat Erika Cudworth Chapter Twelve: Home Is Where the Food Is: Barriers to Vegetarianism and Veganism in the Domestic Sphere Kathryn Asher and Elizabeth Cherry

Chapter Thirteen: Feminism and Husbandry: Drawing the Fine Line between Mine and Bovine Carmen M. Cusack Part VI Decolonizing Chapter Fourteen: Ecological Indigenous Foodways and the Healing of All Our Relations Claudia Serrato Chapter Fifteen: “Where Is the Seat for the Buffalo?”: Placing Nonhuman Animals in the Idle No More Movement Adam J. Fix Chapter Sixteen: Yoruba Ethico-cultural Perspectives and Understanding of Animal Ethics A. O. Owoseni and I. O. Olatoye Contributors Index

← x | xi →


Amber and Anthony would like to thank all the contributors of this book Carmen Dell’Aversano, Jovian Parry, Rasmus Rahbek Simonsen, Daniel Salomon, Zach Richter, Sunaura Taylor, Amy J. Fitzgerald, Lauren Corman, Maneesha Dechha, Erika Cudworth, Kathryn Asher, Elizabeth Cherry, Carmen Cusack, Claudia Serrato, Adam J. Fix, and A. O. Owoseni. We would like to thank everyone with the amazing and outstanding Peter Lang Publishing, especially Sarah, Tim, Chris, and Sophie. We would also like to thank Sarat Colling for her Foreword and Richard J. White for writing the Preface and their dedication to helping develop and defend the field of critical animal studies. Without her support and involvement in the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS), it would not be where it is today. We would also like to thank the ICAS and everyone with and supportive of ICAS—Lara Drew, Carolyn Drew, John Lupinacci, Ian Purdy, Carol Mendoza, Richard White, Erik Juergensmeyer, Judy K. C. Bentley, Janet Duncan, Mecke Nagel, Peter McLaren, Sinem Ketenci, JL Schatz, Scott Hurley, Helena Pedersen, Vasile Stănescu, Stephanie Eccles, Kaden Maguire, Mara Pfeffer, Jess Ison, Les Mitchell, Aragorn Eloff, John Sorenson, John Alessio, Julie Andrzejewski, Sarah Smith, Colleen Mollentze, Luis Cordeiro-Rodrigues, Andrea Marais-Potgieter, Jörg Hartmann, Carlos García, Daniela Romero Waldorn, Alexandra Navarro, María Marta Andreatta, Gabriela Anahí González, Cassiana Lopes Stephan, Eduardo Rincón Higuer, Iván Darío Ávila Gaitán, Fernando Bottom, Colin ← xi | xii → Salter, Samuel León Martínez, Ariadna Beiroz, Andrea Padilla Villarraga, Carlos Andrés Moreno Urán, Bogna Konior, Sara Tsui, rocky Schwartz, Daniel Frank, and Terry Hurtado. We would also like to thank Save the Kids, Poetry Behind the Walls, Wisdom Behind the Walls, Institute for Hip Hop Activism, Outdoor Empowerment, Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice Journal, Green Theory and Praxis Journal, Total Liberation Working Group at Northern Arizona University, Eco-ability Collective, National Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth, Arissa Media Group, and POPS Movement. We would also like to thank most importantly our friends and families.

← xii | xiii →


In the spring of 2011, students, professors, and community members met at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, for the 10th Annual North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies (CAS). The conference, “Thinking About Animals,” was cohosted by the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) and Brock’s Department of Sociology. Conference participants covered a wide array of topics through panels and presentations that discussed the links between human and animal oppression/liberation, gender and meat consumption, postcolonial studies, animal liberation theory, abolitionist history, social attitudes and prejudice, veganism, and activist repression. There were also those focused entirely on vivisection, farmed animals, or the plight of one species such as elephants. I recall hearing the welcoming address given by Dr. John Sorenson, the founder of the concentration in CAS offered at Brock University, in which he included a statement from Animal Liberation Front (ALF) founder, Ronnie Lee. CAS is a continuation of early radical movements for animal liberation such as the ALF, which like CAS is grounded in anarchism and supports direct action. The framing of the conference using ALF philosophy signaled that despite corporations and governments labeling those who pursue direct action against animal enterprises as “terrorists,” CAS will resist being panopticized. Dr. Sorenson’s welcoming address was followed by a discussion on “Capitalism and Exploitation” in relation to animals, during which an audience member raised the question: How can those working on ← xiii | xiv → the streets put these ideas into practice? It was determined that these were key issues the conference would address. Like so many CAS conferences that came before it, this conference welcomed presentations that engaged both theory into practice and non-hierarchical grassroots

organizing. Furthermore, the overall format of the event was designed to build these bridges by including an activist component—a protest against the Canadian seal hunt—and by welcoming advocacy groups to participate. The organizers welcomed various local, national, and international animal advocacy groups to set up tables throughout the conference space. This scholar-activist approach is what CAS and the ICAS is founded upon. ICAS, which was formed at the dawn of the 21st century, is an entirely volunteer scholar-activist organization that supports collective liberation and radical animal/earth activism from a fully engaged intersectional praxis. I was first introduced to CAS by reading the anthology, Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (2008). Edited by ICAS founders, the book uses activist and academic stories to critique the unjust targeting of animal activists by the US government and, in the tradition of non-violent direct action, to tell the stories of individuals risking their own freedom to liberate animals. It was after reading this text that I began working with ICAS, from 2009 to 2012, while attending Brock University. My experience at the Brock university conference as an organizer and presenter was highly formative in shaping my future involvement with CAS. My own presentation, “A Transnational Feminist Critique of the U.S. Slaughterhouse System,” discussed how both the animals killed in slaughterhouses and the undocumented migrant workers, mostly from Mexico, employed in the industry are highly exploited by animal agribusiness and relegated to the margins of society; they are viewed as outsiders and unlawful intruders due to racism and speciesism. The presentation included a slide of a cow, eventually named Molly, who had escaped from a slaughterhouse and ran through an urban neighborhood. Showing the complexity of human–animal encounters, Molly was removed as an unlawful intruder from the community into which she fled, but also invoked public affection as people demanded that she be spared from slaughter. Within this conference space and CAS as a whole, I found a home for my interests in the decolonial politics of transnational and postcolonial feminism, politics of race and culture, and narratives about animals’ agency and resistance In today’s sociopolitical climate, issues facing the subjects of undocumented immigration, international trade, and migrant work have come to focus due to President Donald Trump’s atrocious actions. One of the central pillars of Trump’s presidential campaign, indeed perhaps his most famous campaign proposal, was to build “the wall” or the border along the southern United States–Mexico border. What is rarely mentioned is how this wall would not only negatively affect humans, forcing ← xiv | xv → them to cross the border through some of the most dangerous deserts in the world, but also other animals who balance their lives on both sides of the border. The existing wall which extends from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas into Arizona is already detrimental to animals, many of whom are endangered species. By fragmenting their habitats and inhibiting their movements, expansion of the wall would put further stress on species who live along and move across the border. Species such as the

arroyo toad, Pacific pond turtle, bobcat, and the black-spotted newt would find it harder to survive. The barrier would interrupt the movements of bighorn sheep, ferruginous pygmy-owl, and roadrunner. It would destroy thick vegetative cover that animals such as the California red-legged frog, ocelot, and jaguarondi use to hide, and would divide their populations. Small populations of large animals such as pumas and black bears would become isolated, and the splitting of their population would cause reduced gene exchange and higher disease vulnerability. As temperatures warm due to climate change, some Northern migrations would also be obstructed. Thus, the wall is stopping the flow of human and nonhuman climate refugees who are fleeing due to a crises mostly created by the people in the global north. Attention to the human and nonhuman agency and resistance to such barriers, however formidable, whether through escape, transgression, organizing, protest, strikes, or resistance narratives, is an important part of CAS. A CAS framework advocates for both the deconstruction of the human/animal divide rooted in dualistic Cartesian thought and the animals’ own destruction and transgressions of material borders. Crossings that represent potent moments of resistance are witnessed, for instance, when animals break through gates, jump over fences, leap from trailers, swim across rivers, and run through the streets, fields, and forests. Humans are used to learning about similar transgressions, as throughout history, humans who faced oppression and captivity have shared their stories as a form of revolt. For instance, some former US slaves who escaped plantations and shared their stories agitated against the institution of slavery because they showed that those held captive were discontent and doing something about it. The same goes for those escaping contemporary institutions of slavery, for example, the prison–industrial complex or other forms of slavery such as child slavery in the cocoa industry. Likewise, stories of animal escapees challenge the idea that animals are content with their circumstances, undermine taken-for-granted systems of domination and supremacy, and legitimize the efforts of animal activists. In a society where literacy is a tool of human civilization, those who have the privilege of access can self-reflexively listen to and narrate the stories of human and nonhuman resistors. ICAS has long recognized the value of ideas from those at the margins. The critical and engaging essays in this book will appeal beyond the narrow realm of academia to a larger audience. In the past decade, there has been an increase in ← xv | xvi → publications, scholars, and events identifying with the field. ICAS continues to host conferences around the world and now has chapters on nearly every continent. Highlighting the intersectional grounding of CAS Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection offers a diverse array of topics and uncompromising perspectives that have contributed to the field over time. The chapters encompass articles that discuss queerness, disability, class, race, gender, and decolonization in relation to human–animal relationships and animals’ lived experiences. The centrality of intersectionality and alliances of CAS contribute to the perfect storm that

Angela Davis (1974) speaks of, which can only arise from a collective struggle, for, “All our separate movements—political prisoners, welfare rights, national liberation, labor, women, antiwar—might generate storms here and there. But only a mighty union of them all could beget the great hurricane to topple the whole edifice of injustice” (p. 382). As this historic volume shows, building compassionate relationships between humans and other animals is a powerful anecdote to ever-growing social, environmental, and economic concerns.

References Davis, A. (1974). Angela Davis: An autobiography. New York, NY: Random House.

← xvi | xvii →

Preface Critical Animal Studies: Tracing Historical Lines in the Sand RICHARD J. WHITE

I am delighted to have been invited to write the Preface for this tremendous collection of essays, each capturing the tremendous spirit and vision of critical animal scholarship. When first rereading these essays, for many are familiar from my time as editor-in-chief of the Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS) (2009–2012), what struck me initially was the feeling that these essays haven’t aged at all. With no awareness of their history, it would have been of little surprise to me if they were being published as part of an entirely new collection. However, given their designated status as “A Historical Collection” an alternative, and more nuanced thought came into mind. It has been over a decade now since a few visionary scholars, faced by the ever-expanding deserts of mainstream animal studies, drew lines in the sand that were to animate and embody the critical animal studies scholarship that we celebrate today. The impulse to draw these lines, it seems to me, was a culmination of many things, but (perhaps) by two interconnected desires in particular. The first was a desire to lay down a marker: to draw militant “lines-against,” that refused and rejected the pretentious academic posturing that came with large swathes of animal studies scholarship. This was a scholarship which had wholly failed: (i) to engage with the serious ethical, social, and political issues necessary to challenge the human violence, abuse, and suffering that informed the lived experiences of billions of nonhuman animals; (ii) to address the structural genocide ← xvii | xviii → of capitalism through its commodification and destruction of life; (iii) to create meaningful intersectional dialogue and communication with other activist movements; and indeed (iv) had proffered a liberal de facto condemnation of any forms of protest and resistance that were considered illegal or militant forms.

The second desire was an affirmation of care and solidarity: “lines-for.” Outlining an explicit space for critical animal studies offered refuge and sanctuary for those who found themselves, their research and their vegan praxis, actively alienated from their own departments, disciplines, and communities. What emerged from these spaces was marvelous: new constellations of dynamic empowered/ing relationships, which led to the flourishing of exciting, uncompromising, and ultimately critical scholarly-activist research. Gaining in momentum and visibility over time, these have collectively pushed boundaries of knowledge and understanding of the animal condition in new directions: and always in the face of hostility and struggles from within and beyond academia, in ways that continue to inform and inspire an intersectional politics of total liberation into consciousness. In this respect the presence of a dedicated JCAS has been immense. JCAS has been a vital supporter of, and defender for, critical animal scholarship. The focus on queerness, disability, class, race, gender, and decolonizing selected to help structure this collection is a wonderful testament to this. It seems to be that the fierce desire to always be alive to—and have something meaningful to say about—the intersectional crises of the time has meant that the lines drawn around a critical animal studies praxis are no longer defined firstly by “being against” something (i.e., its relationship to other forms of animal studies). Rather it is “being for” something: standing in solidarity with the broader activist and public communities that are positioned at the critical/ radical edge of total liberation; individuals and communities that define its presence, and give voice to those who are our—the world’s—best hope in the struggle against violence, domination, and exploitation in all its malevolent forms. A decade ago the challenge for critical animal studies was to make unique and important inventions in broader animal studies, one laden with the hope of moving it away from sterility toward political and ethical relevance. In many ways this challenge is one we need to grasp and pursue in the present moment: as such I’d encourage you all not to read these essays historically: as straitjacketed by reference to a particular time and space. Rather embrace these as an ongoing dialogue, one which speaks to the present. Beyond this view the essays are entry points into (re)discovering the other, unique, and visionary literature that has been supported and nurtured through JCAS, and critical animal studies more generally. Moving forward we need to (re-)create a radical heart and voice within critical animal studies. So in reading this collection, I hope that it inspires, enrages, and ← xviii | xix → provokes you to take direct action in some way. If this includes scholarly-activist praxis, then do so in ways that burn brightly, in ways that stand resolute both against the darkness in our world, but also—as critical animal studies does—as points of illumination for new pathways of liberation, resistance, freedom, and revolt to be viewed, and carried out. ← xix | xx →

← xx | 1 →

Introduction Respecting the Past, while Defending the Future of Critical Animal Studies AMBER E. GEORGE AND ANTHONY J. NOCELLA II

About Critical Animal Studies For the last ten years, Critical Animal Studies (CAS) has grown globally to a size that the half-dozen founders never thought it would. As every movement and field grows, so does its definition with new ideas, perspectives, and critiques. Within CAS, as within all academic fields, some academics want to benefit from the field, without dedicating themselves to CAS’s history, mission, vision, or definition. This book is dedicated to venerating the foundational ten principles of CAS, while also highlighting the CAS scholars who have emulated its tenets, rather than selfishly ignoring them and redefining the field to fit their opportunist, career-driven, co-opting agenda. Often in academia, some scholars migrate from one popular issue or field to the next, without ever writing anything new or innovative on the subject. These types of scholars belong to the academic industrial complex, which is more concerned with churning out doctorates than generating innovative theories (Nocella II, Best, & McLaren, 2010). Not surprisingly, the academic industrial complex has been shaped by corporate and military interest (Nocella II & Gabbard, 2013). Unfortunately, this means that higher education is saturated with doctorates searching for teaching jobs, yet lacking in publications and teaching experience. Furthermore, many of these doctorates acquired their degrees from a for-profit institution, online institution, or ← 1 | 2 → an institution that guarantees a doctorate in four years after

only writing a dissertation in the humanities that is twenty pages long. To maintain the integrity of higher education, and in particular doctorate degrees, students must provide top-notch scholarship which can often take years of painstaking research and writing. Within this context of subpar scholarship and the ever-churning, easy-street, doctorate mill, some have latched on to CAS as a field easily co-opted by academics and not scholars- activists. These are academics disguised as opportunists searching for something to give them value within the realm of higher education. These individuals will go to no limit as they are driven by greed, capitalism, and selfishness and not by the tenants of CAS or animal liberation. CAS, founded in 2006, has ten principles that were written by Best, Nocella II, Kahn, Gigliotti, and Kemmerer (2007). CAS was founded by Anthony J. Nocella II, Steve Best, Richard Kahn, and John Sorenson, along with a few others who questioned why the animal liberation movement failed to challenge capitalism, all forms of oppression, and speciesism from an intersectional anarchist perspective for total liberation. CAS tore away from traditional animal liberation because the founders did not believe that true animal liberation could be accomplished without (1) a critique of oppression through an anarchist lens (Nocella II, White, & Cudworth, 2015), (2) valuing intersectional scholarship, (3) engaging in total liberation activism and direct action, (4) being against all forms of oppression, and (5) being antielitist, jargon-free, and nonacademic. CAS also supports the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front (Best & Nocella II, 2004, 2006). To date, CAS, with the help of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) leads the global effort to make animal liberation an intersectional movement, introduced the term total liberation, promoted anarchism, aided in the founding of the field of eco-ability (Nocella II, Bentley, & Duncan, 2012), and of course made a home for the first time for scholars to study animal liberation. ICAS also was one of the first animal liberation groups to support Idle No More, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and Save the Kids.

About the Book ICAS is growing, and the Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS) is transitioning back to publishing articles that are written by activists and for activists. This move toward publishing pieces about activism, rather than high-theoretical detached analysis of nonhuman animals in society, is to regain focus for liberation at all costs. JCAS, as edited by Amber E. George, is excited about increasing its readership and accessibility and providing space for practical and engaging ← 2 | 3 → community-based articles to be published. JCAS is proud to be a free and online publication that is reproduced in three different formats so that those with disabilities or non-English reading individuals can access its materials. This book has three overall goals: (1) to promote JCAS and ICAS, (2) to highlight the outstanding work over the years that was published in JCAS, and (3) to focus on intersectionality scholarship within

the realm of CAS. These articles were carefully selected so as to fit in the categories that were previously chosen. Not only are these articles historically significant within the field of CAS, but they are integral to the overall social justice movement. The articles within this book should be read by anyone interested in the CAS field, as we consider them to be classic writings that should be respected as foundational texts. There are many interesting and innovative texts, but these are historical, not only because they were published in JCAS, but because they were among the first to publish on a particular intersectional issue.

Outline of the Book This book is structured around six different intersectional themes: Queerness, Disability, Class, Race, Gender, and Decolonizing. Each of these topics represents an essential space that, when studied with animality, moves the entire field forward. The intersectional approach pushes these marginalized political concepts and identities into focus, making it quite difficult for scholars to continue to ignore the importance of these issues. The first section includes three essays that focus on the complicated and unique ways in which queer theory, politics, and identities intersect with animal liberationism. The first piece, “The Love Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken: Queering the Human–Animal Bond” by Carmen Dell’Aversano analyzes language in terms of how it is used to oppress both humans and other animals within queer and animal rights studies. In making these linkages, the author then highlights the similarities and tensions within the intersection of CAS and queer perspectives. The second chapter “From Beastly Perversions to the Zoological Closet: Animals, Nature, and Homosex” by Jovian Parry examines the ways in which queer nonhuman animals are erased from scientific understandings of sexuality and the repercussions of such an erasure. The author powerfully argues that pathologizing sexuality into heteronormative understandings leads both nonhuman and human sexuality toward homogenization. It is through a queer critique of anthropomorphic hetero-washing that the reader can understand the influence of science in comprehending these issues. Rasmus Rahbek Simonsen ends this section with “A ← 3 | 4 → Queer Vegan Manifesto,” which investigates the ways in which veganism, as an identity, is influenced by various sociocultural influences, such as queerness and gender performance, as well as individual circumstance. The second section of the book explores the topic of disability and its relationship to CAS. This section explores a range of different topics in disability studies, but all three pieces focus on the various ways in which both the “disabled” and “animal” bodies and identities are socially produced through networks of power. Daniel Salomon in his chapter, “From Marginal Cases to Linked Oppressions: Reframing the Conflict between the Autistic Pride and Animal Rights Movements,” details the conflict between the autistic pride movement and the animal rights movement using Peter Singer’s use of the “Argument from Marginal Cases.” Salomon who is both autistic and a committed animal rights activist skillfully critiques

the dualism that is created by both movements, and advocates for a “linked oppressions” model that builds solidarity and fosters coexistence, and bridges the divide between the disability and the animal rights movements. Zach Richter in “Intersectionality and the Nonhuman Disabled Body: Challenging the Neocapitalist Techno-scientific Reproduction of Ableism and Speciesism” engages with Gregor Wolbring’s “Ableism and Energy Security and Insecurity” theory. Richter suggests that ableism, as a sociocultural process defining the relation of humans to the natural world, must resolve the tension-filled relationship between Wolbring’s essentialist disability studies–based methodology and the wider lens of CAS. Richter contends that a reinvention of the concept of intersectionality is essential to address the tensions between ableism and speciesism further. Finally, “Animal Crips” by artist, theorist, and activist Sunaura Taylor analyzes the assumptions that humans make regarding animals with disabilities as they are informed by ableism perpetuated by humans. The intersectional analysis emerges from the author’s own discovery of a story about a fox who shared her disability of Arthrogryposis. The fox was shot by a hunter who believed he had committed a “mercy killing,” when, in fact, the fox (like the author) “was actually doing very well.” Taylor further explores documented cases of able, nonhuman animals helping and protecting disabled members of their species, forcing us to face unflinchingly the torture and genetic manipulation of nonhuman animals that we use as food—who are bred to be disabled. The third section of the book focuses on the topic of “Class.” Issues of socioeconomic class are often ignored within writings on intersectionality due to the historical centralization of class within the Marxist tradition. However, we contend that an analysis of class helps deepen CAS, as a field, in important ways. The works here allow for an understanding of a complex politics that links workers, animals, and activist in a potentially radical way. The first piece in this section, by Amy J. Fitzgerald, is “Doing Time in Slaughterhouses: A Green Criminological Commentary on ← 4 | 5 → Slaughterhouse Work Programs for Prison Inmates.” This chapter examines programs in the United States and Canada where prisoners are used to raise, slaughter, and process nonhuman animals for human consumption. Drawing on recent research examining nonhuman animal maltreatment and slaughterhouse communities, respectively, the chapter argues that because of the harmful nature of the slaughterhouse industry (for workers and nonhuman animals alike), employing inmates in the industry might be antithetical to some of the declared objectives of the inmate labor programs. The next piece, “Getting Their Hands Dirty: Raccoons, Freegans, and Urban Trash” by Lauren Corman, looks to how our society denigrates both Freegans and raccoons. Corman here, rather than viewing these process as separate phenomena, argues that there is a distinct interdependence of discourses relating to humanity and animality that inform popular constructions of these human and nonhuman urban foragers. Discourses related to pests, vermin, and dirt potently combine with others about social delinquency, race, and class. By exploring the complex discursive practices here, Corman helps inspire questions not only about conventional capitalist foodways but also the problematics of green consumerism.

The fourth section of the book is focused on race, broadly understood. This section connects animal issues with not only the institutions of white supremacy and whiteness, but also explores the ways in which black and brown bodies are devalued and exploited. This section starts with Maneesha Deckha’s chapter, “The Subhuman as a Cultural Agent of Violent,” which analyzes how the idea of the “subhuman” is represented in current instantiations of global gendered, racialized, and economic violence and how a “corrected” humanism (i.e., one that really applies to all human beings instead) perpetuates this violenceproducing category. Deckha contends that the human/subhuman binary continues to inhabit so much of Western experience that it raises the question of the continuing relevance of anthropocentric concepts (such as “human rights” and “human dignity”) for effective theories of justice, policy, and social movements. The chapter demonstrates the need to find an alternative discourse to mobilize around vulnerabilities for “subhuman” humans. Closing the conversation, Anthony J. Nocella II, in “Animal Advocates for Prison and Slave Abolition: A Transformative Justice Approach to Movement Politics for an End to Racism” uses a CAS perspective to explore the ways in which oppression is perpetuated from promoting and supporting the arrests of animal abusers and the use of the criminal justice system in the United States. The fifth section engages with the ways in which patriarchal values and norms are used to oppress both human and nonhuman animals—on the farm, in the domestic sphere, and in the general cultural at large. In Erika Cudworth’s chapter, “‘Most Farmers Prefer Blondes’: The Dynamics of Anthroparchy in Animals Becoming Meat,” Cudworth investigates the processes and practices through ← 5 | 6 → which agricultural animals became meat exploring, alongside that, the “naturing” of animal agriculture, and meat and dairy production, these processes and practices are socially intersectionalized. Kathryn Asher and Elizabeth Cherry follow that chapter with, “Home Is Where the Food Is: Barriers to Vegetarianism and Veganism in the Domestic Sphere.” In this chapter, the authors explore the domestic roadblocks to vegetarian and vegan diet conversion in order to complement existing sociological research on vegetarianism, veganism, and animal advocacy. Barriers to such adoptions are explored and include family reactions to dietary change, mothers’ roles in providing food for young children, the subordination of women’s food preferences, women’s food provisioning as a form of power, the dynamics of food choice among spouses and significant others, the role of meat in the domestic hierarchy of meals, and race and social class. Carmen Cusack ends this section with “Feminism and Husbandry: Drawing the Fine Line between Mine and Bovine.” In this article, Cusask argues that cows are the victims of rape, but feminists ignore them because feminist theory and law legitimize human superiority and speciesism. Cusack argues that feminists should adopt ecofeminist theory and relate the exploitation and suffering of animals and women, while calling attention to the patriarchal attitudes embodied by the abuse of animals. The sixth section of the book engages with the theoretical insights of academics and activists, who have called for decolonization. This section focuses both on Indigenous animal rights politics and also

brings forward the colonial practices that have, problematically, been a regular occurrence within animal liberation discourses and politics. The first chapter in this section is “Ecological Indigenous Foodways and the Healing of All Our Relations” by Claudia Serrato. In response to the globalization of food, taste, and disease, Serrato uses an Earth up lens, which is an embodiment of indigenous ecological principles rooted from a her-storical foodways, multilingual perspective. Reclaiming and remembering indigenous foodways brings into view the importance of animal, earth, and human relations and works to redefine Latino health today without disregarding the harmful effects of culinary imperialism. Next, Adam J. Fix in “Where Is the Seat for the Buffalo?: Placing Nonhuman Animals in the Idle No More Movement” provides a discussion of the Idle No More social movement by focusing on the less noticed way the movement has placed nonhuman animals within the movement. Fix claims that the most accurate conception of the movement may well be understood as a communion of worldviews based on, in the words of John Grim, a “mutuality of knowing between humans and animals,” a concept that is “one of the least understood dimensions of indigenous thought from a western intellectual perspective.” Focusing on this aspect of the movement and engaging with the work of prominent Native thinkers, as well as comments from activists within the movement, a more-than-human-orientated worldview is ← 6 | 7 → revealed in Idle No More messaging. Closing out both this section and the book as a whole, A. O. Owoseni’s chapter “Yoruba Ethico-cultural Perspectives and Understanding of Animal” provides a nonWestern conversation around animal rights and animal welfare politics. Focusing the study on Yoruba ethno-cultural settings in Africa, Owoseni highlights certain philosophical and ethico-traditional understandings of human–animal relations through activities that engage animals for food and economic purposes and in religious practices and festivals. This chapter identifies the Yoruba understanding of animal ethics by engaging these perspectives alongside the Western distinction between animal welfare and animal rights and argues that a global project of animal ethics should be rooted in a cross-cultural understanding of human–animal relations, Western and non-Western, in order to forge a model for the quest of animal liberation across all cultures including the Yoruba enclave.

References Best, S., & Nocella II, A. J. (2004). Terrorists or freedom fighters?: Reflections on the liberation of animals. New York, NY: Lantern Books. Best, S., & Nocella II, A. J. (2006). Igniting a revolution: Voices in defense of the earth. Oakland, CA: AK Press. Best, S., Nocella II, A. J., Kahn, R., Gigliotti, C., & Kemmerer, L. (2007). Introducing critical animal studies. Journal of Critical Animal Studies, 5(1), 4–5. Nocella II, A. J., Bentley, J. K. C., & Duncan, J. M. (2012). Earth, animal, and disability liberation: The rise of the eco-ability movement. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Nocella II, A. J., Best, S., & McLaren, P. (2010). Academic repression: Reflections from the academic industrial complex. Oakland, CA: AK Press. Nocella II, A. J., & Gabbard, D. (2013). Policing the campus: Academic repression, surveillance, and the occupy movement. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing. Nocella II, A. J., White, R., & Cudworth, E. (2015). Anarchism and animal liberation: Essays on the complementary elements of total liberation. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ← 7 | 8 →


Part I Queerness ← 9 | 10 →

← 10 | 11 →


The Love Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken Queering the Human–Animal Bond CARMEN DELL’AVERSANO

Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence (Halperin, 1995, p. 62). What makes queer so productive as a hermeneutical category is its structural elasticity, its definitional indeterminacy: Queer […] does not designate a class of already objectified pathologies or perversions; rather, it describes a horizon of possibility whose precise extent and heterogeneous scope cannot in principle be delimited in advance. (Halperin, 1995, p. 62)

Because of its fluid nature, of its being unaligned with any specific identity category, queer has the potential to subvert accepted ways of thinking on any issue. Subversion, as well as fluidity, is definitory of queer; indeed, its fluidity is not an end in itself, but simply the most effective and aesthetically fulfilling means to accomplish the political and metaphysical task of permanent and never-ending subversion. The main analytic and hermeneutic device queer uses in its subversive enterprise is denaturalization, a radical and ruthless ability and willingness to question all assumptions of individual and social identity: queer signifies “a resistance to regimes of the normal” (Warner, 1993, p. xxvi), it “mark[s] a flexible space for the expression of all aspects of non-(anti-, contra-) straight cultural production and reception”

(Doty, 1993, p. 3). And what makes it so politically, as well as intellectually, significant (and what I personally like most about it) is that “almost everything ← 11 | 12 → that can be called queer theory has been radically anticipatory, trying to bring a world into being” (Berlant & Warner, 1995, p. 344). The aim of this chapter is to present a radically anticipatory attempt at denaturalization, a systematic questioning of one of the most basic and most pervasive assumptions on which society, with all its potential for hegemony and repression, rests, and which is, indeed, basic to the very shape of our shared life on this planet: that of the “natural” divide between humans and animals. Such an endeavor is not peripherally related to the central vocation of queer. Historically, queer’s primary aim has been to draw attention to incoherencies in the allegedly stable relations between chromosomal sex, gender, and sexual desire and to question the dominant model of heterosexuality, demonstrating the impossibility of any “natural” sexuality, and calling into question even such apparently unproblematic terms as “man” and “woman.” Theoretically, though, it is vital to note that queer is about sex only incidentally: the real topic of its polymorphously transgressive reflections is identity; the fundamental—and most productive—idea in queer (from Butler, 1990 onward) is that identity is not an essence but a performance, exacted through a pervasive matrix of assumptions, inscriptions, and expectations, and that subjects themselves, far from building the reassuringly solid foundation of a realist ontology, only come into being as products of performances. The central place of desire in queer reflection has much to do with the centrality of desire as a fundamental mode of relation, and consequently as a major way that identity is shaped, enacted, and disciplined: to liberate desire means to liberate identity, to open it up to new possibilities of performance, and to open the world up to their subversive implications: queer does not simply maintain that it is OK to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (this is a given of progressive common sense, about the least queer position imaginable…) but states that any construction of identity (including LGBT ones) is a performance constituting a subject which does not “exist” prior to it, and encourages to bring into being (both as objects of desire, of fantasy, and of theoretical reflection and as concrete existential and political possibilities) alternative modes of performance; accordingly, the point of a queer critique of human–animal relations is not simply to assert animal rights (even though this is sacrosanct, and what matters most to me not only as a theoretician but as an activist and as a person), but to investigate the performative consequences of the human/animal binary in a vast array of identities, including those of oppressors.1 A queer analysis of human–animal relations can easily point to incoherencies which question the stability of taken-for-granted relations between species, with the limits they impose on feelings (of proximity, affection, empathy…), on political consciousness (of the routine oppression of other species by our own), and, consequently, on action (above all on the refusal to further participate in this ← 12 | 13 → oppression). In the case of animal queer, the dominant model to be questioned is of course the assumption of a “natural divide between species.” Just as heteronormativity grotesquely maintains that any member

of the “opposite sex” is more appropriate, suitable, and attractive as a sexual partner than any member of one’s own, humanormativity maintains that all members of one species (Homo sapiens) have more in common with one another than any of them can have with any member of any other species. Demonstrating the fraudulent basis of the obligatory assumption of an aprioristic and unconditional “natural” similarity and solidarity among humans, and exposing the violent and manipulative means which are routinely employed to enforce it, a queer analysis of human–animal relations cannot but end up calling into question even such apparently unproblematic terms as “human” and “animal” and, consequently, subjecting the specular identities they engender, and the performances they exact, to a radical critique. It is my conviction that a queer perspective on animal issues has the potential to show them to be considerably broader and more ramified (and therefore both more interesting intellectually and more relevant politically) than they are usually assumed to be, even by people sympathetic to, or engaged in, animal rights. Accordingly, the issues I will address in what follows, however diverse they might appear, are really parts of a single unitary argument; it might be useful to briefly sketch the shape that it will take here. In Section “Animal Queer” the queering of the human–animal barrier in some humans’ identities and emotions builds the starting point for a connection between queer theory and animal issues. Conceptualizing species identity as the product of a performance makes Butler’s analysis of gender immediately relevant to human–animal issues. Section “Performing Mastery” explores both the theoretical side of the issue (starting with a critique of the human/animal binary, and methodically highlighting the applicability of Butler’s seminal findings to animal queer) and one of its most farreaching practical aspects: the performance of mastery as one of the foundational components of human identity, constituted in opposition to animal ones. In the performance of human “identity,” animals are routinely used to bring into existence in every human society a space for a class of sentient beings to which no rights are ascribed, and for a form of murder which escapes both sanction and notice. Section “Performing dehumanization” assesses the momentous implications of this fact by referring to Philip Zimbardo’s singling out of “dehumanization” as the core process of the psychological mechanism of violence. Human–animal relations are the training ground for dehumanization, and the practice of violence that humans, by virtue of the performance of human identity which is exacted from them, get in their relations with animals is a precondition for the possibility of every other form of violence. ← 13 | 14 → The subversive vocation of animal queer hinges on its replacing sameness with otherness as the criterion of inclusion; because it is defined by love for the irreducible, unassimilable other, radicalism is a constitutive aspect of animal queer. Section “The Anti-Child” broadens the theoretical argument for

animal queer by highlighting the deep consonance between one of the most radical proposals to come out of queer critique, Lee Edelman’s denouncing of heteronormativity’s narcissistic investment in the future, and on children as its symbols, and an equally radical vision of animal queer utopia, that of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. The Conclusions (“Species Trouble”) focus on the potential of animal queer to resolve the dichotomy between a theory of utopian radicalism and a politics focused on the struggle for rights: affirming animal rights is only possible within a radical framework aiming to subvert the most entrenched assumptions of human culture.

Animal Queer It is morning; slowly, I crawl back from sleep to consciousness. The perception which leads me back from dreams to the waking world is her smell, which has been enveloping and soothing me all through the night. I reach out to stroke her head, resting next to mine on the pillow, and extend my other arm to hug her. She is completely relaxed and trusting. Her small body yields to my touch, and she moves further against me, to nestle under my arm. I bury my face in her fur, gratefully breathe in her warmth, and whisper “I love you.” I will start by considering a fact which has so far inexplicably escaped the attention of queer theory. Some humans’ most primitive instinct, deepest need, and most heartfelt conviction is to identify prioritarily with nonhuman animals, to form their most lasting and most vital bonds with nonhuman animals, and to empathize with and support nonhuman animals in preference to human ones. These people dare (or cannot help but) cross the most stable and most entrenched barrier regulating the flow of emotions toward socially sanctioned objects in all human cultures and societies and in the whole course of documented human history; by all definitions of the word, this makes them queer.2 What makes them even queerer is the repression, abuse, and oppression to which they, as humans who, in feeling, political consciousness and action, dare to cross the boundary separating their species from other ones, are ruthlessly and systematically subjected. Human love for animals is ridiculed, marginalized, despised, and repressed with a violence that easily escalates to murder even more than same-sex love between humans in the most homophobic societies. Modes of political consciousness which question the legitimacy of the routine and murderous oppression of other species by our ← 14 | 15 → own are delegitimized as political positions and denied hearing in the political arena. Political action aimed at correcting, or at least at granting visibility to, the gratuitous cruelty of human behavior toward animals is dismissed as extremistic, extravagant, irrelevant, or crazy.3 In what follows I will use the term “animal queer” to refer to the cluster of perceptions, feelings, modes of consciousness, actions, and theoretical orientations which are defined by a prioritary emotional and existential commitment to empathy with nonhuman animals; even though

they may never have heard of queer, humans identify prioritarily with nonhumans, make this identification the core of their perceptual, emotional, cognitive, philosophical, and political identity, and maintain it in the face of continuous and violent societal disapproval and sanction “font du queer sans le savoir,”4 and, in so doing, show the category of queer to be productive, both existentially and hermeneutically, far beyond what its original proponents ever envisioned. It is probably unnecessary in this context to point out that in animal queer genital activity is not the point5; after all, the point of queer critique is to develop critical frameworks that can disrupt and rewrite the countless ways the human potential for sensual pleasure is socially produced as sex […]. (Hennessy, 1994, p. 106)

Much of what theorists of lesbian feminism have said about love between women is relevant to animal queer: Love between women has been primarily a sexual phenomenon only in male fantasy literature…Lesbian‟ describes a relationship in which two women’s strongest emotions and affections are directed towards each other. Sexual contact may be a part of the relationship to a greater or lesser degree, or it may be entirely absent. By preference the two women spend most of their time together and share most aspects of their lives with each other. (Faderman, 1985, pp. 17–18)

Like lesbian feminism, animal queer is about political choice and emotional preference much more than about what heteronormativity construes as “sex.”6 Like lesbian feminism, animal queer, by the simple fact of its existence, can question and jeopardize the deepest foundations of society, can expose humanormativity and its multiple facets of more or less subtle or violent repressions for the fraud that it is. This is the reason why it must not and cannot be allowed to speak, to be acknowledged, to exist. The repression of animal queer is even more thorough and systematic than the repression of other forms of queer. One important aspect of this repression should be dealt with at the outset, because of its relevance to the very possibility of a queer analysis of the human–animal relationship: the fact that language does not allow for the distinction between sex and gender to be translated into human–animal ← 15 | 16 → terms. An individual belonging to the human species is assumed, by the way language works, to identify primarily with the human species, to feel emotions and loyalties coherent with this identification, and to act accordingly. The possibility of queering the divide between the sexes is often referred to, at least with terms of abuse; the possibility of queering the divide between our species and the others is not even acknowledged linguistically. I do not think queer theory has ever confronted a more entrenched and more hegemonic case of naturalization, which not only deproblematizes certain discourses, identities, and lifestyles but makes alternative ones not simply dangerous or stigmatized but unthinkable: throughout human history social discourse about the human–animal bond has been so repressive that it has systematically failed to provide for the possibility of expressing a fracture between

the equivalents of sex and gender in terms of species. As far as species is concerned, biology is automatically assumed to be destiny; not only in terms of genetics and anatomy but in terms of existential, ethical, political, and emotional possibilities. What Butler writes about gender makes eminent sense in this context; one need only replace the word “gender” with “species”: The cultural matrix through which gender identity has become intelligible requires that certain kinds of “identities” cannot “exist”—that is those in which gender does not follow from sex and those in which practices of desire do not “follow” from sex or gender. “Follow” in this context is a political relation of entailment instituted by the cultural laws that establish and regulate the shape and meaning of sexuality. (Butler, 1990, p. 24)

This is the same matrix which requires that certain kinds of political, ideological, and emotional alignment which do not follow the lines separating the species cannot exist: compassion for human suffering can and should lead to political action; compassion for animal suffering must not; rape, as something that one does to another’s body without their consent, must be condemned and prosecuted; meat-eating, which can be defined in exactly the same terms,7 must continue. One must not feel for any animal more than one feels for the even most distant or hateful “fellow human.” Everything which makes human society human and dictates what humans are and how they must live together conspires to make animal queer “the love which cannot speak its name.” In order not to solve this problem (which, like all systemic problems, can only be solved by a shift in collective awareness and a corresponding momentous change in social practices), but to make it visible, and therefore accessible as a topic for discussion, I would like to propose that the terms “biological species” and “species identity” be used as analogues to “sex” and “gender,” respectively, in animal queer discourse. Accordingly, my biological species is human, but my ← 16 | 17 → species identity leads me to identify with the species that the species I biologically belong to oppresses, tortures, and murders, much like a human can be biologically male but identify with any of a number of different genders, and loathe and fight their oppression by normal heterosexual discourse and by some other humans with whom he may share his sex. That the differentiation between biological species and species identity is far from specious, but offers a productive way to analyze phenomena that would otherwise defy awareness and description, is demonstrated by the fact that it can also be observed in nonhuman animals. The primates raised by human families in cross-fostering experiments on the acquisition of language identified with the human species and, when brought into contact with their biological conspecifics, often expressed—linguistically!—their disgust and dismay (Fouts & Mills, 1997, p. 122). It is interesting to note that many of these persons, who had not only developed an identification with our species and with many of the features of the culture in

which they had been raised, but an impressive mastery of human language, were later sold to laboratories to be subjected to painful, invasive, and ultimately deadly experiments. One of the assumptions of queer is that identification and desire can cross the societal boundaries separating sexes, genders, and sexual definitions and that, indeed, these boundaries have been set up largely to tame and to segregate love and empathy, to enforce a conformity of emotion resulting in a conformity of behavior. Up to now, queer studies have neglected one fundamental boundary which is enforced in an even more totalitarian way than any with which queer critique has dealt with so far, but which is nevertheless crossed every day by currents of empathy, fondness, and love: the boundary separating humans from animals. The nature of the transgression reveals the nature of the boundary: both have to do primarily and fundamentally with emotion. What we now know about empathy and the neural structures underlying it makes it clear that we: feel the feelings of other animals. […] As I watch an animal, I’m not reaching for the closest word to describe behavior I see; I’m feeling the emotion directly, without words, or even a full, conscious understanding of the animal’s actions. […] My feelings actually know what’s going on inside the animal, and this emotional empathy seems to be innate. (Bekoff & Goodall, 2007, p. 128)

This is the experience that Derrida refers to when he writes the response to the question “can they suffer?” leaves no doubt. In fact it has never left any room for doubt; that is why the experience that we have of it is not even indubitable; it precedes the indubitable, it is older than it. (Derrida, 1999, p. 396) ← 17 | 18 →

From earliest infancy, we are taught to ignore, repress, and ridicule this “experience [that] precedes the indubitable,” this “direct[…]” “feeling,” which is real and evident before and beyond consciousness and language, and as immediate and trustworthy as any we will ever have access to in our lives. From earliest infancy, we are taught to discount both our own feelings for animals and the feelings of animals themselves. Learning to eat what in most of the world is considered a “normal” diet implies being indoctrinated in an attitude of callousness toward physical and psychological torture, pain, fear, and ultimately murder; it implies repressing feelings of empathy, of compassion, of justice, and of protectiveness for innocent and weaker beings. Like transgressive feelings of same-sex love, transgressive feelings of empathy and affection toward animals are initially repressed through ridicule; but sometimes ridicule is not enough. The repression of “unnatural” feelings for animals and the enforcement of the “natural” divide separating the species which has the right to kill from those which exist to be killed can take a form as extreme as any that have been devised in the plurimillenary history of repression of human-to-human queer love: that of having the transgressor participate in the ritual murder of the object of her “unnatural” affection. Innumerable

children have been served their pet lamb or duck for dinner, or have been forced to abandon their puppy or kitten at the beginning of the holiday season. A few have reacted with permanent shock and horror; most have yielded to societal pressure, and have learned to regard their most authentic and deepest emotions as nothing more than childish “squeamishness.” In all its horror, this is, in the experience of many of us, the moment in which our identity is founded and constructed as “human” in contrast to the “nonhuman.” And the “nonhuman,” embodied in the corpse, maimed beyond recognition, of the being we loved the most, is the locus of a multitude of meanings: it is the place where an absolute and capricious power may be wielded, where the suffering and the life of others do not count, where no other subjects can exist; it is the Sadean universe: a place of unconditional superiority which is inaccessible to discussion and does not need to be argued for or demonstrated, but which will be reaffirmed in the face of any kind or amount of contrary evidence, always through the same means: through violence and murder. Both in literature and in personal reminiscences, I have repeatedly come across memories of this horrific initiation ritual into the primacy of the bond between humans and into the need to repress all feelings that threaten that bond by transgressing the boundary between species; one of its most popular embodiments is to be found in a text which enjoyed considerable popularity in the middle of the twentieth century, The Yearling, a novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939, and in 1946 was made into an MGM film which was distributed worldwide. It is the story of a Florida boy and his pet deer, which the ← 18 | 19 → boy is forced to shoot when the deer grows up and threatens to eat the family’s crop. The book’s title refers not only to the murdered creature, but to his human companion; it is clear from the story that it is through the killing of his nonhuman friend that the protagonist makes the transition from “yearling” to full member of human society, defined by the willingness and ability to kill beings of other species to demonstrate his loyalty to his own. The way the murder is accomplished in the book is in itself telling: the protagonist’s father commands him to kill his friend; when the boy does not comply, his mother is ordered to do so instead, but she, however willing, is not technically up to the task and only wounds the creature horribly; the boy finally ends what his mother had begun. The realignment of transgressive boundaries and the repression of “unnatural” emotions take place under the auspices of the father, who sanctions and directs the use of violence; the recourse to violence itself is motivated and justified by the economic good of the group, and sharply differentiates between feminine and masculine roles: the mother is supposed to approve of the killing but should ideally not take part in it (and is shown to be incompetent when she does), while the young son must perform it himself to show, paradoxically, both his achievement of virile maturity and his willingness and ability to submit to his father’s orders.

Performing Mastery

[T]he human is not only produced over and against the inhuman, but through a set of foreclosures, radical erasures, that are, strictly speaking, refused the possibility of cultural articulation. Hence, it is not enough to claim that human subjects are constructed, for the construction of the human is a differential operation that produces the more and the less “human,” the inhuman, the humanly unthinkable. These excluded sites come to bound the “human” as its constitutive outside, and to haunt those boundaries as the persistent possibility of their disruption and rearticulation. (Butler, 1993, p. 8)

Traumatic experiences are not always necessary to make love and empathy toward nonhuman animals unthinkable and unfeelable. Social discourse on animals shapes them into the Jungian shadow of humans; this starts with names of other species used as terms of abuse, but actually permeates all facets and modes of human self-perception. Men would be first and foremost those living creatures who have given themselves the word that enables them to speak of the animal with a single voice and to designate it as the single being that remains without a response, without a word with which to respond. ← 19 | 20 → That wrong was committed long ago and with long-term consequences. It derives from this word or rather it comes together in this word animal that men have given themselves at the origin of humanity and that they have given themselves in order to identify themselves, in order to recognize themselves, with a view to being what they say they are, namely men, capable of replying and responding in the name of men. (Derrida, 1999, p. 400)

Identity is a process of identification both with and against: we recognize in ourselves what we want to identify with and disacknowledge whatever we do not want to identify with, projecting it onto the other. Just like gender identities, the respective identities of human and nonhuman animals are created, maintained, and reinforced by a continuous and complex performance, equivalent, in its omnipresence as in its repressive power, to that which gives rise to gender: [G]ender [is] the disciplinary production of the figures of fantasy through the play of presence and absence on the body’s surface, the construction of the gendered body through a series of exclusion and denials, signifying absences. […] The disciplinary production of gender effects a false stabilization of gender in the interest of the heterosexual construction and regulation of sexuality within the reproductive domain. The construction of coherence conceals the gender discontinuities that run rampant within […], contexts in which gender does not necessarily follow from sex and desire, or sexuality generally, does not seem to follow from gender—indeed, where none of these dimensions of significant corporeality express or reflect one another. (Butler, 1990, pp. 184–185)

Species identity is socially produced and stabilized in the same way, and conceals and represses the same things. Innumerable cultural practices have as their purpose the production of the minds and bodies of animals in such a way as to reinforce zoophobic stereotypes: it is readily apparent that what we take to be the “nature” or “essence” of farm animals is the product of the systematic violence inherent in industrial

agriculture and mass slaughtering, and that the “essence” of laboratory animals is produced through the mind- and body-destroying practices of lifelong imprisonment and torture. Claiming that species identity is, like gender, the product of a performance is not enough: the manner and mechanisms of the performance must be investigated. As in all queer analysis, in animal queer too one major issue is that of how language produces the basic fictitious constructions that bring into being and support regimes of power. “This must be the wood,” she said thoughtfully to herself. “where things have no names. I wonder what’ll become of my name when I go in? […] But then the fun would be, trying to find the creature that had got my old name! […]—just fancy calling everything that you met Alice till one of them answered! Only they wouldn’t answer at all, if they were wise.” […] ← 20 | 21 → Just then a Fawn came wandering by: it looked at Alice with its large gentle eyes, but didn’t seem at all frightened. “Here then! Here then!” Alice said, as she held out her hand and tried to stroke it; but it only started back a little, and then stood looking at her again. “What do you call yourself?” the Fawn said at last. Such a soft sweet voice it had! “I wish I knew!” thought poor Alice. She answered, rather sadly, “Nothing, just now.” “Think again” it said: “that won’t do.” Alice thought, but nothing came of it. “Please, would you tell me what you call yourself?” she said timidly. “I think that might help a little.” “I’ll tell you if you come a little further on,” the Fawn said. “I can’t remember here.” So they walked on together through the wood, Alice with her arms clasped lovingly around the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came out into another open field, and there the Fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice’s arm. “I’m a Fawn!” it cried in a voice of delight. “And dear me! You’re a human child!” A sudden look of alarm came into its beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at full speed. Alice stood looking after it, almost ready to cry with vexation at having lost her dear little fellow-traveler so suddenly. “However, I know my name now.” she said: that’s some comfort. Alice—Alice—I won’t forget it again. […].” (Carroll, 1871, chapter 3)

This excerpt from a children’s book from almost 150 years ago says it all: the dependence of humans on animals for their self-definition (“Please, would you tell me what you call yourself? […] I think that might help a little”), the suffering which this definition inflicts on humans, as well as animals (“just fancy calling everything that you met Alice, till one of them answered! Only they wouldn’t answer at all, if they were wise”), the frustration and despair of humans at the impossibility of forging authentic bonds with “animals” (“Alice stood looking after it, almost ready to cry with vexation at having lost her dear little

fellow-traveler so suddenly”), and the way language offers an empty consolation, which we feel compelled to hang on to nevertheless (“However, I know my name now […] that’s some comfort. Alice— Alice I won’t forget it again. […]”), even though it makes a more meaningful, fuller life impossible. Carroll’s fleeting but haunting portrayal of life and love in the “wood where things have no name” leads us to investigate what things are like in the rest of the world, where things do have names. More specifically, it leads us to an analysis of the words “human” and “animal,” of the way they work and of the harm they do. ← 21 | 22 → We should start with a simple observation. The claustrophobic limitation to the number of genders which the mainstream discourse on sexuality can admit of has some flimsy appearance of legitimacy in the binary distinction between the sexes; no such excuse exists for the binary division between “humans” and “animals.” We routinely refer to “animals” without stopping to consider why the label “animal” is considered appropriate for a given being, through what means and to what ends it is used, and whether indeed it means anything at all. [A]nimal, what a word! Animal is a word that men have given themselves the right to give. These humans are found giving it to themselves, this word, but as if they had received it as an inheritance. They have given themselves the word in order to corral a large number of living beings within a single concept: “the Animal,” they say. And they have given themselves this word, at the same time according themselves, reserving for them, for humans, the right to the word, the name, the verb, the attribute, to a language of words, in short to the very thing that the others in question would be deprived of, those that are corralled within the grand territory of the beasts: the Animal. (Derrida, 1999, p. 400)

I am obviously not claiming that there are no boundaries among different animal species. A human is not a dog; a dog is not a shrimp; a shrimp is not a bat; a bat is not an oyster; an oyster is not a chimpanzee. But that dogs, shrimps, bats, oysters, and chimpanzees should be lumped together on one side of a line dividing them from humans is untenable by everything we today know about physiology, neurology, ethology, and psychology. Analogously, there are differences between most males and most females of our species; but we can—and should—question why just those differences are socially and politically so important, and get to be the traits that humans are defined by. [O]ne will never have the right to take animals to be the species of a kind that would be named the Animal, or animal in general. Whenever “one” says, “the Animal,” each time a philosopher, or anyone else says, “the Animal” in the singular and without further ado, claiming thus to designate every living thing that is held not to be man (man as rational animal, man as political animal, speaking animal, zoon logon echon, man who says “I” and takes himself to be the subject of a statement that he proffers on the subject of the said animal, and so on), each time the subject of that statement, this “one,” this “I” does that he utters an asinanity [bêtise]. (Derrida, 1999, p. 399)

There is no animal in the general singular, separated from man by a single indivisible limit. We have to envisage the existence of “living creatures” whose plurality cannot be assembled within the single figure of an animality that is simply opposed to humanity. […] Among nonhumans and separate from nonhumans there is an immense multiplicity of other living things that cannot in any way be homogenized, except by means of violence and willful ignorance, within the category of what is called the animal or animality in general. (Derrida, 1999, pp. 415–416) ← 22 | 23 →

Biological differences are not—are never—the point: the point are the discursive and institutional conditions under which some biological differences become social and political differences which are used to establish boundaries, to exclude, to oppress, to maim, to torture, and to murder. When people bring up the differences between humans and so-called animals they are not really referring to what the discourse of science has ascertained about animals over the last couple of hundred years; they are pointing to social institutions whose sole purpose is to discursively enforce a repressive norm. Why, respectively, the biological sex of the body and the species an individual belongs to should be so salient and primary are the questions a queer perspective on gender and on species should be asking. The human/animal category is the instrument for the imposition of a norm, not a neutral description of biological facts. Speciesism is made unthinkingly compulsory and naturalized by regulating species as a binary relation in which the only two really meaningful and consequential terms are “human” and “nonhuman”; just as in normative heterosexuality the differentiation between male and female is accomplished through the practices of heterosexual desire, which provides it with an indispensable pragmatic, emotional, and political foundation, the practices regulating human–animal relations within the framework of speciesism are the foundation of the fraudulent and untenable binary differentiation between humans and “animals.” This act of differentiation results in a hypostatizing of each term, in a seemingly unshakeable coherence of biological data, cultural constructions and emotions, feelings and attitudes analogous to the “internal coherence of sex, gender and desire” (Butler, 1990, p. 31) in naturalized heterosexuality. The human–animal norm defines an identity for both humans and animals. It defines what we as humans can and should be, do, feel, and think; it defines the kinds of relationships we can and cannot have with other humans and with “animals.” As such, even though countless billions of animals are murdered every year because of its effects, it oppresses humans as well as animals. As Foucault points out (1975), systems of power produce the subjects they subsequently come to represent. This process of production is in no way neutral: it has legitimating and exclusionary aims, but most of all its end is to make these aims impossible to acknowledge by anyone residing and thinking within the system. In order to be unfailingly effective, both legitimation and exclusion have to be naturalized and to become inaccessible not so much to criticism as to simple recognition. By relegating the conceptual, emotional, social, and political operations which establish the binary frame of “human vs. animal” in the prediscoursive domain, the stability of this frame, and of the system of oppression which it

helps found, is maintained. Just as the “production of sex as the prediscursive ought to ← 23 | 24 → be understood as the effect of the apparatus of cultural construction designated by gender” (Butler, 1990, p. 10), the production of biological species as the prediscursive ought to be understood as a major, and pernicious, effect of the cultural construction we have chosen to designate as species identity. In the construction of gender through the performance of the gendered body, coherence is desired, wished for, idealized, and […] this idealization is the effect of a corporeal signification. […] acts, gestures, enactments, generally construed, are performative in the sense that the essence or identity that they otherwise purport to express are fabrications manufactured and sustained through corporeal signs and other discursive means. That the gendered body is performative suggests that it has no ontological status apart from the various acts that constitute its reality. (Butler, 1990, p. 185)

We can witness the operations of the same process in the construction of an animal identity through the performances which are violently enforced on animal bodies. But what is most interesting to an audience biased toward humans and their rights are the “punitive consequences” that haunt the performance of human species identity, as well as gender, “as a strategy of survival within compulsory systems”: just as “[d]iscrete genders are part of what humanizes individuals within contemporary culture; indeed, we regularly punish those who fail to do their gender right” (Butler, 1990, p. 190) we punish ruthlessly and savagely those humans who fail to convincingly perform the right species identity: just as “gender is a kind of persistent impersonation which passes as the real” (Butler, 1990, p. XXXI); the “persistent impersonation” which we call being “human” (as opposed to “animal”) permeates every facet of our being, but its most devastating consequences, as well as the most serious punishments for transgressions, have to do with emotional, ethical, and political attitudes. As any vegetarian who ever tried to dine in the company of meat-eating acquaintances can attest, humans objecting to the murder of animals are labeled as “squeamish,” “childish,” or “weird”; the minimal existing legislation on animal welfare is routinely disregarded, and pressure groups trying to ensure that it be enforced are ridiculed and marginalized; and even the most private and least threatening forms of the human–animal bond are pushed firmly beyond the limit of social acceptance: anyone who lost a companion animal knows that the grief is made more bitter and unbearable by the need to maintain an unobjectionable public façade, since its emotional impact cannot be shared with anyone who is not herself an animal queer. Performativity cannot be understood outside of a process of iterability, a regularized and constrained repetition of norms. And this repetition is not performed by a subject; this repetition is what enables a subject and constitutes the temporal condition for the subject. This iterability implies that “erformance” is not “a singular act” or event, ← 24 | 25 → but a ritualized production, a ritual reiterated under and through constraint, under and through the force of prohibition and taboo, with the threat of ostracism and even death controlling and compelling the shape of the production […]. (Butler, 1993, p. 95)

As we have just seen, at the heart of the performance through which human subjects are constituted are prohibitions and taboos regarding the most positive emotions, and the most enlightened ethical attitudes: compassion, empathy, protection, altruistic justice, love. All of these are radically repressed “with the threat of ostracism and even death” when they are felt for objects which fall outside the boundaries of the social circulation of emotion, and thus implicitly question and threaten those boundaries. And the reason is that, like all forms of identity, our human species identity is flimsy and precarious but must appear to be the solid foundation of a stable order, and therefore the continuous and painstaking work on the performance needed to establish it must be hidden from thought and sight: There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; […] identity is performatively constituted by the very “expressions” that are said to be its results. (Butler, 1990, p. 25)

Our “humanity,” as well as the “animality” of animals, is a performance forced on unwilling actors, kept up by what we as humans do to differentiate ourselves from animals, and by what we compel animals to do in order to keep them as radically separate as we can from us. That the animals are unwilling is evident from the physical means of coercion, and the violence up to and including murder, that are used to exact the performance from them; but we humans are no less unwilling. Most of us have simply forgotten what we felt: getting back in touch with our own emotions is the first step toward deconstruction of the binary model of species relationship and toward a change in the relations between our species and other ones. What Butler writes about the suspect naturality of sex and gender is just as true of what most of us take to be most natural about ourselves: our prized “humanity”: a sedimentation of gender norms produces the peculiar phenomenon of a “natural sex” or a “real woman” or any number of prevalent social fictions, and […] this is a sedimentation that over time has produced a set of corporeal styles which, in reified form, appear as the natural configuration of bodies into sexes existing in a binary relationship to one another. […] As in other ritual social dramas, the action of gender requires a performance that is repeated. This repetition is at once a reenactment and a reexperiencing of a set of meanings already socially established; and it is the mundane and ritualized form of their legitimation. (Butler, 1990, p. 191) ← 25 | 26 →

Once we start looking at things this way, the “animality” of animals and our own “humanity” crumble beneath our feet: If gender [species identity] attributes and acts, the various ways in which a body shows or produces its cultural signification, are performative, then there is no preexisting identity by which an act or attribute might be measured. (Butler, 1990, p. 192)

Species identity too, as well as gender,

ought not to be construed as a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts follow; rather, gender [species identity] is an identity tenuously constituted in time, instituted in an exterior space through a stylized repetition of acts. The effect of gender [species identity] is produced through the stylization of the body and, hence, must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements and styles of various kinds constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered [possessing a species identity] self. This formulation moves the conception of gender [species identity] off the ground of a substantial model of identity to one that requires a conception of gender [species identity] as a constituted social temporality. (Butler, 1990, p. 190)

And it takes only the willingness to become conscious of the cumulative effects of innumerable, daily acts of repression, of the “gestures, movements and styles of various kinds” which from the day of our birth have been disfiguring not only our “bodies” but our minds, emotions, and souls, shaping our way of performing our humanity so as to appear as different as possible from animals, to realize that humanity, “is also a norm than can never be fully internalized; the internal is a surface signification, and gender norms are finally phantasmatic, impossible to embody” (Butler, 192). The reality of species identity, like that of gender, “is created through sustained social performances”: the very notions of an essential sex and of a true or abiding masculinity or femininity are also constituted as part of the strategy that conceals gender’s performative character and the performative possibilities for proliferating gender configurations outside the restricting frames of masculinist domination and compulsory heterosexuality. (Butler, 1990, pp. 192–193)

And what Butler writes of gender is just as true of species identity, and of its relationship to the compulsory humanormativity from which the core script of our performances is determined, and which, accordingly, most of us would not, and cannot, think of questioning. An enlightening contribution toward a genealogical critique of the human–animal identity category, investigating the political stakes in designating as an origin and cause those identity categories that are in fact the effects of institutions, ← 26 | 27 → practices, discourses with definite and discernible aims, is offered by Plumwood’s Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. Plumwood’s ecofeminist analysis of the relationship between humans and nature provides a detailed and useful description of the means and techniques employed to keep up this performance and is therefore profoundly relevant to animal queer. At the root of ecofeminism is the understanding that the many systems of oppression are mutually reinforcing. Building on the socialist feminist insight that racism, classism, and sexism are interconnected, ecofeminism recognizes additional similarities between those forms of human oppression and the oppressive structures of human “mastery of nature,” which Plumwood defines as “seeing the other as radically separate and inferior, the background to the self as foreground, as one whose existence is secondary, derivative or peripheral to that of the self or center, and whose agency is denied or minimized” (1993, p. 9). But the very possibility of this relationship depends on a complex performance, through

which both the master and his “other” are compelled to adopt opposite and complementary identities which create, shape, and reinforce it. In Western culture, male oppression of women, colonialist oppression of native peoples, and human oppression of nature are justified on the same basis: the construction of the dominant human male as a self fundamentally defined by the property of reason, and the construction of reason as definitionally opposed to nature and all that is associated with nature, including women and native peoples, the body, emotions, and reproduction. Plumwood’s argument, which was originally formulated about nature in general, is evidently applicable to animals; in particular, her description of the conceptual and cultural devices that make mastery possible are especially enlightening: 1. Backgrounding: the master’s dependency on the other is denied and made imperceptible; 2. Radical exclusion: differences between the master and the other are highlighted and magnified while shared qualities are minimized; value judgments are passed on all differences: all qualities possessed by the master are positive, while all qualities possessed by the other are either negative or not acknowledged; 3. Incorporation: the master embodies the norm against which the other is to be measured; the other is defined in terms of how well she approximates the master; 4. Instrumentalism: the other is an instrument for the master, does not have ends or interests of her own; her existence is justified by her being a resource for the master; 5. Homogenization: the class of the others is represented and perceived as homogeneous: all differences among various groups and individuals are ← 27 | 28 → neglected in favour of the only significant difference, that between the master and the other. By reinforcing the separation between the category of master and the category of other, this turns the two categories into natural categories. (Plumwood, 1993, pp. 42–56)

Performing “Dehumanization” Der Augenblick des Überlebens ist der Augenblick der Macht. Der Schrecken über den Anblick des Todes löst sich in Befriedigung auf, denn man ist nicht selbst der Tote. Dieser liegt, der Überlebende steht. Es ist so, als wäre ein Kampf vorausgegangen und als hätte man den Toten selbst gefällt. Im Überleben ist jeder des anderen Feind […]. […] Die niedrigste Form des Überlebens ist die des Tötens. So wie man das Tier getötet hat, von dem man sich nährt, so wie es vor einem wehrlos daliegt, und man kann es in Stücke schneiden und verteilen, als Beute, die man sich und den Seinen einverleibt, so will man auch den Menschen Töten, der einem im Wege ist, der sich einem entgegenstellt, der aufrecht als Feind vor einem dasteht. Man will ihn fällen, um zu fühlen, daß man noch da ist und er nicht mehr. (Canetti, 1960, p. 249)

Plumwood’s analysis of the discursive production of mastery shows how the ostensibly “natural” and “neutral” facts of mainstream discourse about animals are produced, with flimsy support from various scientific discourses, to serve very definite political and social interests. The “scientific” “facts” routinely invoked in zoophobic arguments have the function of allowing the discourse of mastery to present itself as though it had no source and no bias, while it is clear that it can actually be ascribed to a definite, and definitely biased, source. In this too, the results of an animal queer analysis have an exact parallel in previous analyses of other forms of oppression: Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex famously questioned the neutrality, and consequently exposed the illegitimacy, of male discourse on women, by acknowledging that men cannot hope to settle the question of women, because they would be acting as both judges and parties to the affair. It should be self-evident (but to most humans it is not) that the same holds true of the discourses of our species about other ones. Just as in Beauvoir’s analysis the “universal subject” in all the discourses of the West, whether scientific, political, philosophical, or religious, is always implicitly masculine, and just as implicitly defined by difference from a feminine “shadow,” which must bear the weight of all the ills excluded by his definition (irrationality, materiality, sensuality, particularity, immanence, etc.), this same subject is just as clearly defined by its opposition to, and distancing from, the “animal,” which is seen in much the same light as the female “other.” ← 28 | 29 → The analogy between the positions of animals and women can be fleshed out more fully by referring to Irigaray. In Irigaray’s theory of sexual difference (1977), women can never take up the position of a “subject” because they are the excluded in relation to which anything which is representable defines itself by difference; animals serve exactly the same purpose. One major way in which the human–animal divide parallels that between man and woman is in the assumption that mind is the exclusive prerogative of male humans; the “act of negation and disavowal” through which “the masculine pose[s] as a disembodied universality and the feminine get[s] constructed as a disavowed corporeality” (Butler, 1990, p. 16) is the same that constitutes the human as a disembodied universality and the animal as pure body, “living matter” used for production and reproduction. The repressive identification of the feminine with the bodily which has a long and inglorious history in Western science and philosophy is only topped by the frankly grotesque denial of the evidence for complex cognition in animals. Everything that we can do and animals cannot is considered evidence of complex cognition; everything that animals can do and we cannot is considered an “instinct,” having nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence, even though it should be clear even to a human that “given a long-lived creature that exists in a complex socioecological system, that creature has likely been selected for high-level intelligence and cognition” (Pepperberg, 2003) or—if we want to translate this into plain English—that surviving in an environment as complex and as challenging as that in which most animals thrive in the wild, with no police to scare off potential murderers and no supermarkets where to shop for food, requires considerably more intelligence than is needed to vegetate in front of a TV set.

This should make plain that the role of “hard facts” and “scientific evidence” and, ultimately, of the materiality of the body, in differentiating humans from “animals,” just as in differentiating between human males and females, is vastly overestimated: “what constitutes the limits of the body is never merely material, but […] the surface, the skin, is systemically signified by taboos and anticipated transgressions; indeed, the boundaries of the body become [in Douglas 1969] the limits of the social per se” (Butler, 1990, p. 179). Butler further quotes Douglas as suggesting that all social systems are vulnerable at their margins, and […] all margins are accordingly considered dangerous. If the body is synecdochical for the social system per se or a site in which open systems converge, then any kind of unregulated permeability constitutes a site of pollution and endangerment (Butler, 1990, p. 180). The examples of oral and anal sex between men (which Douglas quotes) are obviously relevant, but so is the myth of “animal” filth and pollution, which gives rise to innumerable irrational taboos concerning imaginary health scares. ← 29 | 30 → The boundary of the body as well as the distinction between internal and external is established through the ejection and transvaluation of something originally part of identity into a defiling otherness. […] the operation of repulsion can consolidate “identities” founded on the instituting of the Other or of a set of Others through exclusion and domination (Butler, 1990, pp. 181–182). This expulsion–repulsion dynamic is nowhere more evident than in the zoophobic fantasy of “dirty” animals, in contrast to which the identity of the human is established as something constantly needing to be protected from pollution. And the irrationality of our obsession with the dirtiness of animals as a foil to emphasize our own cleanliness is particularly evident if contrasted with our habit of feeding on animal carcasses, which are of course really unsanitary not because they are animal but because they are carcasses, and decaying flesh, “animal” or human, is just about the dirtiest thing there is. But this seeming incoherence is reconciled on a different level: we need to believe that animals are filthy, repulsive, and mindless in order to feel morally justified in killing them; and we need to believe that eating their corpses is good for us in order to feel practically justified in killing them: it is the killing, not the (contradictory, and ultimately irrational) beliefs which are used to justify it, that is the point, because it is the contrast between the impunity of the murder of beings of other species and the sanctions attending the murder of beings of our own which consolidates the boundaries of the group we belong to and establishes our identity as human. And, conversely, our oppression of nonhuman animals carves out a space in every human society for a class of sentient beings to whom no rights are ascribed and for a form of murder which goes unnoticed and unsanctioned. And it is just this, the unproblematic, “natural” establishment and continued existence of such a space as a structural feature of all forms of human society (and not any satisfaction of merely rational or

utilitarian needs), which is the most important social function served by the oppression of animals which has been a hallmark of human civilization in all cultures and since the beginning of history. The reasons why such a space, where callousness, cruelty, and violence can be exercised without fear of social sanctions, is not only thinkable and possible but necessary in all human societies are explained by the work of the prominent social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, who, after spending over thirty years investigating the psychological mechanisms of violence, isolated as its root one key process, “dehumanization”: One of the worst things we can do to our fellow human beings is deprive them of their humanity, render them worthless by exercising the psychological process of dehumanization. This occurs when the “others” are thought not to possess the same feelings, thoughts, values and purposes in life that we do. Any human qualities that these “others” share with us are diminished or erased from our awareness. […] The ← 30 | 31 → dispensable or “animals” is facilitated by means of labels, stereotypes, slogans and propaganda images. (Zimbardo, 2007, pp. 222–223)

It is clear from Zimbardo’s own description, and from a multitude of examples he quotes, that the focal case of “dehumanization” is to be found in the human treatment of nonhuman animals. Continuous and systematic cruelty to “animals” offers members of all human societies a constant exercise in the practice of violence that can be turned on any other object at a moment’s notice. The way animals are routinely, unthinkingly and unfeelingly treated provides the performative apparatus (the language, the techniques, the feelings and emotions, the metaphors and justifications) for the oppression of any category of sentient beings; and in any human society that apparatus is always already in place, ready to be deployed on the next victim, whether “human” or “animal.” A final point on the consequences of adopting a dehumanized conception of selected others is the unthinkable things we are willing to do to them once they are officially declared different. (Zimbardo, 2007, p. 313)

But of course the point is precisely that these things are not at all “unthinkable,” because they are routinely done to nonhuman animals, which are used as practice targets for the “dehumanization” of human victims. This key point completely escapes Zimbardo who, from his speciesist perspective, is unable to fathom the real meaning of his own evidence. His confusion is clearly demonstrated by one revealing statement: “[d]ehumanization takes away the humanity of the potential victims, rendering them as animals, or as nothing” (Zimbardo, 2007, p. 295); this simplistic and misleading identification of “animals” and “nothing” gets seriously in the way of a real understanding of the process of dehumanization, and of violence in general. “Animals” (or other sentient beings) are as different as possible from “nothing,” and “nothing” is not a possible object of violence, since the essence of violence is the reduction of a subject to object status. This theme is of course particularly prominent in Sade, but it runs through, and unifies, all the history of violence: the point of violence is that it should be felt by its

victim, who must therefore retain her perceptions, emotions, feelings, and cognition while being stripped of the other qualities which would make her too similar to the perpetrator. And, of course, if the victim were not similar to the perpetrator in most vital ways to begin with, the perpetrator would not need violence to widen the gap between them as much as possible. Canetti’s analysis of the primal form of violence as the “moment of survival,” in which a living being triumphs over a dead one, is particularly relevant here (Canetti, 1960, pp. 249–312). That animals are really the focal case of “dehumanization” is shown by the effectiveness of animal names as trigger words for its onset. Zimbardo lists an impressive ← 31 | 32 → amount of evidence confirming this: a study on “Experimental Dehumanization: Animalizing College Students” (2007, p. 308), in which hearing the other group of students being described as “like animals” led the subjects to administer the highest possible levels of electric shock (“Imagining them [the other group of college students] as animals switches off any sense of compassion you might have for them, and […] you begin to shock them with ever-increasing levels of intensity”; Zimbardo, 2007, p. 18); “trophy photos” of abusers with their victims mimicking the poses of big game hunters (Zimbardo, 2007, pp. 19, 364); the behavior and statements of the guards in the Stanford Prison Experiment (“Go back to your cage”; Zimbardo, 2007, p. 114; “I practically considered the prisoners cattle”; Zimbardo, 2007, p. 187); evidence from the doctors involved in the Mock Psychiatric Ward Experience (“I used to look at the patients as if they were a bunch of animals; I never knew what they were going through before”; Zimbardo, 2007, p. 251); the disturbing T-shirts worn by the “commandos of the New York Police Department,” that read “There is no hunting like the hunting of men” (Zimbardo, 2007, p. 291), and, of course, “the Nazi genocide of the Jews [which] began by first creating […] a national perception of these fellow human beings as inferior forms of animal life” (Zimbardo, 2007, p. 307) and the evidence from the Abu Ghraib trials, where soldiers said about prisoners “They’re nothing but dogs” (Zimbardo, 2007, p. 352), and instructors explained to interrogators that “You have to treat the prisoners like dogs. If […] they believe they’re any different than dogs, you’ve effectively lost control of your interrogation from the very start. […] And it works” (Zimbardo, 2007, p. 414). The reason why “it works” is that all humans, by virtue of their being human, have received decades of training in how to oppress, brutalize, torture, break, and murder other sentient beings, and that they can start applying what they have learned to new and unsuspecting victims simply by labeling them in the appropriate way. I do not think I am the only one to believe that if nobody ever learned anything of the kind the world would be a much better place. In my most naively hopeful moments I imagine it will be the queer community—the oxymoronic community of difference—that might be able to teach the world how to get along. (Sloan, 1991)

A real “oxymoronic community of difference,” embracing not only all possible variants of “gender trouble” but also the queering of the human–animal barrier, would not need to teach anybody anything, because it would have made violence unthinkable, since the human oppression of nonhuman animals is not a peripheral case of no political relevance but, as Zimbardo’s own analysis of “dehumanization” shows, the archetype model and training ground of all forms of oppression and injustice. In this respect animal queer, more than any form of queer, radically ← 32 | 33 → threatens the very foundations of human society as we know it, since taking it seriously, not simply as another interesting category for academic analysis but as an ethical and political imperative, implies doing everything we can to dismantle the linguistic, conceptual, and performative apparatus which makes all kinds of violence and oppression possible. In animal queer the dichotomy between liberation theory and civil right politics, which has been discussed at length in queer literature, has no substance: crossing the line dividing our species from the other ones means eradicating the very categories of thought needed to conceive of inequality and injustice. If the definition of queer politics is radical opposition to the established social order as such, and the measure of success of queer political action is the extent to which it smashes the system, then animal rights activism is the queerest possible form of political action, because it is structurally incompatible with continuing to live the way the system expects us to. The reason why animal queer is structurally and intrinsically subversive, and why it is perceived as radically threatening, and is, accordingly, ruthlessly marginalized, by all forms of cultural and political discourse, is that it replaces sameness with otherness as the criterion of emotional, social, and political inclusion: whoever supports animals, fights for animals, loves an animal loves, supports, and fights not for the self but for the other (“the wholly other that they call animal […] Yes, the wholly other, more other than any other, that they call an animal,” as Derrida, 1999, p. 380 would put it), and knows in advance that no middle ground will ever be found, no assimilation will ever be possible, that in one, one hundred, or one million years animals will be just as puzzling, as foreign, as alien to all that we can be and understand as they are now. If true love is felt not for the self but for the Other, and if “[a]imer l’autre, c’est préserver son étrangeté, reconnaître qu’il existe à côté de moi, loin de moi, non avec moi” (Bruckner & Finkielkraut, 1977, p. 256), then love in its animal queer form is indeed the purest, most coherent, and most radical form of love, and as such it has the potential not to reform society or to facilitate social “progress” but to replace it with the unthinkable, with something radically contradicting all assumptions, expectations, and definitions, to create the possibility of a happiness we can’t even imagine, because to fathom it we would already have to be different from what we are, to have moved beyond ourselves.

The Anti-Child

As the death drive dissolves those congealments of identity that permit us to know and survive as ourselves, so the queer must insist on disturbing, on queering, social organization as such—on disturbing, therefore, and on queering ourselves and our investment ← 33 | 34 → in such organization. For queerness can never define an identity; it can only ever disturb one. […] the burden of queerness is to be located less in the assertion of an oppositional political identity than in opposition to politics. (Edelman, 2004, p. 17)

The most radical definition of queer’s attitude toward society as such is probably to be found in Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. I believe it to be no coincidence that Edelman’s theory resonates in deep, systematic, and serious ways with modes of thought and feeling which have long been commonplace in the animal rights movement, among people who have never heard of queer, but who have been living it as a consequence of their most heartfelt feelings and commitments. To empathize with animals, to affirm animal rights, to fight for animals, to love an animal means to align oneself with a way of being in the world that can never, by any stretch of the imagination, be compared or assimilated with our own: whatever we do for animals, we know we are only doing what we think is best, and by definition not what the animals really need, since there is no way we can ever know what it feels like to be them (Nagel, 1974). Consequently, we do not anticipate gratitude, we do not long for acknowledgment, we do not expect anything back. Because of the radical unknowability of animals, of the impossibility to construct a convincing model of their radically other minds and selves, and of the evident harm our species has been inflicting on theirs, and on the environment without which they cannot survive, we cannot help but realize that the best we could ever do for animals is to leave them alone; and that the best and safest way this could be accomplished is by freeing the planet of our kind for good. Thus animal queer directly leads us to envision the vanishing point of any truly queer critique of identity, which is generally hidden from sight in “tamer” versions of queer: the shaping of the self through, indeed the yielding of the self to, the radically other, the “dissol[ution of] those congealments of identity that permit us to know and survive as ourselves.” A serious and sustained engagement with animals cannot but permanently call into question our own identity, not only problematizing or destabilizing it theoretically but declaring it irrelevant and obsolete through our actions; in this sense, animal rights activism marks, in a way so absolute and radical as to have resisted theorization so far, the entrance of the death drive into political discourse. This places the animal in sharp contrast with another object of affection, as normative and compulsory as the animal is queer and repressed: the Child. The human–animal bond transports us outside of ourselves, and alerts us to the ultimate equivalence of all beings as objects of love: one does not love “one’s” animal because it is one’s own, but chooses, generally at random, an individual animal to love because one loves animals in general; on the contrary, the parent–child bond cements us into our own identity by handing us a mirror which promises to ← 34 | 35 → confirm it in a time which will last well

beyond our life span: a parent does not love all children and then chooses, more or less at random, a single one to love, he loves his child because it is his: The Child marks the fetishistic fixation of heteronormativity; an erotically charged investment in the rigid sameness of identity that is central to the compulsory narrative of reproductive futurism. (Edelman, 2004, p. 21)

The one embodied in the love of animals is a quintessentially queer attitude to identity. What is queer about queer is its critical distance from identity politics, its suspension of identity as a fixed, coherent, and natural category. What best describes queer is not its affinity with some forms of identity (gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender) but its anti-normative positioning toward forms of sexual identity in particular and, more generally, its problematizing, through denaturalization, of the very concept of identity. Queer does not aim at consolidating or stabilizing any identity, least of all its own, but has as its ultimate purpose a critique of identity, which should not lead to the hegemony of a new or alternative identity, but to the demise of the category of identity as such, by making conscious and calling into question the performance that makes us and others what we “are,” which in animal queer means “humans” and “animals,” respectively. Acknowledging, honoring, and becoming fully alive to one’s love for an animal permanently subverts one’s perception of self, of the other, and of the world, bringing it out of alignment with humanormativity’s priorities, values, and performances. One major object of this subversive perception is time. The animal is indeed the embodiment of Edelman’s “No Future”: in our relationship with an animal, all there ever is is Right Now: this moment of play, the soft feel of fur against my chest and under my hands, the warm smell I love. There is no room for plans or expectations; there are no investments on which returns are awaited. Unlike the parent–child bond, which is defined by teleology, the human–animal bond is not teleological: it does not sagely postpone gratification, it does not project anything into, or onto, the future. Unlike the child, the animal will not develop into a more mature and accomplished version of itself which will show the marks of our good parenting: whatever the particular gifts and specific qualities of an individual animal, she was born with them, and most of them do not make sense in a human perspective anyway. Unlike the child, the animal has no hold on the future and does not see the meaning of progress; unlike the child, upon whom we can project our frustrated hopes of a distant Utopia, an animal will not see a better world, both because our notions of the good are profoundly foreign to her and because she will not survive her human companion: by loving an animal we accept a devastating mutilation of our future, which in all likelihood will hold a time when we still are, ← 35 | 36 → and the person we love the most, even if she was much younger than we to begin with, will no longer be; by loving an animal we embrace, and not in the abstract, “the fate of the queer [which] is to figure the fate that cuts the thread of futurity” (Edelman, 2004, p. 30). Whoever loves an animal necessarily finds herself, simply by virtue of this love, deeply alienated from the “logic of repetition that fixes identity through identification with the future of the

social order” “enact[ed]” by “the Child” (Edelman, 2004, p. 25), and occupying “the structural position of queerness […] imagining an oppositional political stance exempt from […] the politics of reproduction” (Edelman, 2004, p. 27). To someone who loves an animal, the future holds no promise but that of the cruel and definitive dissolution of her love. While children make death less salient and less omnipresent because their life span is equal to our own and their lives start later, animals make the presence of death much more intensely and frequently perceptible: to love an animal means to allow death into one’s life, and to do so by conscious choice and in full awareness, realizing (maybe for the first time) that “love is as hard as death” (Song of Songs 8:6), no less and no more. However tenderly protective our love for an animal, we know that no selfish hope of survival, no narcissistic dream of continuity can be associated to our bond with her. Unlike children, animals do not attenuate but emphasize our own impermanence by contracting our life expectancy even further. Because of our love and through our love we cannot but identify with the queerness [Edelman] propose[s, which] in Hocquenghem’s words, is unaware of the passing of generations as stages on the road to better living. It knows nothing about “sacrifice now for the sake of future generations” […]. And so what is queerest about us, queerest within us, and queerest despite us is this willingness to insist intransitively—to insist that the future stop here. (Edelman, 2004, p. 31)

This opposition between animal and child, as the embodiments, respectively, of Right Now and the Other and of Future and the Self, and the identity of the animal as the anti-Child, is evident in their opposite locations and functions in the social discourse of normativity: In its coercive universalization, […] the image of the Child […] serves to regulate political discourse—to prescribe what will count as political discourse—by compelling such discourse to accede in advance to the reality of a collective future whose figurative status we are never permitted to acknowledge or address. (Edelman, 2004, p. 11)

And reciprocally, everything that concerns animals, however well-founded and urgent, by definition cannot make its way into political discourse. If the child is “the prop of the secular theology on which our social reality rests: the secular theology ← 36 | 37 → that shapes at once the meaning of our collective narratives and our collective narratives of meaning” (Edelman, 2004, p. 12), the animal, as the prop for the performance of “dehumanization,” is the locus of the permanent denial of all meaning and relevance. If, as Edelman writes, queerness names the side of those not fighting for the children, the side outside the consensus by which all politics confirms the absolute value of reproductive futurism. […] [while] queerness, by contrast, figures […] the place of the social order’s death drive […] queerness attains its ethical value precisely insofar as it accedes to that place, accepting its figural status as resistance to the viability of the social. (Edelman, 2004, p. 3)

…nothing could be queerer than the love for animals, which, by its very nature, which entails a serious and irrevocable commitment to the dismantling of the performances and devices on which social order as such rests, “marks the ‘other’ side of politics: […] the side outside all political sides, committed as they are, on every side, to futurism’s unquestioned good.” (Edelman, 2004, p. 7)

It is thus no coincidence that the fetish of the Child should be omnipresent in the many-sided polemic against animal rights. In public debates, anti-vivisection activists are routinely asked by experimenters whether they would rather kill a mouse or a child (the answer is, of course, neither); and every time the subject of animal rights is brought up not merely as a topic of academic discussion but in appeals for practical or financial support, the most common form of refusal invariably brings up starving children as the more appropriate recipients of concern and aid. That the people who give this kind of answers do nothing whatsoever to relieve the plight of children in need does not matter rhetorically: what does matter is that the appeal for children “is impossible to refuse […] this issue, like an ideological Möbius strip, only permit[s] one side” (Edelman, 2004, p. 2). And any animal queer human can, from systematic and bitter personal experience, agree with Edelman that this is “oppressively political […] insofar as the fantasy subtending the image of the Child invariably shapes the logic within which the political itself must be thought” (Edelman, 2004, p. 2). The emotions, feelings, thoughts, and actions which make up the fabric of life for an animal queer person decenter the human and humanity from their positions as the taken-for-granted subjects, and implicitly but powerfully question reproductive futurism. What Edelman calls the ideological limit on political discourse as such, preserving in the process the absolute privilege of heteronormativity, by rendering unthinkable, by casting outside the political domain, the possibility of a queer resistance to this organizing principle of human relations. (2004, p. 2) ← 37 | 38 →

is shattered by an animal queer perspective. In its animal incarnation, more than in any other of its innumerable avatars, “[t]he queer comes to figure the bar to every realization of futurity, the resistance […] to every social structure or form” (Edelman, 2004, p. 4). And the real reason why liberalism grants a place to “the queer” in its LGBT incarnation but marginalizes, ridicules, represses, and murders animal queer is that the denial and repression of “the queerness of resistance to futurism and thus the queerness of the queer” (Edelman, 2004, p. 27) are perfectly compatible with a civil rights perspective on same-sex love, but utterly incompatible with animal rights. An animal queer perspective is indeed [i]ntent on the end, not the ends, of the social, […] insists that the drive toward that end, which liberalism refuses to imagine, can never be excluded from the structuring fantasy of the social order itself. (Edelman, 2004, p. 28)

The “deliberate […] severing of us from ourselves” that Edelman (p. 5) mentions as the hallmark of queer is implicit in the love for an animal. Animal queer severs us from ourselves because it decenters our

perspective: suddenly, other values, other interests, other feelings, though incommensurable and unimaginable, become equivalent to our own. The queerest expression of this attitude in the animal rights field (or, for that matter, anywhere, at least as far as I know…) is VHEMT, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which unwittingly but appropriately takes up Edelman’s challenge that “Queerness should and must redefine such notions as ‘civil order’ through a rupturing of our foundational faith in the reproduction of futurity” (Edelman, 2004, pp. 16–17) and embodies the only oppositional status to which our queerness could ever lead [which] would depend on us taking seriously the place of the death drive […] and insisting […] that we do not intend a new politics, a better society, a brighter tomorrow, since all of those fantasies reproduce the past, through displacement, in the form of the future. (Edelman, 2004, p. 31)

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement motto: “May we live long and die out” VHEMT (pronounced vehement) is a movement not an organization. It’s a movement advanced by people who care about life on planet Earth. […] As VHEMT Volunteers know, the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens… us.[…] When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve (if ← 38 | 39 → they believe in evolution), and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Nature’s “experiments” have done throughout the eons. It’s going to take all of us going.

At first glance, some people assume that VHEMT volunteers and supporters must hate people and that we want everyone to commit suicide or become victims of mass murder. It’s easy to forget that another way to bring about a reduction in our numbers is to simply stop making more of us. Making babies seems to be a blind spot in our outlooks on life ( ( Instead of worshipping the Child as the guarantee of our own eternity in a future where progress will always confirm we were right, VHEMT calls for a voluntary and lucid renunciation of the Child both as a symbol and as a reality, and for restoring the beauty, glory, and holiness of the planet by returning it to its rightful, nonhuman, owners, the ones who kept it for half a billion years without making a mess of it. The mission of VHEMT actualizes what Edelman wrote about: “the death drive names what the queer, in the order of the social, is called forth to figure: the negativity opposed to every form of social viability” (2004, p. 9). In envisioning a world where no opposition to the social will be necessary, because the social will no longer be a possibility, VHEMT radically refuses this mandate by which our political institutions compel the collective reproduction of the Child [and therefore] must appear as a threat not only to the

organization of a given social order but also, and far more ominously, to social order as such, insofar as it threatens the order of futurism on which meaning always depends (Edelman, 2004, p. 11). Because of its refusal of any “identification both of and with the Child as the pre-eminent emblem of the motivating end, though one endlessly postponed, of every political vision as a vision of futurity,” VHEMT is the most coherent and most radical incarnation of “a queer oppositional politics” (Edelman, 2004, p. 13). And VHEMT also offers the most vivid and convincing image I have ever come across of the paradoxical but vital ambiguity that Edelman places at the heart of queerness: Queerness, therefore, is never a matter of being or becoming, but, rather, of embodying the remainder of the Real internal to the Symbolic order. One name for this unnameable remainder, as Lacan describes it, is jouissance, sometimes translated as “enjoyment”; a movement beyond the pleasure principle, beyond the distinctions of pleasure and pain, a violent passage beyond the bounds of identity, meaning, and law. (Edelman, 2004, p. 25)

The vision of VHEMT utopia is certainly “beyond the distinctions of pleasure and pain, […] beyond the bounds of identity, meaning, and law” but also, and more ← 39 | 40 → poignantly and memorably, beyond joy and sadness, beyond triumph and defeat, and certainly beyond all that being human has ever meant to any of us: Gradual extinction of the human race will result if zygotes of Homo sapiens never again begin cell division.[…]

Individuals’ lives could change profoundly, but all for the good. Starving people would begin finding enough to eat and resources would become more plentiful. New housing would be unnecessary. All human technology would be scaled back but could still advance. Nuclear power plants could begin to be safely decommissioned. Dams could be removed. Technology could focus on dealing with unsolved problems such as radioactive and other toxic wastes. Healing the wounds of past exploitations could become a priority, reversing the expanding deserts and shrinking forests. Some of our influences, such as global warming, may be impossible to stop and reverse at this point, but we could ameliorate the effects somewhat. […] Domestic plants and animals could be phased out as farms and ranches are converted to ecosystems supporting wildlife and natural vegetation. The last humans could enjoy their final sunsets peacefully, knowing they have returned the planet to as close to the garden of Eden as possible under the circumstances. The last one out could turn off the lights ( (

Conclusions: Species Trouble [A] lot of the more exciting work around “queer” spins the term outward along dimensions that can’t be subsumed under gender or sexuality at all. […] Queer’s denaturalising impulse may well find an articulation

within precisely those contexts to which it has been judged indifferent. […] By refusing to crystallise in any specific form, queer maintains a relation of resistance to whatever constitutes the normal. (Sedgwick, 1994, p. 9)

In the vision of its most enlightened and original theorists, queer is another word for Trotsky’s permanent revolution: its refusal to define itself except as a method of radical subversion means that it must constantly look for new intellectual and political territories in which to carry out its subversive mission. Queer can never be tame or predictable; the moment it becomes respectable, it will have betrayed itself and sold its soul to academic irrelevance. The reason why queer was born of homosexual ← 40 | 41 → critique is not because of any exclusive affinity with same-sex desire, but because initially gay liberation and lesbian feminism advocated a wholesale sexual revolution; it was only later that they consolidated themselves as civil rights movements, intent on securing equality for marginalized minority groups. In my opinion one of the most profound reasons for the pertinence of the category of queer to a radical rethinking of human–animal relations is that no such compromise is, nor ever will be, possible for animal queer, since an animal rights movement entails a wholesale revolution, starting from the most mundane and pervasive everyday habits (what are you going to have for dinner?) and moving to the most intimate feelings and emotions, because the very fact of having one’s deepest affective bond with an animal calls into question the foundations of human society as it has been defined since its inception. The ultimate point of queer is a radical and uncompromising critique of the very notion of the natural, the obvious, and the taken-for-granted. The appeal to so-called “common sense” reinforces the hypostatization of the “natural” upon which homophobia relies and thus partakes of an ideological labor complicit with heterosexual supremacy (Edelman, 1994, p. xviii). Of course, the very same appeal to so-called “common sense” is the foundation of another, even more insidious, form of “ideological labor,” that which hypostatizes a “natural” which takes for granted the slavery, torture, and murder of billions of other sentient beings. The philosophically, politically, and ethically pertinent response to the ideological labor which founds heterosexual supremacy is “gender trouble,” the subversive proliferation of genders calling into question naturalized categories of identity and their patterning of possibilities and impossibilities. Analogously, the philosophically, politically, and ethically pertinent response to the ideological labor on which speciesism and humanormativity rest is “species trouble,” the mobilization of emotional, pragmatic, and political alternatives which are not contemplated by the hegemonic discourse on the relations between species with a view not only to fighting violence and oppression but to making violence and oppression unthinkable, by questioning their foundations in an obsolete and fraudulent model of interspecies relations. In this light, it is far from being a coincidence that, of the five epigraphs to the first chapter of Gender Trouble,

which mark the intellectual genealogy of Butler’s enterprise, four are self-evidently relevant to its development into animal queer. “One is not born a woman, but rather becomes one” (Beauvoir, 1947) points to the constructedness of our human identity through an ever-present and never acknowledged distancing and repression of our bond with animals. “Strictly speaking, ‘women’ cannot be said to exist” (Julia Kristeva) acknowledges the fraudulent essentialism implicit in the dominant discourse about humans and animals. ← 41 | 42 → “The deployment of sexuality […] established this notion of sex” (Michel Foucault) shows how the practices and performances through which we establish our relationship with nonhuman animals are the actual foundation of the human–animal divide. “The category of sex is the political category that founds society as heterosexual” (Monique Wittig) unmasks the human–animal construct as the ontological, ethical, and political foundation of speciesism. Just as “if desire could liberate itself, it would have nothing to do with the preliminary marking by sexes” (Wittig, 1979, p. 114), if love could liberate itself, it would have nothing to do with species distinctions. As every being who ever felt love intuitively knows, love is an intrinsically revolutionary force because it refuses to follow established lines of loyalty and carves out queer and unpredictable ones on the basis of attraction, empathy, and desire. In and of itself, love is intrinsically queer. And the coherent and radical acceptance of the love of animals, of animal queer, with all that it entails in emotional, ethical, political, identitarian, and ontological terms, is the next step toward the asymptotic goal of direct experience of a world of which the only thing we can know for sure is that it is indeed, as Haldane (1927) put it, “queerer than we can suppose.”

Notes 1.

This will be the subject of Sections “Performing Mastery” and “Performing Dehumanization”.


The radical questioning of identity which is implicit in animal queer is so widespread as to hardly warrant a mention among people who do volunteer work with animals, to whom I owe most of my lived awareness of the issue and of its infinite ramifications, and who have done as much for my development as all of my formal education, and all of my professional activity in academia. (I prefer not to call them “animal rights activists” because some of the best of them lack the theoretical sophistication necessary to make sense of the label; most of them would not be able to read this article even in translation—and even those who would—including some of the colleagues I most admire and cherish—would probably find it beside the point—“Is this what you have been busy doing instead of trapping strays for spaying?”; I have tried hard not to think of their reactions while writing this; the attempt has not generally been successful, and this is hardly surprising, since I know in my heart that they are right.) This questioning is, however, conspicuously absent from quite a few instances of (would-be) theoretical

engagement with animal issues; one example (which I feel compelled to mention only because of its prominent position in animal studies discourse) is that of Donna Haraway. Even though her Companion Species Manifesto heavily capitalizes on the transgressive value of the opening image of the author and her dog kissing (Haraway, 2003, p. 1), one would look in vain for instances of more substantial—theoretical—transgression both in the Manifesto and in its much more verbose and narcissistic sequel When Species Meet, where the reader ← 42 | 43 → is treated to a number of insufferably lengthy forays into the technicalities of the genetics of Australian shepherd dogs (Haraway, 2008, pp. 95–143) and of agility (Haraway, 2008, pp. 205–246) (as well as into Haraway’s father’s biography; Haraway, 2008, pp. 161–179), which lack any conceivable justification other than that Haraway (in addition to loving her father) is a passionate practitioner of agility, and that the dog she uses to indulge her passion is an Australian shepherd. Haraway’s self-indulgent egocentricism as an author would hardly warrant a mention if it were not for the fact that this painfully obvious inability to decenter herself (which reaches grotesque proportions in the unforgettable scene of her “play[ing] videos of the USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) Nationals” to her terminally ill father “wild with pain and hallucinating on opiates”; Haraway, 2008, p. 176) shapes both her whole relationship to animals (including her beloved agility champion, who needs regular chiropractic adjustments in order to keep performing; Haraway, 2008, p. 51) and her theoretical stance on animal issues: when she became interested in agility she started looking for a dog designed to excel in the activity (“a high-drive, purpose-bred puppy athlete”; Haraway, 2008, p. 96), much as a tennis player would start shopping for the best racket or footwear; and her inability to conceive of an ethical stance which would make it problematic for her to indulge in her tastes, from agility to hamburgers (Haraway, 2003, p. 40) to scientific experiments, and her consequent self-serving need to manufacture “theoretical” justifications for the world as it is (i.e., as she likes it—and as the animals don’t), is reflected in the frankly offensive language with which she refers to the most repulsive forms of animal exploitation: “meat- and hide- […] producing working animals” (Haraway, 2008, p. 319) and “[animals] labor[ing] as research models” “in laboratories” (Haraway, 2008, p. 58), who of course (just in case anybody was naïve enough to think that supporters of animal rights were the ones most prone to commit the heinous intellectual sin of anthropomorphism…) come complete with “working hours” (Haraway, 2008, p. 69). These Orwellian formulations are an extreme (both typologically and—one would like to hope—chronologically) example of the kind of brazen word-mongering which should have become unpresentable, if not after the publication of “Politics and the English Language,” then at least after Adams exposed it first cursorily (“To justify meat-eating, we refer to animals wanting to die, desiring to become meat. […] One of the mythologies of rape is that women not only ask for rape, they also enjoy it; that they are continually seeking out the butcher’s knife. Similarly, advertisements and popular culture tell us that animals like Charlie the Tuna and Al Capp Shmoo wish to be eaten. The implication is that women and animals willingly participate in the process that renders them absent”; Adams, 1990–2000, p. 66) and then systematically in The Pornography of Meat and in her Sexual Politics of Meat Slide Show, which denounce anthropornography (the term was coined by Amie Hamlin), the depiction of nonhumans as prostitute-animals who desire to be eaten. Whatever Haraway would like (us) to think, animals murdered for food do not “work in meat production” and animals tortured to death in experiments do not “work in laboratories” any more than rape victims are “sex workers.” That this last instance of doublespeak would not be tolerated by any reader, no matter what her political or theoretical orientation, while the other two (among many others) have not made a dent in Haraway’s reputation as a theorist “to be

reckoned with” in animal studies is, to my mind, depressing evidence of the problematic state of both social and theoretical discourse on animal issues. ← 43 | 44 → 3.

That some humans love animals (not “their” “pets” but animals in general, with no regard for the speciesistic categories of “domestic,” “farm,” or “wild”) is obvious; that society is unwilling to grant this fundamental aspect of their identity social existence, except insofar as it can be conveniently subsumed under the hegemonic identity of “consumer,” is just as obvious: I am free to purchase for the animals in my care both extravagant objects of consumption manufactured by the burgeoning “pet industry” (which won’t make any difference to their well-being) and state-of-the-art medical care (which might); but the law does not afford to their lives (again, with no distinction between “categories”) anything like the protection it affords to inanimate items of property (it is much more expedient to harm a disliked human by killing her companion animals than by damaging her property, since this is very likely to lead to a police investigation, while any attempt to interest the police in the violent death of an animal is sure to be met by condescendingly raised highbrows, or worse): throughout the world animals (of any “category”) are poisoned, shot, trapped, run over; some of these animals have humans who love them, who anxiously wait for them to come back, who grieve for them: that love, that anxiety, that grief has no place in social discourse except as an object of ridicule. And, of course, that someone should display shock and outrage at the violent death of an animal with whom she was unacquainted like she would for a human is simply inconceivable. To me, one point of affirming animal queer is to provide some form of recognition and support to the innumerable humans who feel completely alienated and alone in a society which does not grant their most heartfelt values and emotions any recognition. It is just as relevant, both politically and theoretically, that, even when some animals’ needs are given precedence over those of some humans (some companion animals undoubtedly have access to better nutrition and medical care than most of the human population in the Third World), it is always humans who decide this, and their decision is always both arbitrary and final: of three puppies or kittens from the same litter, one might grow up to be the cherished companion of an affluent animal rights activist, one to be tortured to death in a research facility, and one to be “euthanized” in a “shelter.” Because animal queer is not about the narcissistic investment in one “pet” but about identification with, and love for, animals in general, this state of things is incompatible with animal queer.


“Are queer without realizing it” (the reference is to M. Jourdain, Moliére’s character in Le bourgeois gentilhomme who had always spoken in prose without realizing it).


The sexual aspect of animal–human relations has been the object of a frankly disproportionate amount of attention (see, among others, Beetz, 2004; Beetz & Podberscek, 2005; Beirne, 1997; Dekker, 1992; Levy, 2003; Miletski, 2002; Singer, 2001) which has had the effect (and probably the purpose) of focusing the debate on an extreme and unrepresentative aspect of human love for other animals, deviating it from the less evidently controversial, but potentially much more radical (and therefore more threatening) issue of the emotional, ideological, and political identification with animals independent of any sexual interest. While (to the dismay of those whose interest in the topic is primarily prurient) “sex” is entirely absent from these relationships, attraction is a fundamental and much valued component; we all know people who, while shying away from physical contact with other humans, even in social situations, cannot pass a cat or dog in the street without stopping to pet her and play with her, and whose interest is enthusiastically reciprocated by the most aloof and intractable animals, even though they have never met before. I am one of these ← 44 | 45 →

people: to someone like me, the world looks different from what it does to other humans: the direction and order of my gaze is shaped by the emotional primacy of nonhuman individuals and needs. In public places, I may look more or less idly at people of either sex whom I find attractive, but the moment an animal enters my perceptual field she becomes the sole focus of my attention; my eyes follow her about, always taking care not to make her feel overwhelmed; I try to gradually reduce the distance between us; if she too comes toward me, sooner or later we will touch. Depending on her mood and tastes, this may inaugurate a session of gentle fondling or of wild play, or a more distant acquaintanceship that she will lead as far as it feels comfortable to her, and will interrupt when she will. 6.

And which is in dire need of reconstruction anyway. An additional reason of interest of animal queer is that the feelings, habits, and practices which coagulate around it resonate in unforeseen but profound ways with the critiques of heteronormativity and genitocentricity proposed by some French authors of the 1970s, whose cosmogonic radicality has not been matched in any subsequent analysis that I know of. I am thinking of Monique Wittig, who envisions an economy of pleasures, alternative to genitally organized sexuality, in which “polymorphously perverse” features and practices play a central role as a way to enact and experience a form of sexuality chronologically and ontologically prior to the binary dichotomy of sex (Wittig, 1973), and of the even more rigorous and radical critique of genitality in its emotional, perceptual, ontological, narrative, and political aspects envisioned by Bruckner and Finkielkraut in Le nouveau désordre amoureux, whose most visionary pronouncements read like a faithful description of the kind of tactile rapture which makes up such a large part of a happy relationship with an animal: “Le corps est à la fois entiérement dégénitalisé et totalement érotisé, sexué partout parce que ayant noyé l’acuité propriement sexuelle dans une masse de sensations affluentes” (“The body is at once entirely degenitalized and totally erotized, sexed overall as a consequence of having drowned sexual acuity proper in a mass of inflowing sensations”; Bruckner & Finkielkraut, 1977, p. 265); and, even more poignantly, and more to the point: “nous voulons joyeusement le non-sens, la maladresse, l’incongruité de nos amours. De vos voluptés surgelées, harmonisées, savonnées, nous nous détacherons comme de toutes les autres croyances” (“We joyously desire the senselessness, the awkwardness, the incongruity of our loves. From your deep-frozen, harmonized, soaped-up enjoyments we will detach ourselves as from all other beliefs”; Bruckner & Finkielkraut, 1977, p. 259).


The enlightening and productive definition of meat-eating as “something you do to someone else’s body without their consent” is attributed to Pattrice Jones of the Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary ( ( The locus classicus of the analysis of the relationship between the oppression of animals and that of women is of course Adams (1990–2000), particularly Chapter 2, “The Rape of Animals, the Butchering of Women.”

References Adams, C. (2004). The pornography of meat. New York, NY: Continuum International. Beetz, A. M. (2004). Bestiality/zoophilia: A scarcely investigated phenomenon between crime, paraphilia, and love. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 4(2), 1–36. ← 45 | 46 →

Beetz, A. M., & Podberscek, A. L. (2005). Bestiality and zoophilia: Sexual relations with animals. West Lafayette, IN: United Publishers. Beirne, P. (1997). Rethinking bestiality: Towards a concept of interspecies sexual assault. Theoretical Criminology, 1(3), 317–340. Bekoff, M., & Goodall, J. (2007). The emotional lives of animals: A leading scientist explores animal joy, sorrow, and empathy – And why they matter. New York, NY: New World Library. Berlant, B., & Warner, M. (1995). What does queer theory teach us about X? PMLA, 110(3), 343–349. Bruckner, P., & Finkielkraut, A. (1977). Le nouveau désordre amoureux. Paris: Editions du Seuil. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York, NY: Routledge. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter. New York, NY: Routledge. Canetti, E. (1960). Masse und macht. Hamburg: Claassen. Carroll, L. (1871). Through the looking-glass, and what Alice found there. London: Macmillan. de Beauvoir, S. (1947). Le deuxième sexe. Paris: Gallimard. Dekker, M. (1992). Dearest pet: On bestiality. New York, NY: Verso. Derrida, J. (1999). L’animal que donc je suis (à suivre). Critical Enquiry, 28(2), 369–418. Doty, A. (1993). Making things perfectly queer: Interpreting mass culture. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Douglas, M. (1969). Purity and danger. London: Routledge. Edelman, L. (1994). Homographesis: Essays in gay literary and cultural theory. New York, NY: Routledge. Edelman, L. (2004). No future: Queer theory and the death drive. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Faderman, L. (1985). Surpassing the love of men: Romantic friendship and love between women from the Renaissance to the present. London: The Women’s Press. Foucault, M. (1975). Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison. Paris: Gallimard. Fouts, R., & Mills, S. T. (1997). Next of kin. My conversations with chimpanzees. New York, NY: Avon Books. Haldane, J. B. S. (1927). Possible worlds: And other essays. London: Chatto & Windus. Halperin, D. (1995). Saint Foucault: Towards a gay hagiography. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Haraway, D. (2003). The companion species manifesto. Chicago, IL: Prickly Paradigm Press. Haraway, D. (2008). When species meet. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Hennessy, R. (1994). Queer theory: A review of the differences special issue and Wittig’s The Straight Mind. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 18, 964–973. Irigaray, L. (1977). Ce sexe qui n’en est pas un. Paris: Editions de Minuit. Levy, N. (2003). What (if anything) is wrong with bestiality? Journal of Social Philosophy, 34, 444–456. Miletski, H. (2002). Understanding bestiality and zoophilia. Bethesda, MD: East West Publishing. Nagel, T. (1974, October). What is it like to be a bat? The Philosophical Review, 435–450. Pepperberg, I. (2003). ‘That Damn Bird.’ A talk with Irene Pepperberg. Retrieved from

( ← 46 | 47 → Plumwood, V. (1993). Feminism and the mastery of nature. New York, NY: Routledge. Rawlings, M. K. (1938). The yearling. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Sedgwick, E. K. (1994). Tendencies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Sloan, L. (1991, February). Reporting on the second lesbian and gay writers’ conference, San Francisco. In the San Francisco Bay Chronicle, quoted in Lisa Duggan, Sex wars: Sexual dissent and political culture. New York, NY: Routledge. VHEMT. Retrieved from ( Warner, M. (1993). Fear of a queer planet: Queer politics and social theory. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Wittig, M. (1973). Le corps lesbian. Paris: Editions de Minuit. Wittig, M. (1979). Paradigm. In E. Marks & G. Stambolian (Eds.), Homosexualities and French literature. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Zimbardo, P. (2007). The Lucifer effect: How good people turn evil. New York, NY: Random House. ← 47 | 48 →

← 48 | 49 →


From Beastly Perversions to the Zoological Closet Animals, Nature, and Homosex JOVIAN PARRY

A wealth of recent scholarship in cultural and literary studies and the social sciences is concerned with the myriad relations, both material and semiotic, between human and non(or other than-)human animals.1 Social theorists such as Haraway (2003, 2008), Agamben (2004), and Derrida (2002) have argued that the human– animal divide, like so many other binary constructions before it (white/nonwhite, masculine/feminine, culture/nature, and straight/gay, to name a few), is historically and culturally nuanced, blurry and co-constructed rather than essential and fixed—in certain key ways, humans become humans through recourse to a discursively constructed animal “other.” Ideas about gender and sexuality feature prominently in the construction of the human in relation to the animal: as biologist and historian of science Donna Haraway provocatively states in When Species Meet, “species reeks of race and sex” (2008, p. 18). Cultural theorist Jennifer Terry puts it another way: “Animals help us tell stories about ourselves, especially when it comes to matters of sexuality,” she writes (Terry, 2000, p. 151). In considering how the sexual behavior of nonhuman animals becomes entangled in the stories we tell ourselves about our own sexual proclivities, “Nature” is a key and recurring term, and one with multiple, overlapping and historically contingent meanings. “Nature” and “the natural” have frequently been invoked throughout Western history2 as denoting something essentially good and moral; to say something is “natural” is to naturalize it, to hoist it above the petty realm of social and political machinations and crystallize it as something inherently, ← 49 | 50 → unquestionably good (Barthes, 1973). When used in this moralizing sense, the distinctions between “normal,” “natural,” and “divine” are frequently all but erased (Sturgeon, 2010, p. 107).

To position a form of behavior in the category of “unnatural” can therefore stigmatize it as ungodly: hence it comes as little surprise that even today a frequent recurrence in homophobic discourse is the allegation that homosexuality is “unnatural.” (In just one example of many, an Australian celebrity opponent of same-sex marriage recently characterized homosexuality as an “unnatural union” [qtd in Rothenberg, 2012].) Often this accusation has been made with recourse to the sexual behavior of nonhuman animals—animals don’t have sex with members of the same sex, the story goes, and therefore neither should humans—to do so would be to debase ourselves, to go “against nature” (Sturgeon, 2010, p. 107). But the idea of “Nature” and its inhabitants as inherently good, innocent, or divine has long coexisted with the converse idea of “Nature” (and therefore animals) as inferior: as something to be overcome rather than something to aspire to (Alaimo, 2010, p. 55). Usually when “Nature” is invoked in this negative sense, the figure of the animal comes to the fore. As psychologist and biologist James D. Weinrich once noted, “When animals do something that we like we call it natural. When they do something that we don’t like, we call it animalistic” (qtd. in Hird, 2008, p. 227). It should therefore come as little surprise that (in the Western tradition) varying beliefs about other animals’ sex lives have (often simultaneously) been used to bolster claims of the “naturalness” and virtue of human reproductive heterosexuality, and also to denigrate human same-sex sexual behavior as “animalistic” or “beastly.” Narratives about other animals and sexuality become even more convoluted when the presence or absence of same-sex sexual behavior in nonhumans is used not to condemn, but to condone human homosexuality. The discourse can thus be broken down into four strands: (1) animal sex is strictly heterosexual and reproductive, therefore nonreproductive and/or homosexual sex is “unnatural;” (2) animals engage in nonreproductive sex all the time, therefore humans having nonreproductive sex is disgusting and bestial; (3) animal sex is strictly reproductive, therefore nonreproductive human sexual behavior is “proof” of human superiority over dumb, instinct-driven brutes, especially in contemporary times, (4) animals have “queer” sex all the time, therefore homosexuality is “natural.” Clearly, both “Nature” and nonhuman animals constitute a fertile repository of meaning from which to tell various, often conflicting, stories about human sexuality (Terry, 2000, p. 183). My aim in this chapter is to illustrate how discourses of animality and sexuality are both inextricably entangled and historically contingent. Following Foucault (1972, p. 49), I understand discourse to refer to “practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak,” privileging, producing, and disseminating certain forms of knowledge and “truth” within mobile networks of sociopolitical power relations (Foucault, 1972; Mills, 2004). In keeping with ← 50 | 51 → a Foucauldian framework, I also remain sensitive to how power, enacted and constructed through discourse, both “permits and produces forms of behavior as well as restricting them” (Mills, 2004, p. 17; Foucault, 1978). My analysis will examine the ways in which discourses of nonhuman animal sexuality have both formed and been informed by particular (human) sexual subjectivities, and interrogate whose interests are being served by these discourses. I will start by briefly sketching the premodern histories of ideas about animals and sexuality before focusing in more depth on the period of time stretching from late nineteenth through to the mid-to-late-twentieth centuries. I will then outline how the “repro-centrism” (Mortimer-Sandilands & Erickson,

2010, p. 11) of the biological sciences has recently been challenged, in both the popular and the scientific realms, and conclude by examining some of the theoretical problems with constructing queer sexualities as “natural.”

Premodern Understandings of Animals and Sexuality The discourse on nonhuman animal sexual behavior as strictly hetero has a long history. As far back as the first century BCE, the roman poet Ovid had a WSW3 character in the ninth book of his Metamorphosis lament the oddness of her own sexual proclivities through recourse to an unrelentingly “straight” nonhuman animal world. “Cows do not burn with love for cows, nor mares for mares”, she bemoans; “among all the animals / No female is seized with desire for a female” (qtd in Boswell, 1980, p. 152). Throughout the next two millennia, this argument would recur in Western societies, bolstered by the rising cultural authority of Christianity, which condemned (male) homosexual behavior as “detestable” (Leviticus, 18, p. 22). Some fourteen hundred years after Ovid’s tragic, unnatural women-loving-woman, for example, a religious tract condemning homosexual acts could claim as a truism that “No dumb animal is drawn to this evil…. The rest of the animals mate according to nature’s law, [but] you are driven by a lust which all of nature abhors” (in Boswell, 1980, p. 399; see also Salisbury, 1994, p. 83). However, this is only part of the story—for at least as long as people have looked to the “animal kingdom” as a paragon of heterosexual, reproductive virtue—as moral exemplars of “what to do”—they have looked at animals and seen the exact opposite, a seething morass of perverse, beastly sexual chaos providing a compelling example of “what not to do.” In the first century CE, for instance, the epistle of Barnabas (now seen as apocryphal, but accepted as scripture at the time) moralized against human sexual sins, including homosexual acts, through recourse to the “perverse” sexual behavior (both real and imagined) of nonhuman animals (Boswell, 1980, p. 144; Salisbury, 1994, p. 82). The moralized bestiary Physiologus, widely translated and extremely popular throughout the Middle Ages, catalogued the sexual “deviances” of various animal species and urged its readers ← 51 | 52 → not to sink to such perverse and beastly depths themselves. These associations between animality and “deviant” nonreproductive sex “profoundly affected subsequent attitudes toward homosexual behavior” (Boswell, 1980, pp. 144–146). From the earliest beginnings of Christianity to Victorian times and even beyond, homosexual behavior (particularly sodomy) has constituted a dangerous blurring of line supposedly separating humans and animals (Fudge, 2000; Gilbert, 1981; Talley, 1996).4 The question of who is empowered to construct and deploy the discourse of other animals’ sexual behavior is an important one. Class distinctions structuring premodern human/nonhuman animal relations were considerable; those who lived and worked most intimately and intensely with other animals (such as farmers) were likely to be of a less privileged (and less literate) socioeconomic class than, for instance, the aristocracy (whose interactions with nonhumans were mostly confined to sport hunting and feasts) (Thomas, 1984). Discourses of premodern nonhuman animal sexual behavior must therefore be situated in the context of specific sociopolitical power relations, and we must not assume that the textual record represents the opinion of society-at-large. However, we can safely say that

Western ideas about animals and sexuality have long been contradictory and ambivalent, with discourses concerning presence or absence of nonreproductive sex in the animal world circulating through various political and religious webs of power, constructing and regulating “acceptable” forms of human sexual behavior.

Darwinism, Capitalism, and the Reproductive Drive The Industrial Revolution saw a profound shift in human/nonhuman animal relations. Certain kinds of discursively constructed animals (such as “farmed” animals) became increasingly absent in industrial modernity (Vialles, 1994), replaced by other kinds of “useful” animals (“pit ponies” in mining, for example, or rat-catching dogs or cats in factories), a proliferation of “useless” animals like rats and other “vermin” and an increase among the upper classes in the keeping of “pets” (Franklin, 1999, pp. 11–13; Ritvo, 1987; Thomas, 1984). The decreased visibility of other animals living together in large groups (such as “livestock”) meant that (aside from the sexual proclivities of “pets”) the typical modern urbanite had less opportunity to witness nonhuman sexual behavior firsthand than her pastoral, premodern counterpart. It was in this historical context that Darwinian evolutionary theory began its rise to prominence. Whether or not Darwin intended them to, On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871) gave a new, powerful, scientific authority to older Christian ideas of animal sexual behavior as strictly reproductive; indeed, reproductive heterosex constituted a “master narrative in evolutionary discourse” (Terry, 2000, p. 154). But the impact of Darwinian theory was not limited to ideas about animals. By the end of the nineteenth century, Darwinian ← 52 | 53 → ideas about sexual selection and competition had attained a considerable degree of popular cultural authority, both in Britain and the United States, under the rubric of social Darwinism. Cultural historian David Lundblad sums up this simplified view of Darwinian evolutionary theory rather pithily: “survival of the fittest. Kill or be killed. Fight for your mate and pass on your genes” (2010, p. 749).5 Replete with violent and sexual imagery, the so-called “law of the jungle” naturalized the inclination toward both heterosexuality and violence, in both humans and animals, with the assumption being that “animals must be driven essentially, if not exclusively, by heterosexual and violent instincts” (Lundblad, 2010, p. 748). With the rising cultural authority of evolutionary thinking (some of it only loosely related to Darwin), “Nature,” as Mortimer-Sandilands and Erickson put it, “entered sex in powerful ways” (2010, p. 8). It is no coincidence that this period (the end of the nineteenth century) was also when the “species” of the homosexual was born, as Foucault famously asserts in his History of Sexuality Vol. 1 (1978). At this time, burgeoning sexological and scientific discourses shifted the boundaries of the playing field from an earlier focus on the regulation of same-sex acts to a new, medicalized focus on the treatment of a dizzying array of discursively constructed “deviant” identities (Foucault, 1978). As Mortimer-Sandilands and Erickson summate: In short, in the early twentieth century, sexuality became naturalized; an individual’s sexual desires were recoded as expressions of an inherent sexual condition, and that condition was understood in strongly biologized terms…heavily influenced by evolutionary thought. (2010, pp. 7–8)

For the most part, evolutionary thinking entered sexual discourses as a way of condemning sexual perversions (including homosexuality) as “a form of biosocial degeneracy” (Mortimer-Sandilands and Erickson, 2010, p. 9). Heterosexuality here came to be understood as a “natural” not (only) in a religious sense, but in a scientific one as well—“Nature” was, at its fundamental core, characterized as the biological imperative to reproduce. Unsurprisingly, twentieth-century biologists steeped in this dominant scientific paradigm of reprocentrism have had a hard time reconciling their interpretation of evolutionary theory with the undeniable presence of same-sex behaviors in nonhuman species (see Alaimo, 2010; Bagemihl, 1999; Roughgarden, 2006; Terry, 2000). As cultural theorist Stacey Alaimo asserts, the majority of scientists have ignored, refused to acknowledge, closeted or explained away their observations of same sex behavior in animals for fear of risking their reputations, scholarly credibility, academic positions, or heterosexual identity. (2010, p. 54)

When animals’ nonreproductive sexual behavior is too well documented to be simply ignored or denied, it is often elided by denying that such behavior is not really ← 53 | 54 → sexual at all. Rather than being a pleasureseeking activity, same-sex encounters are understood in rather joyless terms as being motivated primarily by some other social function (such as reciprocity, dominance, or submission) (Terry, 2000, p. 154). In his research on wild sheep, for example, biologist Valerius Geist framed the same-sex sexual acts he observed in the language of dominance, as “aggrosexual” rather than homosexual behavior (Geist, in Bagemihl, 1999, p. 107). In an unusually frank quote taken from a publication several years later, Geist admits: I cringe at the memory of seeing old D-ram mount S-ram repeatedly… I called these actions of the rams aggrosexual behavior, for to state that the males had evolved homosexual society was emotionally beyond me. To conceive of those magnificent beasts as “queers”—Oh God! (Geist, in Bagemihl, 1999, p. 107)

This rare flash of candor from within the citadel of the natural sciences illustrates how the “black-boxing” of pleasure (Alaimo, 2010, p. 63), so endemic in scientific discussions of animal homosexual behavior, both reinforces homophobic sentiments and protects the heterosexual identity of the scientist conducting the research.6 This naturalizing of reproductive heterosex (human and nonhuman) under the combined aegis of science and religion had important economic and political dimensions. Marital and reprocentric discourses in the early twentieth century comprised a form of biopower through which the state could attain imperialist and expansionist goals, or achieve standards of racial purity. The subjugation of women under the reproductive imperative effectively enabled (and continues to enable) the production of a new generation of workers (and consumers) (Davies, 1995; Harrison & Mort, 1981; Wittig, 1996 [1972]). Sex and capital can thus be seen as two facets of the same economy (Davies, 1995), with the “compulsory reproduction of the ‘species’ by women [being] the system of exploitation on which heterosexuality is economically based” (Wittig, 1996 [1972]). The state’s interest in reproductive heterosex was thrown into stark relief in early twentieth-century Britain, as declining birthrates provoked panics regarding underpopulation, often articulated through the rubric of national or imperial decline and “race suicide” (Harrison & Mort, 1981; Rowbothom, 1972). Children were characterized

in medical and political discourses of the period as “the capital of a country” (in Davin, 1978, p. 10), with women duty-bound to be “mothers of the race” (Davin, 1978, p. 13). Across the Atlantic, US president Theodore Roosevelt publicly exhorted middle-class white women to procreate, lest the United States be swamped by “inferior” races, and prominent psychiatrist of sexuality George Henry rebuked homosexuals for their “lack of responsibility for the procreation of the species” (in Terry, 1999, p. 362). In the 1960s, nationalist pressures in postwar United States led to the articulation of homosexuality as a non-procreative “waste,” a threat to the nation and “to the continuity of civilization itself” (Edelman, 1992, p. 278).7 These discourses continue to circulate in contemporary debates over homosexual marriage. In an ← 54 | 55 → academic article entitled “Multiply and Replenish: Considering Same-Sex Marriage in Light of State Interests in Marital Procreation” (Wardle, 2001), law professor Lynn Wardle asserts that “traditional male-female marriage best protects and significantly furthers the state’s interest in responsible procreation” (p. 771). A reiteration of early-twentiethcentury fears of “race suicide” can similarly be discerned in Pope Benedict XVI’s recent denunciation of homosexual marriage as “threaten[ing]…the future of humanity itself” (qtd. in Pullella, 2012, no pagination).8 Just as discourses stressing the importance of human hetero-reproductivity have been implicated in the productivist paradigm of modern capitalism, so too have similar discourses regarding the sexual behavior of other animals. The encouragement (and sometimes enforcement) of nonhuman reproductive sexual behavior has historically been crucial to the systematic exploitation of farmed animals (although this is the less the case in today’s heavily industrialized and biotechnologized animal–industrial complex, with its considerable reliance on artificial insemination technologies) (see Twine, 2010, p. 94). However, as recent US Department of Agriculture–funded studies into homosexual behavior in sheep demonstrate, the economic stakes involved in scientific research into other animals’ sexual behaviors remain high: the studies were (unsurprisingly) conducted with the explicit goal of eliminating nonreproductive sexual behavior in farmed animals by identifying and culling homosexually inclined rams, in the interests of maximizing productivity and profits (McHugh, 2008, p. 154). As cultural theorist Susan McHugh points out, these attempts to lend scientific precision to animal sexual profiling—or, more precisely, the scientists’ equations of sex behaviors with degenerate identities—raise an all-too-familiar specter conjoining genocidal histories of homosexuality with sacrificial histories of animality. (2008, p. 154)

Even when other animals’ nonreproductive sexual behavior is actually enlisted in the service of productivity (such as the practice of encouraging bulls to mount other bulls for the purpose of semen collection for artificial insemination [Twine, 2010, p. 95]), an undeniable sense of transgression lingers in the discourse. In the popular “meet-your-meat” book Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf (2002), for example, writer Peter Lovenheim observes workers vitriolically abusing the penetrated bulls (known as “mounts”): “Come on, you fucking cocksucker!,” one man shouts as he kicks a “mount” in the stomach (p. 38). Lovenheim’s own response to these “mounts” treads the line between sympathetic concern and outright homophobia: reflecting that these animals have “the lowest job in the world,” Lovenheim derisively labels them as “prison bitches” (p. 38). Although the discourse stressing the heterosexuality of other animals may be overridden in the material permutations of

production and profit, such transgressions against the zoological gender norm must, it appears, be vigorously denounced. ← 55 | 56 →

Coming Out of the Zoological Closet Recent scholarly and popular work has begun to collect and consolidate the myriad scientific studies on samesex sexual behavior in other animals which have long remained buried in unpublished thesis or obscure footnotes. In the popular science book Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (1999), biologist Bruce Bagemihl collects and synthesizes hundreds of examples of nonreproductive sexual behavior in animals, arguing strongly and enthusiastically for the need for a new, more encompassing paradigm in the way we think about both animals and sexual plurality. From the “vibrant transsexualities” (Bagemihl, 1999, p. 6) of coral reef fish, to the elaborate gestural language used by bonobos to initiate both hetero- and homosexual encounters, Bagemihl’s book emphasizes that “the animal world—right now, here on earth—is brimming with countless gender variations and shimmering sexual possibilities” (Bagemihl, 1999, p. 6). Biologist Joan Roughgarden’s Evolution’s Rainbow: Gender and Sexuality in Nature and People (2006) similarly collects and celebrates examples of sexual diversity within the animal world. Like fellow transperson biologist Myra Hird (2008), Roughgarden calls attention to the grave oversimplifications that tend to get made in scientific discussions of “gay” animals, and urges scientists to be attentive to the multiplicities within animal genders. Animals like the bluegill sunfish, for example—which has three distinct male morphs, two of whom must engage in courtship behavior with each other in order for any to reproduce with females—can provide special challenges for scientific observers not open to the idea of radical sexual diversity (see McHugh, 2008, p. 158). Roughgarden gives a personal example to illustrate her point—back when she still identified as male and was studying lizards, Roughgarden’s own incuriosity about other animals’ genders led her to overlook some of their complicated sexual and gender interactions (McHugh, 2008, p. 158). As Foucault points out, medical and judicial discourses aimed at controlling the “species” of the homosexual (and other “perverts”) made possible the formation of a “reverse” discourse: homosexuality began to speak on its own behalf, to demand that its legitimacy or “naturality” be acknowledged, using the same categories by which it was medically disqualified. (1972, p. 101)

The increasing acknowledgment of other animal’s sexual diversity in scientific discourse has been an integral component in the mobilization of this reverse discourse of naturalized homosexuality. Both Bagemihl and Roughgarden’s book explicitly link their studies of nonhuman sexual behavior to a politics of tolerance toward human sexual diversity (Lazafanos, 2011), and a recent Norwegian exhibition of photographic and sculptural depictions of animal homosexual behavior, provocatively entitled “Against Nature?,” explicitly rejected the oftrepeated homophobic ← 56 | 57 → condemnation that homosexuality is “against nature” by outing the sexual plurality of various animal species (see Alaimo, 2010, p. 52). A string of high-profile “gay” zoo animals have also firmly etched the existence of nonreproductive, homosexual behavior in nonhumans upon the popular

consciousness—even as they incite righteous ire among the United States’ homophobic religious right (Sturgeon, 2010). For some LGBT activists, however, “gay penguins” like Roy and Silo in New York’s Central Park Zoo, who were provided with a surrogate egg which they successfully raised into a healthy chick named Tango, are “proof” of the naturalness of gay marriage—social media network “Facebook” even features a group entitled “Homosexuality is Natural,” illustrating their point with numerous examples of homosexual behavior in other animals ( (

Conclusion: Natureculture Wars The recent renaissance in popular and scientific awareness of animal sexual diversity represents a new chapter in the stories that animals help us tell about ourselves (Terry, 2000, p. 151). These stories are frequently used as ammunition in the culture wars surrounding human sexuality, with some activists arguing that the fact that homosexual behavior can be observed in animals validates human homosexuality as “natural,” and not at all the “unnatural” abomination that it has all-too-often been labeled. This naturalizing of sexuality, however, sits rather uncomfortably with the staunchly anti-essentialist stance of queer and feminist theory and politics (Sturgeon, 2010, p. 139). Aside from the obviously problematic transfer of historically and culturally specific human identity categories (like “gay,” “lesbian,” or “marriage”) onto nonhuman animals (McHugh, 2008), naturalization arguments also risk “simply creat[ing] alternative visions of universal, ahistorical nature to argue their positions” (Lazafanos, 2011, p. 125). While this ahistoricism is troubling in itself, the political implications are even more troubling: through process of naturalization, ideas about sex and gender run the risk of becoming “rigid, fixed and unable to dynamically shift” in relation to queer cultures (Lazafanos, 2011, p. 125). Small wonder that some cultural theorists have argued that animal behavior should not be allowed to tell us anything about human culture (see Chris, 2006). The troubling assumption underlying this assertion is that animal sexual behavior stems solely from genetic programming. As Alaimo (2010) points out, however, the extent to which any sexual orientation could possibly be influenced by genetic factors is a question that is entirely separate from the sexual diversity of animals. Rather than assuming that the “genetic human” is the thing that is equivalent to animality, it would be much more accurate to think of animal sex as both cultural and material. (p. 59) ← 57 | 58 →

Rather than building upon the foundation of a hard-and-fast nature/culture, human/animal divide, with animals relegated to realm of “nature” and humans enjoying sole occupancy of the “culture” side of the equation, cultural theorists must recognize that “nature” and “culture” are rarely (if ever) so easily compartmentalized (Haraway, 2003). Instead of nature/culture, Haraway argues for the need to think in terms of naturecultures, a term evoking the complex, sticky threads of materiality and meaning that inextricably weave together these two supposedly discrete realms (Haraway, 2003). Rather than moving queer sexuality over into the “nature” column of the familiar dualism, or ignoring any insights that might be gleaned from animals because they cannot have any relevance to the “culture” side of the equation, cultural theorists like Haraway, Alaimo (2010), Mortimer-

Sandilands and Erickson (2010), and Lazafanos (2011) stress the need to get beyond this sort of dualistic thinking and instead “directly challenge the split between nature and culture upon which charges of being against nature rely” (Mortimer-Sandilands & Erickson, 2010, pp. 31–32). Anthropocentric explanations that reduce animals to genetic automata patently fail to satisfactorily account for the dizzying array of sexual behaviors that scientists like Bagemihl (1999) and Roughgarden (2006) have so thoroughly documented. While cultural studies scholars should rightly resist labeling sex and gender expressions as “natural,” or simply equating animal sexual behavior with human sexual identity, neither should we ignore this wealth of ethological evidence for fear of inviting the specter of biological essentialism into the discourse of human sexuality—such a specter can only pose a threat within an outdated and rigid paradigm of human/animal and nature/culture dualism.

Notes 1.

I have chosen to avoid using the term “animal” to denote “animals other than human animals,” in order to emphasize that Homo sapiens is, in fact, an animal (not, as Mary Midgely rather puckishly points out, “a machine, a god, or a fairy” [1995 [1979], p. 14]), and also to problematize the anthropocentrism inherent in singling out one animal species (human) while lumping all others under a single signifier (animal) (see Dunayer, 2001; Nibert, 2002, p. xv). Henceforth, I will use the terms “other animals” or “nonhuman animals” (except in direct quotes or in instances when I am describing “the animal” as a figurative or symbolic sociohistorical construct).


For reasons of space and clarity, I will confine my analysis and critique to what is commonly (though not unproblematically) known as Western history and Western societies.


WSW is an abbreviation denoting “women who have sex with women”—the term “lesbian” or even “Sapphic” would be anachronistic here, as neither term was applied to WSW in Ovid’s time.


Indeed, as historian Arthur Gilbert notes, “Sodomy was inextricably linked in Western thought with bestiality” (1981, p. 65)—the two “crimes” were paired in Leviticus, and “in sodomy trials the imagery of animals and bestiality was always in evidence” (p. 66). From ← 58 | 59 → the seventeenth century onward, sodomy and bestiality were often even covered under the same legal statute, both in England and the United States (Fudge, 2000; Talley, 1996).


As many scholars have noted, Darwinian evolutionary theory emphasized cooperation and mutual dependence as well as competition (Midgely, 1983, p. 24; Mortimer-Sandilands & Erickson, 2010, p. 11).


Another tactic used by modern biologists to explain away the nonreproductive sexual behavior of other animals puts a new twist on old ideas of homosexual behavior as a sign of social degeneration (Foucault, 1978). Same-sex sexual behavior in animals has thus been pathologized, quite arbitrarily, as an effect of pollution: the supposed “effeminization” of bald eagles in the Great Lakes must be due to pollution, for example, or the presence of same-sex sexual behavior between female seagulls must point to some looming environmental catastrophe (MortimerSandilands & Erickson, 2010, p. 11). In an interesting example of the convoluted feedback loop between repro-centric evolutionary theory and human bigotry, this “pollution” argument has also been used to pathologize human transgendered individuals (Lazafanos, 2011, pp. 74–102).


Nor have ostensibly anti-capitalist societies been exempt from these sorts of discourse: in 1930s Russia, “[n]onreproductive sexuality came to be seen as a deviation from socialist reconstruction. Individual pleasure had to be subordinated to the needs of the state” (Rowbothom, 1972, p. 60). Nazi discourses encouraging German citizens of

“Aryan stock” to procreate can be seen as another example of how reprocentric discourses are pressed into the service of nationalist and racist ideologies (Davin, p. 13). 8.

Two points are important to bear in mind here: firstly, that the explosion of discourses classifying sexual “deviance” in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries did not simply repress, but instead played a key role in the proliferation of queer sexual subjectivities (Foucault, 1978); and secondly, that non-normative sexualities should not necessarily be positioned as anti-capitalist or anti-state in opposition to supposedly state-serving heterosexuality. Many theorists have argued that capitalism can be seen to provide the framework for the production and proliferation of homosexual identities, and that the capitalist system “has no investment in normalizing desire, only in identifying and exploiting the new markets that the multiplication of desiring economies produces” (Davidson, 2001; D’Emilio, 1993; Hurley, 1996, p. 169).

References Agamben, G. (2004). The open: Man and animal (K. Attell, Trans.). Stanford, CT: Stanford University Press. Alaimo, S. (2010). Eluding capture: The science, culture and pleasure of “queer” animals. In C. Mortimer-Sandilands & B. Erickson (Eds.), Queer ecologies: Sex, nature, politics, desire, (pp. 51–72). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Bagemihl, B. (1999). Biological exuberance: Animal homosexuality and natural diversity. New York, NY: St Martin’s Press. Barthes, R. (1973). Mythologies. London: Paladin. ← 59 | 60 → Boswell, J. (1980). Christianity, social tolerance, and homosexuality. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. Chris, C. (2006). Watching wildlife. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Darwin, C. (1859). On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (1st ed.). London: John Murray. Retrieved from itemID=F373&viewtype=text&pageseq=1 ( itemID=F373&viewtype=text&pageseq=1) Darwin, C. (1871). The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex (1st ed.). London: John Murray. Retrieved from ( Davidson, G. (2001, September). Liberation, commodity culture and community in ‘the golden age of promiscuity.’ Australian Humanities Review. Davies, M. (1995). The heterosexual economy. Australian Feminist Law Journal, 5, 27–48. Davin, A. (1978). Imperialism and motherhood. History Workshop, 5, 9–65. D’Emilio, J. (1993). Capitalism and gay identity. In H. Abelove, M. A. Barale, & D. M. Halperin (Eds.), The lesbian and gay studies reader (pp. 467–476). New York, NY: Routledge. Derrida, J. (2002). The animal that therefore I am (more to follow) (D. Wills, Trans.). Critical Inquiry, 28, 369–418. Dunayer, J. (2001). Animal equality: Language and liberation. Derwood, MD: Ryce Publishing. Edelman, L. (1992). Tearooms and sympathy, or, the epistemology of the water closet. In A. Parkey, M. Russo, D. Sommer, & P. Yaeger (Eds.), Nationalisms and sexualities (pp. 263–284). New York, NY: Routledge. Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge. London: Routledge. Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality. Vol 1: An introduction. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Franklin, A. (1999). Animals and modern cultures: A sociology of human-animal relations in modernity. London: Sage.

Fudge, E. (2000). Monstrous acts: Bestiality in early modern England. History Today, 50, 8. Gilbert, A. N. (1981). Conceptions of homosexuality and sodomy in Western history. Journal of Homosexuality, 6(1), 57–68. Haraway, D. J. (2003). The companion species manifest: Dogs, people and significant otherness. Chicago, IL: Prickly Paradigm Press. Haraway, D. J. (2008). When species meet. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Harrison, R., & Mort, F. (1981). Patriarchal aspects of nineteenth century state formation: Property relations, marriage and divorce, and sexuality. In I. P. Corrigan (Ed.), Capitalism, state formation and Marxist theory (pp. 79–111). New York, NY: Quartet Books. Hird, M. J. (2008). Animal trans. In M. J. Hird & N. Giffney (Eds.), Queering the non/human (pp. 227–247). Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate. Hurley, K. (1996). The gothic body: Sexuality, materialism, and degeneration at the Fin de Siecle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lazafanos, C. (2011). Trans natures: An ecocultural study of trans discourse (Unpublished MA thesis). York University, Toronto, Canada. Lovenheim, P. (2002). Portrait of a burger as a young calf. New York, NY: Harmony Books. ← 60 | 61 → Lundblad, M. (2010). Epistemology of the jungle: Progressive-era sexuality and the nature of the beast. American Literature, 81(4), 747–773. McHugh, S. (2008). Animal (and) queer theories. GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, 15(1), 153–169. Midgely, M. (1983). Animals and why they matter. London: Routledge. Midgely, M. (1995 [1979]). Beast and man. London: Routledge. Mills, S. (2004). Discourse. London: Routledge. Mortimer-Sandilands, C., & Erickson, B. (2010). Introduction: A genealogy of queer ecologies. In C. Mortimer-Sandilands & B. Erickson (Eds.), Queer ecologies: Sex, nature, politics, desire (pp. 2–47). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Nibert, D. (2002). Animal rights/human rights: Entanglements of oppression and liberation. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Pullella, P. (2012, January 9). Pope Benedict XVI: Gay marriage a threat to “future of humanity.” Huffington Post. Retrieved from ( Ritvo, H. (1987). The animal estate: The English and other creatures in the Victorian age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Rothenberg, B. (2012, January 4). Margaret Court defends her views on gay marriage. New York Times. Retrieved from ( Roughgarden, J. (2006). Evolution’s rainbow: Diversity, gender and sexuality in nature and people. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Rowbothom, S. (1972). Women, resistance, and revolution. New York, NY: Pantheon Books. Salisbury, J. E. (1994). The beast within: Animals in the Middle Ages. London: Routledge.

Sturgeon, N. (2010). Penguin family values: The nature of planetary environmental reproductive justice. In C. MortimerSandilands & B. Erickson (Eds.), Queer ecologies: Sex, nature, politics, desire (pp. 102–133). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Talley, C. (1996). Gender and male same-sex erotic behavior in British North America in the seventeenth century. Journal of the History of Sexuality, 6(3), 385–408. Terry, J. (1999). An American obsession: Science, medicine and homosexuality in the nineteenth century. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Terry, J. (2000). “Unnatural acts” in nature: The scientific fascination with queer animals. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 6(2), 151–193. Thomas, K. (1984). Man and the natural world. London: Penguin. Twine, R. (2010). Animals as biotechnology: Ethics, sustainability and critical animal studies. London: Earthscan. Vialles, N. (1994). Animal to edible. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Wardle, L. D. (2001). Multiply and replenish: Considering same-sex marriage in light of state interests in marital procreation. Harvard Journal of Law &Public Policy, 24, 771–814. Wittig, M. (1996 [1972]). The category of sex. In M. Wittig (Ed.), The straight mind and other essays. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. ← 61 | 62 →

← 62 | 63 →



In his article “History of Male Homosexuality,” David Halperin proposes that simple sexual object choice— what he sees as an “exercise in erotic connoisseurship” (2000, p. 98)—in late antiquity and medieval contexts did not correspond to an expression of sexuality as such, at least not in the way we understand it today; indeed, “it [was] more like vegetarianism than homosexuality” (p. 98). In this circumstance, we can deduce that, by way of comparison, vegetarianism can have ethical or aesthetic provenance, but it does not “necessarily function…as a marker of difference” (p. 98). Now, Halperin’s immediate focus is not vegetarianism, and I do not wish to enlist him as a straw man for my argument; rather, my aim is to promote vegetarianism as a viable topic of inquiry for Queer Studies. Since, historically, deviating from eating meat has carefully been tied to the discursive production of masculinity—and not simply in terms of aberration or one’s momentary preference for a certain food object—vegetarianism (and more apposite my essay, veganism) comes to constitute a set of gendered acts that are linked to the whole of what signifies as male (and female), which certainly includes sexuality. In other words, vegetarianism and veganism are much more complex than what Halperin’s casual simile would otherwise indicate. In this essay, I will thus ask the following: What does it mean for a person to declare their veganism to the world? How does the transition from one diet to another impact one’s sense of self? While it is true that, as Lorna Piatti-Farnell ← 63 | 64 → writes, “[f]ood is dynamic, malleable and subject to interpretation” (2011, p. 1), there are certain, long-established traditions and conventions that govern how and what we eat. In this regard, veganism calls into question preconceived notions of what a “proper” diet consists of and, hence, how life is properly lived in contemporary Western liberal societies. Additionally, veganism challenges the foundational character of how we “act out” our selves—not least of all in the context of sexuality and gender—when we consider the performative aspect involved in eating different foods. It cannot be denied that, time and time again, the tenets of veganism are rendered suspect in relation to sexuality and reproduction.

Famously, in The Sexual Politics of Meat ([1990] 2010), Carol Adams traces how different ways of eating have been employed to maintain clear gender boundaries in the Western world and elsewhere.1 Erika Cudworth affirms this fact in a recent article, “‘The Recipe for Love’? Continuities and Changes in the Sexual Politics of Meat,” where she identifies a “food hierarchy in which red meats have been associated with masculinity and white meats, fish and dairy products associated with femininity” (2010, p. 81). As a consequence, meat consumption has become a powerful way of asserting or performing one’s masculinity. Even the mode by which meat is prepared is gendered. Cudworth highlights how “roasting,” for men, has become the favored way of cooking meat, as it leaves the meat with a raw, bloody appearance that draws on “mythologies of masculine strength and virility deriving from animal blood” (2010, p. 89); on the other hand, “boiling” meat is “associated with frugality,” and “stewing” is considered “mundane” and therefore domestic, feminine (p. 81). This appears to be in line with Adams’ conclusion that, in the main, “[r]efusing meat means a man is effeminate” (2010, p. 63); effeminacy, however, cannot unequivocally be grouped with homosexuality, as Halperin reminds us.2 Nevertheless, vegans—and most noticeably so, male vegans—are stigmatized by general society to the extent that, borrowing from Lee Edelman, they fail “to comply with heteronormative mandates” (2004, p. 17) of eating, which, in reality, as Carmen Dell’Aversano puts it in her radical assessment of the “normal” Western diet, is “[l]earning to eat [in a way that] implies being indoctrinated in an attitude of callousness towards physical and psychological torture, pain, fear and ultimately murder” of nonhuman animals (2010, p. 82). Despite this, from the position of dominant meat-eating society, veganism is considered odd, or indeed queer. Becoming vegan is a direct response to the discursive mechanisms of “anthronormative” society, and, in this way, veganism shares a bond with recent developments (or reconfigurations) in queer theory. The queering of veganism entails, in Noreen Giffney and Myra Hird’s words, “the continual unhinging of certainties and the systematic disturbing of the familiar” (2008, p. 4). Etymologically speaking, “queer,” as Eve Sedgwick has pointed ← 64 | 65 → out, “means across,” and the term itself has spun “outward along dimensions that can’t be subsumed under gender and sexuality at all” (1993, pp. xii, 9). In line with this, we can say that veganism’s “affective involvement” (Parisi, 2008, p. 290) with species other than the human directly expresses a desire to transverse the boundaries that uphold and police the categories that separate the human from the nonhuman. In my treatment of veganism I will thus appropriate Dell’Aversano’s view that “queer” is a “subversive enterprise,” aimed at “denaturalization” (2010, p. 74)3 in general, and not merely, strictly speaking, in relation to questions of sexuality. In this way, veganism, due to the connotations that attach to different dietary habits, involves a critical consideration of the gendering of food and how identities are shaped around what we eat. As a result, my concern in this text is not so much “the queering of the human-animal barrier” (Dell’Aversano, 2010, p. 100), but rather I aim to examine the sociocultural aspect of veganism as a marker of identity and the discursive tug-of-war that follows. For this reason, I will not linger with the question of animal exploitation or that of inter-spetial affect long; I defer instead to other more proficient studies on this point.4 I am interested in the potential of veganism to disrupt the firmly ensconced view that meat-eating and masculinity are naturally linked—even in a genealogical sense. As Adams states, “meat represents [one’s male] ancestors’ food and provides a sense of continuity” (2010, p. 200), and, further, since taste is connected to

memory and positive or negative affect we generally have a tendency to seek out that which, according to Elsepeth Probyn, “tastes of memories, and activates aspiration, gratitude, desire or recognition” (2000, p. 147); following this, it becomes apparent that food consumption is inscribed with a certain sense of teleology: “The sensorial perception of food,” Piatti-Farnell writes, serves as “a starting point for future perceptions, in which past and present become embodied through consumption” ( 2011, pp. 8–9). We might say, then, that eating attaches to a certain wish or expectation for the future—the furthering of familial bonds, for example. But the kind of meat consumed today does not belong to the same category as that of yesteryear, and neither have the animals of the modern agricultural system been treated in a similar manner. Meat-eating culture merely presumes “the normativeness and centrality of their activity” (Adams, 2010, p. 201). We can expect, therefore, that as a minority (especially male) vegans will be rendered deviant by normative society. In response to the ordering of society according to a male perspective, Adams, in her historical survey, suggests that vegetarianism became a way for marginalized women to silently oppose their oppression (2010, p. 213). However, refusing meat, I will argue, does not only involve taking a stance against patriarchal culture, as Adams suggests; it is also, specifically, a way of resisting heteronormativity, since meat-eating for men and, perhaps to a lesser degree, for ← 65 | 66 → women is tied to the rhetorical as well as the actual reproduction of heterosexual norms and practices. We might then appropriate Sara Ahmed’s central question in her discussion of “the affective potential of queer” as a category of anti-normative being: “Do queer moments happen when this failure to reproduce norms as forms of life is embraced or affirmed as a political and ethical alternative?” (2004, p. 146). As is well known, according to Judith Butler, different “acts, gestures, enactments,” specific to each gender, combine to produce “a false stabilization of gender in the interests of the heterosexual construction and regulation of sexuality within the reproductive domain” ([1990] 1999, pp. 173, 172). As a man, in this manner, refusing to partake in the proscribed consumption of meat disrupts the discourse on male sexuality and gender. In the way that different food items carry specifically gendered connotations (i.e., meat: masculine), we see how male vegans become a problem within heterosexual discourse. We are not far here from viewing the “vegan” as a subspecies of the “pervert” (read: homosexual) in Michel Foucault’s analysis from the first volume of his History of Sexuality ([1976] 1998; see especially pp. 42–43 on this point). In this manner, declaring one’s veganism to the world can almost be compared to the act of coming out for queer-identified individuals. For example, when I told my parents that I was adopting the vegan diet my mother broke into tears with the words, “how will I ever be able to cook for you again?!” The unintended disruption that my veganism caused in my childhood home felt very queer to say the least: my mother’s role as nurturer was put in jeopardy—in her own view—and each meal that I would henceforth share with my family had the potential to serve as a challenge to anthropocentric dietary habits; more to the point, I would become a “killjoy” at the family table—as the one “who gets in the way of [the] organic solidarity” centered around eating (Ahmed, 2010, p. 213)—by implicitly disavowing not only animal-based foods but, more importantly, the form of togetherness that the traditional family dinner represents. The function of the dinner table as what Ahmed refers to as a “kinship object” (p. 46) —the locus of familial coherence—came in danger of being undermined by my decision to go vegan; fellowfeeling as an affective force could no longer pass unhindered between me and the other members of my family.

In this manner, by disaffirming the killing of other species, vegans might actually, and ironically, come to “kill” “the joy of the family” (p. 49). No more “happy” meals. And not only that, the heterocentrist ordering of the family space was called into question, as, the implication ran, my mother might not in future be able to continue the same level of feminine “service work” (Cudworth, 2010, p. 82) that she had been used to performing for me and the rest of my family in the past. All things considered, we should be careful not to equate the stigma of veganism with homosexuality, since we all know who figure more frequently as victims of hate-crimes (although, to ← 66 | 67 → be fair, to my knowledge, no statistics on violence against vegans exist—certainly not queer-identified vegans). Nevertheless, sharing concerns raised by queer theorists, it is precisely by insisting on its disruptive qualities and—although not my immediate focus here—“improper” concern for other species that I read veganism as queer. I do not wish to hide the fact that the view on veganism I will present in the following is anything but polemical. This is why I have opted to include “manifesto” in the title of my essay. As most other authors writing in the tradition of the manifesto style, I wish to make “manifest” a certain grievance in relation to society at large. However, my contribution to this particular genre is decidedly not steeped in the language of progress, which seems to have been the core ingredient of previous manifestos (see Latour, 2010, p. 3); nor do I rush to support José Esteban Muñoz’s assertion that a manifesto must necessarily be “a call to a doing in and for the future” (2009, p. 26).5 And my text ought perhaps not be called a manifesto proper at all. Rather than defining a program for future action, my manifesto (in implied quotation marks) seeks to call attention to the problematic act of framing the future according to present discontents, however radical it might appear on the page. The veganism that I present in the following is not concerned with imagining a utopic future without meat—where veganism itself would become a moot concept. Instead, I am interested in thinking about veganism as a form of what Ahmed calls “shared deviation” (2010, p. 196). What is so radically uncomfortable about queer veganism is the willingness to “cause unhappiness by revealing the causes of unhappiness” (p. 196). By saying no to animal products we make it harder for other people to disregard what their culinary contentment is predicated on: the brutality of the animal product industry and their own complicity in the death of millions. Certainly, happiness is difficult to sustain in the face of overwhelming suffering. Becoming vegan is learning—everywhere and always—to challenge and negate the inherited norm of anthrocentrism. Queer veganism affirms deviation; queer veganism institutes a gap in the communal bond inherent to sharing and feasting on the flesh of nonhuman animals. The motto of queer veganism might then read: share negativity! Share in becoming the deviant cause of unhappiness in a system of animal exploitation. Deviance, in other words, is the manifest linchpin of my text— that which ensures the interlocking of “queer” and “vegan.” Veganism is still considered a rogue topic for many scholars in the humanities and social sciences,6 and I don’t presume that the queer bent of my approach will change this. By drawing on a number of examples from both mass media and within the ranks of veganism/animal rights, I will show how veganism invariably is filtered through a normative lens. What follows is my queer intervention in the debate on veganism. At the same time, for reasons that will become apparent, I ← 67 | 68 → don’t advocate for what would amount to a paradigm shift in the discourse on Western food consumption. While on a fundamental level I agree with Marc Bekoff that the

status quo of “what we buy, where we live, who we eat, who we wear, and even family planning”—the latter being of particular interest to me—“has wreaked havoc on animals and Earth” (2010, p. 2), I will refrain from couching my argument in the language of revolution.7 History has shown us that the romantic ideal of revolution is poorly equipped to accept or adequately deal with the surprises and unexpected occurrences of what postcolonial scholar David Scott has referred to as “worldly life,” which namely acknowledges “that we cannot make ourselves entirely immune to the vagaries of misfortune, to calamities, say, or loss or bodily desire” (2004, p. 182). This specifically “tragic” view of history fits well with queer veganism, as it is here recognized that the emphasis on liberation and revolution in establishing the vegan identity puts us on a slippery slope toward totalitarianism—even as this is rarely accepted by the “movement.” Employing Edelmanian phraseology, queer veganism should be thought of not in terms of identity, then, but rather as a radically unassimilable force, which will always oppose the oppositional insistence of the social order; rather than disavowing the “meat-eater” as constituting a certain identity—although I recognize the importance of doing so to an extent—it appears much more crucial, and dare I say productive, to critique the very structuring and mobilization of subjectivities as such, since it is the same binarizing—or “othering”—impetus behind this operation that is ultimately responsible for the construction of the human/animal divide. Dell’Aversano sums up well the primary focus of the queer critique of identity: Queer does not aim at consolidating or stabilizing any identity, least of all its own, but has as its ultimate purpose a critique of identity, which should not lead to the hegemony of a new or alternative identity, but to the demise of the category of identity as such, by making conscious and calling into question the performance that makes us and others what we “are.” (2010, p. 103)

The queer polemics of Lee Edelman’s book No Future will thus be adopted as a way of reading veganism as the figural and literal resistance to the dominant social order, which is predicated on a discursive formation that stresses the superiority of human life and legitimatizes the means by which we make use of other species to sustain ourselves. At the same time, sexual norms and expectations of gender roles blend with the anthropocentric drive of the Western discourse on life; in other words, certain subject positions must be produced over and over, in order to maintain the image of the body politic as a coherent whole. This affects not only male sexuality, of course. We should not be surprised to learn that female subjectivity, for example, has been inflected by the consumption of specific animal ← 68 | 69 → products, such as eggs and dairy, which, according to Cudworth, are considered “‘feminized foods,’ not only because they are associated with female consumption, but because they are by-products of the reproductive systems of female animals” (2010, p. 79). Consequently, in the following section I will examine a number of different ways in which male and female vegan bodies come into contact with heterocentrist, normalizing processes.

Veganism, Pathology, and “Normification” The shape that “life” takes in Western societies is the controversial issue that I will contend with here. That a certain way of life has become the norm in the West is, according to Michel Foucault, “the historical outcome of

a technology of power centered on life” ([1976] 1998, p. 144). In his by now famous phrasing, Foucault traces the formation of “a biopolitics of the population,” a series of “regulatory controls” that frame the body according to “the mechanics of life,” in order to have it serve “as the basis of the biological processes: propagation, births and mortality, the level of health, life expectancy and longevity” (p. 139). In normalizing society the body is at the center of attention, and, as we saw with Butler, the “right” body must conform to very specific performances that are intimately linked to gender.8 In regard to veganism, a news story will pop up every so often that tells about “bad” vegans, who—from lack of sufficient dietary knowledge—have caused the death of their infants by not feeding them properly.9 It would therefore seem that the very premise of veganism becomes flawed by association, in that—as a generalized marker of a certain way of living—the habits and behaviors of all vegans can be explained by making reference to their particular choice of food. Essentially, the vegan comes to figure as nothing less than the antithesis to society: vegans subvert the possibility of a future by literally killing “our” children, as any child born into society becomes part of the collective potential to reproduce the foundation of that communality, however imaginary. Nina Planck’s 2007 op-ed piece for the New York Times with the ominous title “Death by Veganism” makes clear how veganism is not only nutritionally inadequate but fails on the level of community as well. She states: “There are no vegan societies for a simple reason: a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run.” As a consequence, veganism is viewed as a “dangerous” diet in dire need of supplementation. A recent counterresponse to this attitude is “vegansexuality,” and I will show later how “disgust” figures as an important means by which a specifically vegan scheme of community and reproduction is produced in opposition to the omnivorous identity according to the same “expulsion– repulsion” dynamic that frames the vegan as “other” in anthronormative discourse. ← 69 | 70 → Vegan bodies regularly come to comprise socially and culturally contested sites of nourishment. The vegan diet is thought to be inherently inferior, and, no matter the degree to which it is supplemented, will never completely live up to the nutritional value of animal-based products. This notion is primarily due to consistent misinformation by the mainstream news media. For example, in a news story from The Sunday Times detailing the hospitalization of a twelve-year-old Scottish girl with a severe form of rickets, veganism is quickly identified as the culprit (Macaskill, 2008). Rickets—which can lead to permanent bone deformity—primarily affects the spine, and is brought about by vitamin D deficiency. So much is clear. The reporter then continues to list the main sources of vitamin D: “liver, oily fish and diary produce.” However, the article fails to specify that the main source of vitamin D is direct sunlight.10 Actually, this essential vitamin is produced, photochemically, in the skin. If, in this case, veganism is considered to provoke a certain nutritional deficiency, once identified, the young vegan girl is made susceptible to stigmatization on the basis of her lacking, “harmful” diet. With reference to Erving Goffman’s classic study Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity, we can then say that veganism becomes a “trait that can obtrude itself upon attention” ([1963] 1986, p. 5); it has the potential to discredit the individual vegan, depending on the specific social setting. The stigma of veganism, therefore, goes beyond mere dietary deficiencies: one’s diet can actually break social bonds (p. 5). The potential dangers of vegetarian or vegan diets are further emphasized in an article released by ABC News in 2009 titled “Vegetarian Teens May Face Higher Eating Disorder Risk.” The journalist paraphrases Dr. Neal

Barnard from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as saying that “it [is] likely that some teens simply use[d] vegetarianism as a cover for their unhealthy eating habits.” The title itself insures that the reader is instilled with a bias against vegetarian diets on the very threshold of the article. Toward the end of the article, parents of vegetarian teens are encouraged to exert greater control over their children. We are led to believe that the decision to abstain from eating animal products is, in some cases, likely to be derived from the teen’s own personal pathology; and, thus, the reasoning goes, young vegetarians would benefit from a higher level of parental surveillance. As Dr. Barnard further warns, “parents should make an effort to spend time with their teens at mealtime to ensure that they are eating a healthy diet.” In this light, vegetarianism can be viewed as a symptom of the “sick” child’s obsessive compulsion to lose weight. Eating disorders are typically—if mistakenly—associated with young women, and, as such, vegetarianism is once more linked to the specificities of gender. Indeed, the issue of gender always seems to linger in close proximity to any discussion of vegetarianism or veganism. Anorexia is one example of this, and some studies suggest that vegetarianism might function as a veil to hide a person’s underlying disorder, ← 70 | 71 → thus adding to the “mystique” of the female constitution.11 Ritualism is seen to be the connecting link between vegetarianism and so-called disordered eating, but what constitutes ritualistic behavior in this instance, and why does meat-eating usually not qualify? Is it perhaps because the consumption of meat is a foundational element in the teleology of society and the ideology of reproduction? According to Probyn, anorexia produces an “aesthetic and controlled” body (2000, p. 7), the image of which, we should remind ourselves, has strong ties to the tradition of the “hysterization of women’s bodies” (Foucault, [1976] 1998, p. 104). As Foucault has pointed out, the pathologizing of women’s bodies, of course, has traditionally served a very specific social function. The female anorexic, in the tradition of the bourgeoisie that Foucault outlines, becomes classified under the rubric of “the ‘idle’ woman” (p. 121), and, hence, the young woman who refuses “normal” nourishment radically swerves from the path leading to the proper emergence of adulthood. Her “destiny charged with conjugal and parental obligations” (p. 121) is violently jeopardized by her inadequate way of eating. Additionally, as Adams has demonstrated, in the nineteenth century female vegetarianism was associated with “chlorosis,” which was a medical condition closely related to anemia (2010, p. 210). Since anemia disrupts the menstrual flow, not eating meat, medical professionals and laypeople alike believed, thus impacted female sexuality in a negative way. Concerns over female consumption have a substantial history in the West. Even today, female children’s vegetarianism should therefore, we are told, be carefully scrutinized—if not outright condemned—by the responsible parent, in order to guarantee the proper growth of the child, who in turn will come to fulfill her filial duty as a productive, fertile, and thus “happy” citizen. Consequently, ABC News implicitly propagates the view that vegetarianism can somehow be coupled with a phobic relation to food, if not a psychological disorder. This corresponds to Adams’ assertion that dominant society “distort[s] the radical cultural critique of vegetarianism” (2010, p. 197) by obscuring the harm that the animal agriculture industry inflicts on the natural world. Moreover, this distortion spreads to and influences the vegan’s self-understanding, which is further harmed by how omnivores have reacted to the question of veganism and sexuality. As Annie Potts and Jovian Parry demonstrate in their survey of online responses to the phenomenon of so-called vegansexuality: “Vegans…are [often]

portrayed as joyless pleasure-deniers, many of whom secretly long to sate their carnal appetites by indulging in both meat-eating and sex with meat-eaters” (2010, p. 60). The connection to Ahmed’s notion of the queer “killjoy” is here obvious. The charge of austerity or prudishness has the effect that vegans themselves often attempt to normalize or simplify the requirements of a vegan lifestyle, thus circumventing the accusation of asceticism or self-abnegation that is so prevalent in the popular discourse on veganism. ← 71 | 72 → As sociologists Petra Sneijder and Hedwig Molder show in their analysis of an online discussion forum devoted to the topic of veganism, vegans use certain discursive devices “to build vegan eating practices as simple and ordinary, thereby rebutting the rhetorical alternative of veganism as a complicated lifestyle” (2009, p. 626). The members of the particular forum that Sneijder and Molder examine tend to draw upon a number of performative speech-acts regarding their diet that the authors label “doing being ordinary” (p. 627). “‘Ordinariness’ is normatively invoked here as the rhetorical alternative for ‘complicatedness’, such that someone who is ‘a vegan but still an ordinary person’ cannot be reproached” (p. 627). This corresponds to Erving Goffman’s (awkward) term “normification,” which, “namely [is] the effort on the part of a stigmatized individual to present himself [sic] as an ordinary person, although not necessarily making a secret of his [socalled] failing” ([1963] 1986, p. 31). In this manner, vegans (at least so far as we can generalize the findings of Sneijder and Molder) will endeavor, to a marked degree, to present their mode of living as being in line with the expectations of social norms.12 Such normalizing tendencies are not restricted to the fairly “localized” narratives of vegan Internet fora. Despite their ostensibly radical framework and devotion to reducing the level of distortion that veganism is filtered through, popular vegan/animal rights organizations are not isolated from the impetus that drives the production of the norm in general society. The Cruelty Doesn’t Fly video with Pamela Anderson produced by PETA will serve as a case in point here. In this video the TV-star/model-turned-animal-rights-spokesperson plays a customs officer in an airport. Instead of the usual regulations on liquids, sharp objects, etc., this particular airport does not allow passengers to wear any kind of clothing derived from animals such as leather and fur on their flights. The first person to approach the security check is a shirtless young male, who Anderson manhandles and then proceeds to crouch in front of him, suggestively in her skimpy outfit, ripping the leather belt from his pants. Only a naked heterosexual couple is allowed to pass security without arousing Anderson’s vigilant suspicions. In other words, they are able to “pass” for “good” vegans; naked as they came, this protoAdam/Eve couple is welcomed into PETA’s normative paradise. With no critical attention to the values they reproduce, PETA presents the viewer with a clear image of the desirable vegan body today: physically fit, very carefully gendered, and, perhaps most problematic of all, white; thus optimized for propagation, there is no doubt as to who will populate PETA’s utopian vegan nation. Veganism has been made as sexy as any other product that corporate America wants us to buy (an entire archive of “sexy” print ads populate PETA’s website). From its position of “otherness,” the vegan body is brought into the limelight of spectacular heterosexuality; PETA has succeeded in normalizing veganism. Of course, in the process they have ← 72 | 73 → managed to get rid of the historically constructed assumption that veganism for males spells effeminacy or gender “inversion.” We must ask ourselves nonetheless: at what cost? Is PETA’s program desirable in the end? How will we be able

to oppose the oppressive mechanisms of society if we blindly reproduce the very logic we, as vegans, supposedly fight against? Rather than insisting on a “norm” of veganism, I want to emphasize the queerness of veganism, as that which, to employ a phrase from Edelman, “chafes against ‘normalization’” (2004, p. 6). This is done in order to problematize the “privilege of heteronormativty”—which at the same time is the privilege of anthronormativity —as the “organizing principle of communal relations” (p. 2). Becoming vegan is therefore also becoming queer in all its “abjectified difference” (p. 26), to quote from Edelman once more. If we wish to effectively and forcefully challenge the system behind animal exploitation it becomes crucial to examine and expose all the various discourses that make up that system. At the same time, this means abandoning the idea that veganism can exist in the mainstream without being “hailed” by the project of normalization. We should not refer to veganism as a lifestyle. Veganism shares the “hopeless” queer ethics of Edelman, as both positions subscribe to a refusal to carry on, or reproduce, the social order of anthro/heteronormativity. Assimilation is not an option. By drawing on a number of examples, my focus in this text so far has been to provide a basis for how we can begin to approach the subject of a vegan queer ethics, predicated on the potential involved in embracing deviation. It is by negating the idea of identity as teleology that we might learn how to share our “selves” across species boundaries. Effectively, the only way of thinking communion with nonhumans is simply to recognize that we, as a species, are not separated from “them” as such: to invoke Luciana Parisi, our lived “experience extends outside the living towards the entire nature—including the smallest parts, atoms, electrons, and so on” (2008, p. 302). The relation is the becoming. To be sure, as Cary Wolfe puts it, “the only way to the ‘there’ in which the animals reside is to find them ‘here,’ in us and of us” (2003, p. 207). In other words, the abject is localizable within the human body-self. Largely, however, in the Western world the vegan body is viewed as deficient, and its very presence disturbs the social order. But the human body is always in a state of lack—it is never stable, nor ever perfectly healthy or “at rest.” Nonetheless, by embracing the queer position of radical otherness—which translates to the “refusal to be optimistic about ‘the right things’ in the right kind of way” (Ahmed, 2010, p. 162)—we are at the same time able to think relations that are not marked by a human specificity. The human condition itself is constantly exposed to “contamination” from the outside, veganism merely foregrounds this fact. We might like to pretend that biological life is under the ← 73 | 74 → domain of the human—indeed most of us continue to eat as if it were—and, yet, this is unequivocally not so. In the end, it is not contradictory—in the anthronormative view—to take the meaning of life to include the death of other animals. It is life such as this that the vegan—blatantly queer or not—must refuse.

A Question of Life and/or Death? Perhaps the reason that veganism is despised or at the very least rendered suspicious by dominant meat-eating culture is namely because it does not shy away from the fact of death. Be it in the shape of actual images of violence in the animal agriculture industry or textual and oral evidence, veganism as a discourse is suffused with the tenets of death and suffering; some may even call the language of animal activism morbid. This is ironic

when we consider that veganism, as I have shown, is often considered an irresponsible diet, or even a source of mortal harm. I bring up this issue because I think it is important to think about how we invoke the life/death binary when we theorize veganism or advocate for animal rights. As a way of approaching my conclusion, I would thus like to return to Adams’ analysis of the sexual politics of meat. Adams of course aims to reverse the various negative stereotypes of vegetarians and vegans, and she proceeds by pointing to a slew of statistics which indicate that adhering to a vegetable-based diet is significantly healthier than eating meat. There is nothing wrong with making this claim (the different health benefits of a vegan diet seem difficult to deny)—given the context it is even admirable. However, I am apprehensive of the fact that she continues by saying that, “[t]hey [vegetarians as a collective whole] see meat as causing death because of the effects of high-fat diets on one’s susceptibility to cancer and heart disease,” and that, therefore, meat-eating is “not consonant with the human body” ([1990] 2010, pp. 196, 204). By drawing on different anthropological and medical sources, Adams further asserts that the human body is essentially vegetarian (pp. 194–195). This view seems untenable (humans are widely considered to be omnivorous, which is why we can choose not to consume other animals), and, in my opinion, it hardly helps matters to simply reverse the life/death binary (meat consumption/veganism → veganism/meat consumption). Similarly, the fact that humans prepare meat in ways that are radically distinct from other animals (“the use of implements to kill and butcher the animal, the cooking and seasoning of meat” [pp. 197–198]) is not a good objection to eating meat in the first place, since human beings vary from other animals in myriad ways: no other animal participates in wage labor or religious and political practices and structures either, to name but a few examples. Furthermore, simply because humans use tools to ← 74 | 75 → process and prepare the dead animal for consumption does not prove that eating meat is basically unnatural in a human context (many different species surely eat in many different ways, and, yet, we do not consider any of these unnatural). Adams’ text, in effect, suffers greatly from her choice of logic on this point: if A (human) does X differently from B (nonhuman animal) she takes it to mean that the practice of X absolutely separates A from C (nature), the domain of B. Actually, by posing the question, “If meat eating is natural, why do we not do it naturally, like the animals? [my emphasis]” (p. 198). Adams, quite inadvertently, I am sure, comes to reiterate one of the central philosophical justifications for the exploitation of animals. I am here referring to the so-called “tool argument”—the ability of humans to utilize that which is “present-at-hand,” in Heideggerian parlance. She is suggesting that by using tools to prepare meat or other animal ingredients for consumption, we will have demonstrated an “unnatural” relation to our surroundings. This argument appears obviously problematic and inherently flawed when we consider that, as Peter H. Steeves points out, “[s]ome monkeys use stones to smash open nuts and seeds” (2002, p. 234), and species other than humans have thus clearly demonstrated a propensity for using tools. The above might read as a petty critique of a body of work that has unquestionably been widely influential and important for scholars and activists alike (myself included); Adams clearly wants to show that eating meat, to a large extent, is a social and cultural construction, and that the origins of vegetarianism have been subverted by a recent tradition of meat-eating. I am with her so far—and I respect her overall contribution to the field (it would, in fact, not be untoward to argue that she has more or less invented the area of study that I find myself

working within)—but some elements of her argument trouble me. She suggests that the inherent essence of human nature has been silenced by the “carno-phallogocentric” (a term she borrows from Jacques Derrida) impetus of modern, Western society, since, in fact, “the word the human body speaks is vegetarian” (p. 197). This is an obviously hyperbolic claim to make, but, aside from the audacity of her statement, I find the essentializing thrust of her language the more striking still. To all intents and purposes, veganism, for Adams, is no longer simply an ethical choice; it corresponds to a biological fact of the human body. In Adams’ discourse, the human consumption of meat is thus rendered not only immoral but also unnatural, while the vegan body comes to resemble something like the spirit of proper, primordial humanity incarnate. But when is the vegan body vegan enough? Is it ever possible to cleanse oneself of the spiritual pollutants that would have formed in the modern “soul” prior to one’s going vegan? In fact, as Adams herself gestures toward, the problem is not that the essence of the human is separated from its actual, current reality by a field of distortion produced by dominant culture, it ← 75 | 76 → is virtually physically impossible to become 100% vegan. Moreover, not only is animal exploitation firmly embedded within Western culture, simply being in the world is intertwined with violence: nonhuman life must necessarily be sacrificed in order for human existence to emerge and thrive. No matter how ethical we may endeavor to be or become, we cannot help the fact that plant and insect life, as a bare minimum, will perish in the wake of every single human birth. Contrary to popular vegan belief, none of us are “deathless,” and regardless of how many evocative t-shirt designs we choose to purchase we should never delude ourselves into thinking otherwise.13 Deathlessness as a trope indeed seems to be crucial to veganism as a formation of identity. Following a 2006 New Zealand study on the experiences of vegetarians and vegans conducted by the Centre for Human-Animal Studies, two new terms entered the vocabulary: vegansexuality and vegansexuals—the pervasiveness and dissemination of both words mostly came about not surprisingly due to the responses of sensationalist news media, but, in turn, it was quickly picked up by online vegan communities around the world (Potts & Parry, 2010, p. 56). Vegansexaulity refers to the preference of some vegans to only enter into sexual and/or romantic relationships with other vegans—they are vegansexuals. In Annie Potts and Jovian Parry’s article, “Vegan Sexuality: Challenging Heteronormative Masculinity through Meat-Free Sex,” they quote a number of vegans who participated in the study, and the consensus seems to be that bodies sustained on meat and other animal products are at best considered unappetizing to the vegansexual, if not downright disgusting. As a 49-year-old woman puts it: “I couldn’t think of kissing lips that allow dead animal pieces to pass between them,” and yet another: “I believe we are what we consume so I really struggle with bodily fluids, especially sexually” (Potts & Parry, 2010, p. 54). This organically motivated attitude is not new to the vegan world, of course, as Potts and Parry also make clear (p. 56). I believe that this form of reaction is caused by two things: the nostalgic belief that —similar to what Adams outlines in her text—through a vegan diet, it is possible to reverse the (damaging) impact that the advent of industrialized food production has had on the human body; and, secondly, the operation of what the father of affect theory, Silvan Tomkins, has called “counter-contempt” (1995, p. 138). In effect, the New Zealand study reports on a crisis in communal relations between vegans and omnivores. Indeed, the notion of community will necessarily be brought to a point of crisis if we react with disgust toward

what the other habitually consumes. Not only is a specific food object rejected—as in Tomkins’ description of how one’s response to disgust, or contempt (he conflates the two), “intends to maximize the distance between the face and the object which disgusts the self” (1995, p. 135)—but the other actually becomes identical to the initial ← 76 | 77 → object of disgust, meat in this case. Evidently, any display of disgust/contempt will more than likely function as an “impediment[] to intimacy and communion,” as Tomkins makes clear (p. 139). Vegansexuality may very well then be the deferred or even displaced response to the contempt that meat-eating culture has been directing against vegans. Certainly, as Tomkins notes, “[i]t is not difficult for one who is treated with contempt to respond with anger” (p. 158), or, in this instance, counter-contempt, which would be the vegan’s way of challenging or rejecting the socializing impetus to internalize claims of inferiority directed at one’s person. Vegansexuality, however, comes to perpetuate the same processes of “othering” that “vegan” as a discursively founded category has been suffused with: the rejection of “meat-bodies”—sexually and ideologically—only strengthens and further solidifies the binary vegan/meat-eater. Furthermore, as any good Foucauldian would have been able to predict, as a classificatory term, vegansexuality inevitably and almost immediately became yet another means of categorizing those others who fail to reproduce the heterosexual norm, and, subsequently, the vegansexual developed as a site of etiological inscription (Potts & Parry, 2010, pp. 55–56). In addition to this, there is a major irony at work here. Dead animal bodies daily pass by vegan “lips”— understood as a figure for the threshold of the self—as it is by internalizing the loss of animal lives that a crucial component of vegan ethics and identity is established. Vegans habitually devour and, in turn, regurgitate the spectral remainder of animal carcasses, as it were, since the daily and constant loss of nonhuman lives that the meat industry is responsible for must continually be remembered and rearticulated in order to sustain one’s motivation for being and remaining vegan; the loss cannot (or must not) adequately be worked through. And perhaps it is even this “morbid” and “stubborn” preoccupation with the death of nonhuman others that renders veganism so markedly queer. The anxious disavowal of death itself by some vegans appears, to my mind, namely to prove this point. Do we, then, fundamentally and continually run the risk of fetishizing the loss of the nonhuman? Veganism itself relies on the sacrifice of animals in order to sustain itself as an identity-defining project, since the goal of veganism—dismantling the animal agriculture industry—would make veganism redundant as a consequence.14

A Hope for the Future? Or, Toward an Ethics of Unforeseeability There can be no vegan future without meat consumption, and, hence, veganism, paradoxically, implies the very suffering that it opposes. In other words, the concept of veganism supports and preserves meat-eating in a discursive system of difference. ← 77 | 78 → As difficult or counterintuitive as it may appear, for veganism to be effective—and this returns us to the queer impetus of my argument—at the very point of its articulation it must turn back on the oppositional position of its social and linguistic structuring. Insofar as veganism anticipates a future without meat and other animal products, it carries with it the promise of an impossible

“realization of meaning that [would nonetheless] suture” (Edelman, 2004, p. 24) the vegan identity by closing the gap between what we know to be the “truth” of “our anatomical makeup” (Adams, [1990] 2010, p. 195) and the flawed—not to say harmful—representation of veganism as engendered by society. In Adams’ view, this would mean filtering out the disruptive waves of discursive distortion that normative culture projects at the vegan self. Notwithstanding the important cultural analysis of her work, Adams’ vegan-feminism finally offers dominant culture nothing but a “reassuringly symmetrical, if inverted depiction of its own ostensibly coherent identity” (Edelman, 2004, p. 24). Once more I unashamedly appropriate Edelman’s rhetoric to make the point that veganism in its current formation (and I am of course speaking very generally here), by insisting that abstaining from nonhuman animal consumption of any kind, can connect us to a more “authentic” relation with our presumably vegetarian past is aggressively nostalgic. Pining for a lost bond with ourselves—as well as nature and other animals—produces a desire for community, which, in Jean-Luc Nancy’s phrasing, merely corresponds to a “belated invention that trie[s] to respond to the harsh reality of modern experience” (1991, p. 10). But, not only that, no matter how dynamic or inclusive we may believe a certain theory of vegan community to be, it will always have to define itself against an outside (meat-eating society, in this instance), which will then be internalized, or devoured rather. And, as such, veganism might very well end up becoming as static and reactionary as the normative structures of society that we oppose. In response to this, I strongly propose that we approach veganism as something that can always only be “tocome,” in the sense that it does not represent a telos but rather one ethical position among many. Veganism is not an umbrella term for ethical behavior in general; it does not correspond to an all-encompassing morality (the Moral position par excellence—that which all other moralities can be measured against). It appears to me invaluable to bear in mind that coming to veganism, or becoming vegan, happens as a response to universalism in general, and it is therefore fitting that veganism as a pure concept is always impossible to sustain or even arrive at. On the one hand, I can articulate the wish to become a more compassionate vegan in general, but, on the other, I will never be able to live up to any ideal concept of compassion thus expressed, for, following Derrida: “I cannot respond to the call, the request, the obligation, or even the love of another, without sacrificing the other other, the other others” (1995, p. 68). Even so, responsibility ← 78 | 79 → in the Derridean sense denotes “a respect for otherness,” and as Derek Attridge comments in his introduction to Derrida’s Acts of Literature: “This responsibility toward the other is also a responsibility toward the future, since it involves the struggle to create openings within which the other can appear beyond any of our programs and predictions” (1992, p. 5). We must here distinguish sharply between futurity as it appears in the Derridean optic and that which Edelman refers to as “reproductive futurity”—the furthering of the body politic through the rearticulation of conservative values pertaining to a heterocentrist ordering of social relations. The responsibility toward the tocome—which Derrida describes as “the experience of a promise engaged, that is always an endless promise” (1992 p. 38)—disengages from the naïveté of liberal politics. Consequently, if veganism can be said to have or allude to a future promise at all it might best be described in terms of what, in reference to Derrida, Marius Timmann Mjaaland calls the structure of “unforeseeability,” which “contains the possibility of a confirmation,

an opening in the direction of a confirmation which surpasses all one’s expectations, goals, and calculations” (2008, p. 77); in our present circumstance, this would entail the confirmation of a veganism that—by queering its own sense of a future—we can depend on to “always contain[] something other than one had expected” (p. 77). We should here hear an echo of Scott’s “tragic historicism” and his openness to the vagaries of life that we encountered earlier. Such an ethic surely involves risk and a level of audaciousness. And what would veganism be without deviance—the unforeseeable relations and outcomes that might come from refusing to participate in the oppression and consumption of nonhuman others? Rather than shying away from the radical potential of veganism through norm-seeking behavior, as according to the tenets of “doing-being-ordinary,” we should acknowledge that daring to be deviant is exhilarating because of the unexpected elements involved—even if this might cause a degree of “unhappiness” around us. This is why unforeseeability thus denotes affirmation rather than anxiety—and that without the stifling clause of reproductive futurity; this is also why—far from being joyless or dully ascetic—veganism is a quite titillating approach to life. Liberalism views the future as the realization of a hope that is nevertheless firmly rooted in a structure of hopeless nostalgia. Veganism is clearly (queerly) disconcerting to liberal futurism—“intolerable” even, in Edelmanian parlance (2007, p. 195)—as it disaffirms the structure that the latter is predicated upon: the survival of the social order, which is—metaphorically and physically—nourished on the death of nonhuman others. While it is not unlikely that Edelman off-hand might want to group veganism with “pious” and naïve utopianism, I believe that I have managed to present it in terms that could be agreeable to even the most “negatively” inclined of queer theorists. Indeed, the promise of becoming vegan—which has not yet been realized ← 79 | 80 → in quite the manner that I imagine it in this text—is to challenge, or queer, always and everywhere, the normative demands that are placed upon our genders, sexualities, and diets; from the persistent assumptions about masculinity and meat-eating to the hetero-graphic images of PETA’s activist campaigns, veganism must appear as the fundamental “troublant” of dominant society (Sedgwick, 1993, p. xii). Troubling, yes, because of its unforeseeable impact.

Notes 1.

Looking at Britain in the nineteenth century, for example, Adams cites “the first national food survey of…dietary habits [conducted] in 1863, which revealed that the major difference in the diet of men and women in the same family was the amount of meat consumed” (2010, p. 51). Moreover, by drawing on the work of Peggy Sanday, Adams is led to state that there is “a correlation between plant-based economies and women’s power and animal-based economies and male power” (p. 59).


According to Halperin, effeminacy should be treated as a category unto itself, since the designation “soft” or “unmasculine,” in a number of different European cultural traditions, could mean either “womanly, or transgendered,” or, on the other hand, that one was a womanizer (2000, p. 93).


It is unfortunate that Dell’Aversano’s otherwise “radical,” queer endeavor—seeing as it is so heavily influenced by Lee Edelman’s work—is marred by her insistence on “rights” as a viable term in relation to the “animal question.” Were we to extend the right of bodily integrity to nonhuman animals, we would have to construct a set of legal rights to administer this moral right. Already we subject other animals to disciplinary practices (in the modern-day factory

farm, through pet training, in circuses, etc.), and it is my concern that we in our efforts to treat animals fairly instead wind up perpetrating new acts of “violence” against them by insisting that they be incorporated into yet more human structures. Since nonhumans cannot properly engage in human discourse, her/his inclusion in a system of rights would always have to be decided by us. Put simply, it will never be possible for an animal to take a stance on the issue of rights, and the rights approach is for this reason insufficient when it comes to determining how to guide our interactions with other animals. Dell’Aversano does implicitly acknowledge this when she emphasizes the “radical unknowability of animals” (2010, p. 102) and thus affirms how animals are barred from becoming subjects in any “real” sense (both in structural and psychoanalytic terms). 4.

On the issue of affect see the aforementioned article, “The Love Whose Name Cannot be Spoken: Queering the Human-Animal Bond” by Carmen Dell’Aversano, as well as Alice A. Kuzniar, Melancholia’s Dog: Reflections on Our Animal Kinship, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals, and Marc Bekoff, Animal Manifesto. For the exploitation of nonhuman animals refer to, for example, Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times, and, of course, the work of Peter Singer and Tom Regan. ← 80 | 81 →


As will become clear, I am sympathetic to Muñoz placing emphasis on that which is “not-yet-conscious” and the future potential for “being” and “doing” things opposite “reproductive majoritarian heterosexuality” (2009, p. 22), but I don’t see how or why a “romance” of hope and optimism rather than one of negativity (p. 1) would be better equipped to show us the way to a future that would finally be queer enough for Muñoz and the rest of us (p. 22); further, if we do not yet know it, how will we finally recognize true queerness when we see it?


I have many times in conversation with other academics had to contend with the accusation that veganism is just another “lifestyle” that has been elevated to a scholarly topic, the implication being, I take it, that vegan scholars are similar to those “others” who have made their own minority status an object of study. This is of course an extremely offensive argument, as the tenets of veganism and various other “deviant” identifications cannot comfortably be subsumed under the “lifestyle” heading, since doing so would ignore the political consequences of one’s position.


In this context, I find it invaluable to keep in mind David Scott’s cautioning words from his book Conscripts of Modernity: “In a moral-political world in which all other values exist only to be overcome or subordinated to a single overarching principle, while we may gain much from the vision and certainty, we also impoverish our readiness for accommodation, for reception, for openness, for yielding” (2004, p. 206).


The basic biopolitical processes outlined here are also found in the farm industry. As Cudworth points out, “Animals’ sexuality and reproductive capacity is appropriated in order to ensure continuity, efficiency and consistency in the production of milk and meat” (2008, p. 42).


Recall, for example, how an Atlanta couple was convicted of murder for having failed to meet their infant’s dietary needs, by feeding him mainly juice and soymilk. On the basis of this and a few similar cases, an article by Nina Planck (2007) in the New York Times argues that, “a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run.”


Naturally, for one reason or another (e.g., during those months of the year when sunlight is scarce) it can become necessary to supplement one’s diet with other sources of vitamin D, which never has to be derived from animals, we should add.


For example, see Klopp, Heiss, and Smith, “Self-reported Vegetarianism May Be a Marker for College Women at Risk for Disordered Eating” (in which only 33% of the “vegetarians” studied did not eat any form of meat!), and Gilbody, Kirk, and Hill, “Vegetarianism in Young Women: Another Means of Weight Control?”, the latter of which states that “[a]dopting a vegetarian diet may…offer the individual with an eating disorder a legitimate means of restricting their intake and an apparently perfect weapon for resisting nutritional rehabilitation [my emphasis]” (p. 88).


If we are to believe a recent “lifestyle” article in the Boston Globe, “hegans” are the newest species of vegans to crop up in our culture (Pierce, 2010). This group encompasses middle-aged males who seem to have turned to veganism as a means of combating obesity or other health-related issues. Not incidentally, the term shares a prefix with “he-man,” signifying quintessential, brawny masculinity. Hegan, then, mainly refers to the tautologically inflected phrase, “a real man’s man”; and yet we find included on the list of hegans Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame and actor Tobey Maguire, who—it is fair to say—are not usually ← 81 | 82 → linked to images of rugged masculinity. It is thus not quite clear just how masculine one is required to be in order to qualify as a proper hegan; the term is fundamentally ill-defined. However, veteran firefighter and triathlete Rip Esseltyn obviously represents the type of hegan the reporter has in mind. Esseltyn anxiously seeks to counter the stereotype that veganism is for “tree-hugging, emaciated weaklings,” and he goes on to ardently insist that “real men eat plants.”


See (


The otherwise intentionally silly novel The Vegan Revolution…With Zombies (in an obvious homage to George Romero’s classis horror film, Dawn of the Dead, the tagline of the book reads: “When there’s no more meat in hell, the vegans will walk the earth…”) by David Agranoff ends on a poignant note as the author considers what the world would look like after the vegan revolution has run its course. In Agranoff’s book, the revolution only happens as a result of a regular zombie apocalypse, induced by the human consumption of a new drug used in the meat industry that would make animals immune to suffering—thereby creating what in the novel becomes known as Stress Free Food; vegans are the only ones not affected by this, and they are left to fend off the hordes of undead who are now looking to consume more than animal flesh. At the end of the book, the aged protagonist, Dani—being the last person alive to have lived through what effectively became the dismantling of civilization as we know it—asks a group of schoolchildren if they “know the word vegan?” (2010, p. 153). As they have never lived in a world of animal exploitation or factory farming, consequently, veganism is an obscure term to them: “They [the children] looked at each other confused. Dani smiled. ‘I suppose you wouldn’t know that word, would you.’ Dani closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. ‘Good for you’” (p. 154).

References Adams, C. ([1990] 2010). The sexual politics of meat: A feminist-vegetarian critical theory. New York, NY: Continuum. Agranoff, D. (2010). The vegan revolution…with zombies. Portland, OR: Deadite Press. Ahmed, S. (2004). The cultural politics of emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Ahmed, S. (2010). The promise of happiness. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Bekoff, M. (2010). The animal manifesto. Novato, CA: New World Library. Butler, J. ([1990] 1999). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York, NY: Routledge. ( Cudworth, E. (2008). ‘Most farmers prefer blondes’: The dynamics of anthroparchy in animals’ becoming meat. Journal for Critical Animals Studies, 6(1), 32–45. Cudworth, E. (2010). ‘The recipe for love’? Continuities and changes in the sexual politics of meat. The Journal for Critical Animal Studies, 8(4), 78–99.

Dell’Aversano, C. (2010). The love whose name cannot be spoken: Queering the human-animal bond. Journal for Critical Animal Studies, 8(1), 73–125. ← 82 | 83 → Derrida, J. (1992). Acts of literature. New York, NY: Routledge. Edelman, L. (2004). No future: Queer theory and the death drive. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Foucault, M. ([1976] 1998). The will to knowledge. London: Penguin Books. Giffney, N., & Hird, M. (2008). Queering the non/human. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Gilbody, S. M., Kirk, S. F., & Hill, A. J. (1999). Vegetarianism in young women: Another means of weight control? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 26(1), 87–90. Goffman, E. (1986). Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Halperin, D. (2000). How to do the history of male homosexuality. GLQ, 6(1), 87–124. Klopp, S. A., Heiss, C. J., & Smith, H. S. (2003). Self-reported vegetarianism may be a marker for college women at risk for disordered eating. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(6), 745–747. Kuzniar, A. (2006). Melancholia’s dog: Reflections on our animal kinship. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Latour, B. (2010). An attempt at writing a compositionist manifesto. New Literary History, 41, 471–490. Macaskill, M. (2008, June 8). Vegan Girl, 12, ‘Has Spine of 80-Year-Old.’ Sunday Times. Masson, J. M. (1995). When elephants weep: The emotional lives of animals. New York, NY: Delacorte Press. Mjaaland, M. T. (2008). Autopsia, McNeil, Brian (Trans.). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Muñoz, J. (2009). Cruising utopia: The then and there of queer futurity. New York, NY: New York University Press. Nancy, J. L. (1991). The inoperative community. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press. Parisi, L. (2008). The nanoengineering of desire. In N. Giffney & J. M. Hird (Eds.), Queering the non/human. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing. PETA. (n.d.). Cruelty doesn’t fly. Retrieved from ( Piatti-Farnell, L. (2011). Food and culture in contemporary American fiction. New York, NY: Routledge. Pierce, K. (2010, March 24). Men leave their mark on veganism. Boston Globe. Retrieved May 27, 2011 from ( Planck, N. (2007, May 21). Death by veganism. New York Times. Retrieved from ( Potts, A., & Parry, J. (2010). Vegan sexuality: Challenging heteronormative masculinity through meat-free sex. Feminism and Psychology, 20(1), 53–72. Probyn, E. (2000). Carnal appetites: Food, sex, identities. London: Routledge. Scott, D. (2004). Conscripts of modernity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Sedgwick, E. (1993). Tendencies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Shukin, N. (2009). Animal capital. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press. ← 83 | 84 → Sneijder, P., & Molder, H. (2009). Normalizing ideological food choice and eating practices. Identity work in online discussions on veganism. Appetite, 52, 621–630.

Steeves, P. (2002). The familiar other and feral selves: Life at the human/animal boundary. In A. N. H. Creager & W. C. Jordan (Eds.), The animal/human boundary. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press. Tomkins, S. (1995). Shame and its sisters (E. Sedgwick & A. Frank, Eds.). Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Wolfe, C. (2003). Animal rites: American culture, the discourse of species, and posthumanist theory. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

← 84 | 85 →

Part II Disability ← 85 | 86 →

← 86 | 87 →


From Marginal Cases to Linked Oppressions Reframing the Conflict between the Autistic Pride and Animal Rights Movements DANIEL SALOMON

Peter Singer and other activist-scholars have established the philosophical legitimacy of discourse regarding animal ethics; thus, animal ethics can no longer be dismissed as sentimentalism by the Western intellectual establishment (Best, 2009; Linzey, 2000, 2009; Webb, 1998). Nonetheless, the framing of animal ethics needs to be critiqued; a neurotypical bias remains implicit in the way animal ethics is typically framed, which keeps intact and perpetuates speciesism.1 Neurotypicalism privileges a form of cognitive processing characteristic of peoples who have a neurotypical (non-autistic) brain structure, while at least implicitly finding other forms of cognitive processing to be inferior, such as those natural to autists and nonhuman animals. Specifically, neurotypicalism privileges vermal reasoning (i.e., reasoning that relies heavily on the brain’s vermis) over other ways of knowing, being, and experiencing. According to neurology researchers, the defining difference2 in brain structure between autists and neurotypicals may lie in the development of the vermis in the cerebellum (Belmonte et al., 2004; Courchesne, Yeung-Courchesne, Press, Hesselink, & Jernigan, 1988; Courchesne et al., 2001; Mitchell et al., 2009; Mostofsky et al., 2009). A fully functioning vermis cerebelli, found in neurotypicals, allows neurotypicals to develop an “abstract concept of the world” (Grandin & Johnson, 2005, p. 26).3 Much animal ethics discourses precede based on the unquestioned acceptance of this abstract concept of the world and that such an abstract concept of the world is necessary to advance the animal liberation ← 87 | 88 → cause. One possible reason is that autism is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) as a mental disorder, implying that the insights and virtues of autists are suspect. The DSM IV also claims that autists have a “qualitative impairment” in both social interaction and communication. The DSM IV model fails to account for two realities: First is that autistic characteristics may provide advantages, strengths, and even virtues. Second, personality and character traits of autists, especially those with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism, vary significantly from the DSM IV model, with some individuals being significantly more social and communicative than the classic stereotype of an autist.4,5 Both the autist and neurotypical ways of knowing, being, and experiencing have their strengths and weaknesses. The strength of the autist approach is that while the vermis is not as strong, this apparent neurological deficit enables autists to see each entity as a separate reality, resulting in greater awareness of the details of the worldaround-them (Grandin & Johnson, 2005, pp. 26, 30–31, 50–52, and 293–297). Grandin & Johnson (2005, pp. 6–7) contends that nonhuman animals also have this same capability of seeing concrete reality with limited conceptual bias. By contrast, neurotypicals miss precise details of the world due to an “inattentional blindness,” in which sensory inputs are structured by “an entire set of social-symbolic conventions, form, and expectations” divorced from nature, but instead imbedded in human culture (Wolfe, 2008, p. 113). In other words, inattentional blindness produces a certain worldview and phenomenology, which is culturally constructed, and thus open to critique. For the purposes of this chapter, neurotypicalism (Sinclair, 1998a) or vermal reasoning can also be construed as conceptualism (Lonergan, 1957, 1971; McKim, 1996), which is present in Hellenistic philosophy (Greaves, Zaller, Cannistraro, & Murphey, 1997; Lonergan, 1957, 1971) and more recently in some parts of Enlightenment philosophy (Lonergan, 1957, 1971). Vermal reasoning is internally generated logic (Grandin & Johnson, 2005; Houston & Frith, 2000; Rachels, 1999) which by nature is consistent (Linzey, 2009; Rachels, 1999), coherent (Linzey, 2009; Rachels, 1999), conceptually hierarchical (Johnson, 2003; Lakoff & Johnson, 2003), dualistic (McKim, 1996), abstract (Grandin & Johnson, 2005; Nussbaum, 2006), simplified (Grandin & Johnson, 2005), generalized (Grandin & Johnson, 2005), homogenized (Grandin & Johnson, 2005), and artificially compartmentalized (Prince-Hughes, 2004), developed devoid of experiential reality (Houston & Firth, 2000; Linzey, 2009; Rachels 1999). This privileging of vermal reasoning over other forms of reasoning not only invalidates and makes suspect autist insights, but neurotypicalism also invalidates and makes suspect animal intelligence. ← 88 | 89 → The neurotypical bias can be removed from animal ethics discourse by focusing critical attention on the lived experiences of nonhuman animals themselves. In other words, neurotypicalism is fundamentally speciesist because neurotypicalism conceptually both insulates and inoculates one from the lived reality and hence the needs of nonhuman animals, making empathy for and meaningful improvement in the quality of life for nonhuman animals difficult. A neurotypical approach to animal ethics

makes the correct usage of certain thought processes, ideologies, and methodologies more important than how one actually treats nonhuman animals (Best, 2009, pp. 19– 33; Webb, 1998, pp. 58–60).6 One such example is the philosophical thought experiment known as the “Argument from Marginal Cases” (AMC) which has been effectively used by Singer and others animal ethicists to provide a philosophical foundation for animal rights; nonetheless, it retains a neurotypical bias toward the reasoning characteristic of neurotypical brain structures (Singer, 1999, pp. 326–327). This argument rests on three incorrect assumptions about people with mental disabilities: First, infants and people with mental disabilities lack understanding (Singer, 1999, p. 326). Second, vermally rational life is more valuable than non-vermally rational life (Singer, 1999, p. 326). Third, infants and those with mental disabilities are incapable of reciprocity (Singer, 1999, p. 328). By using the AMC to frame the cause of animal liberation, Singer privileges vermal reasoning over other forms of reasoning, such as visual reasoning (Grandin & Johnson, 2005, p. 26), which allows these other classes of beings to understand, to reason, and even to reciprocate, albeit differently. Singer’s use of the AMC thus keeps intact the speciesist assumption that the rational capacities of neurotypical7 humans beings is the standard by which nonhuman animals are judged and given moral consideration (Armstrong & Botzler, 2004, p. 312; de Waal, 1996). Autists have been oppressed by many of the same persons and institutions as nonhuman animals. For example, biomedicine has a history of applying Skinner- like animal experiments in the development of invasive and sometimes traumatic behavioral modification programs for autistic children (Grandin & Johnson, 2005, p. 13). Autists know firsthand what it feels like to be treated like a nonhuman animal; to have their full capacities ignored, devalued, dismissed, trivialized, marginalized; and to have their subsequent needs and wants not addressed or taken seriously. Thus, this chapter contends that autists are uniquely positioned to contribute constructively to the cause of animal liberation. Autists can articulate what it is like to be treated like a nonhuman animal, can articulate what it is like to be a non-neurotypical (a category which encompasses nonhuman animals as well), are able to profoundly empathize with the plight and needs of nonhuman animals, and can provide unique insights into animal intelligence. ← 89 | 90 →

The “Argument from Marginal Cases” The primary foundation of the contemporary “AMC” as used in animal ethics comes from utilitarianism, an Enlightenment philosophy which can be traced back to the philosopher Jeremy Bentham. A working definition of utilitarianism is “that the morally right action is the action that produces the most good” (Driver, 2009). Singer (1999, pp. 324–325) attempts to answer Bentham’s question about the moral standing of nonhuman animals: “the question is not, Can they reason? Nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” (Bentham, 1989, p. 26). Singer (1999, p. 327) contends that the fact that nonhuman animals can suffer is a sufficient basis for giving nonhuman animals moral consideration. Nonetheless, by arguing that only rational beings can suffer, Singer (1999, p. 326) keeps intact the notion that reason is an important criterion for giving nonhuman beings moral consideration. Bentham (1989, p. 26) employs the AMC when writing: “But a full grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old.” Bentham goes on to say that suffering is the most important criteria for giving a being moral consideration. Singer picks up on this speculation, synergizing it with what Bentham dismisses as a less important ethical criterion: capacity for reason. Singer (1999, pp. 326, 328–329) then proceeds to use Bentham’s comparison between certain nonhuman animals and newborn human infants, expanding it to include those with mental disabilities and arguing that certain nonhuman animals are more rational than certain classes of human beings. Other animal ethicists, such as Tom Regan (1989, 2006), have also adapted the AMC to their own work. The AMC has both strong and weak forms (Dombrowski, 1997, pp. 179–181). Singer (1999, pp. 326, 327), Regan (1989, pp. 315, 316),8 Dombrowski (1997, pp. 3– 4, 189–193) subscribe to the strong form, which contends that humanists need to defend “why marginal cases have rights” (Dombrowski, 1997, p. 179). (Singer would say “moral consideration” since, as a strict utilitarian, he is ideologically opposed to rights).9 Wolfe (2008, pp. 121–123), Linzey (2009, pp. 5, 30–37, 151–155, 165– 167), and Nussbaum (2006, pp. 359–366) subscribe to its weak form. Linzey and Nussbaum critique the strong form of the AMC. Linzey (2009, pp. 154–155) disagrees with Singer on three points. First, Singer does not account for the history of the animal movements, which has seen the animal rights cause and the children rights cause as inseparable. Second, Singer pits human rights against animal rights, which provides bad witness to a highly speciesist society that sees animal rights in opposition to human rights. Third, Singer grants nonhuman animals moral consideration based on their demonstrating a certain standard of self-awareness—a criterion that many nonhuman animals cannot meet. Thus, ← 90 | 91 → rejecting as immoral any argument asserting the tyranny of the strong over those who lack certain morally irrelevant capacities, Linzey argues for a weaker version of the AMC. Beings that lack certain capacities—beings such as nonhuman animals, infants, and children, who are at the mercy of the strong—must be given special moral consideration on just these same grounds. Nussbaum’s critique of the AMC is that it does not recognize legitimate ontological differences between those with mental disabilities and nonhuman animals. Most importantly, those with mental disabilities are dependent on human society for their survival and subsequent flourishing, while nonhuman animals—with the exception of those under human dominion, e.g., on factory farms—are not. In other words, nonhuman animals, in natural settings, would be able to rely on other members of their species to help them survive and flourish. Those with mental disabilities, if exiled from the rest of human society, have nowhere else to go. Thus, Nussbaum (2006, pp. 359–366) argues, human society has moral obligations to those with mental disabilities. Under the force of these two critiques, the strong form of the AMC is an inadequate basis for framing animal liberation. It can be argued that the weak form of the AMC is also inadequate, and for this we turn to the voices of autists (and caregivers) themselves. These voices provide additional critiques of the strong form, as well as introducing a critique of the weak form.

“Marginal Cases” Create Marginalized Peoples Autists (part of the mostly grassroots online, autist pride movement, usually those with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s, see ( for an example, and Boundy [2008] and Sinclair [1988] for more analysis) and their caregivers (include those who have low-functioning

autism) object to the “AMC” in both its strong and weak forms (e.g., Ari Ne’eman, n.d.). Both forms have a stigmatizing history and work from incorrect assumptions about the nature of the autism spectrum. Animal ethics scholars employing the AMC make negative value judgments, not only about autism itself but also about the worth of persons who fit this category of beings. These judgments are based on assumptions that do not hold empirically, as more autists and others with developmental disabilities reveal their inner lives, including Temple Grandin, Dawn Prince-Hughes, Donna Williams, and Steven Shore. These individuals reveal that autists have vibrant, though different, inner lives. Before animal ethicists employed the AMC, others used a similar argument to deny rights to certain people because of a perceived lack of humanity. For example, Hugh Blair, a Scottish nobleman of the eighteenth century, was denied proclamation of his marriage because the Church of Scotland believed he was “stupid” (Houston ← 91 | 92 → & Frith, 2000, p. 45). These two contemporary scholars—a psychologist and a historian—contend Blair had autism. More recent examples include the programs to euthanize or sterilize people with disabilities. A quarter million people with disabilities were murdered during the Holocaust, through gassing, even starvation, even weeks after the war ended in Germany. In the United States, programs involved sterilization of individuals with disabilities, which were even widespread as late as the 1970s (Disability Social History Project). At the time of this writing, the US Congress is debating whether or not to pass legislation which would restrict harmful restraining and seclusion of children in public schools. This proposed legislation responds to allegations from a government report which examined ten cases, involving children with disabilities, which involved both psychological and physical abuse, which required both civil and criminal legal action. One case even involved the death of a 7-year-old girl (Disability Scoop, 2009, 2010). Examples like this suggest too many in the autist community that the AMC in its strong form is fundamentally oppressive. Contrary to Singer, Shore (2004, p. 58), who has Asperger’s, argues one should not assume that “marginal cases” do not have the “same needs, wants and potential for a fulfilling life as everyone else.” The ideology of identifying certain people as “marginal cases” leads to the stigmatization of entire groups of people.10 Stigmatization, in turn, can lead to discrimination, persecution, oppression, bigotry, and, in its most extreme cases, genocide as the above examples have demonstrated. Some autists contend that the weak form of the AMC is also problematic because it does not honor the gifts and virtues which one’s so-called “disability” brings (Boundy, 2009; Ari Ne’eman, n.d.). The weak form can be used to justify discrimination and exclusion out-of-hand because autists are seen as liabilities rather than assets to an organization, for example, prospective employers. In addition, the weak form can be used to justify “curing” or “fixing” autists, rather than accepting them the way they are. Finally, while some animal ethicists liken autists to nonhuman animals, viewing them as “moral patients” (incapable of conscious moral action) rather than “moral agents” (Regan, 2004, p. 314), autists see themselves as full human beings who are moral agents, though perhaps in ways that differ from neurotypicals. Nonetheless, the autist objection to the contentions of Singer-esque animal ethics is not based in bigotry toward nonhuman animals, but in a need to defend their identity and existence in the context of an unsympathetic neurotypical society (Ari Ne’eman, n.d.).

Why Does Animal Ethics Still Remain So Insular? Despite new evidence demonstrating that autists and others with intellectual disabilities are full human beings, some animal ethicists continue to defend the AMC in both its strong and weak forms (DeGraza, 2006, pp. 40–41; Linzey, 2009, pp. 5, 30–37, ← 92 | 93 → 151–155, 165–167; Matheny, 2006, pp. 18–19; Regan, 2006, p. 13; Singer, 2006). The AMC is also implicit in activist literature, as indicated by several recent PETA campaigns, including “Milk Causes Autism” (PETA, 2009b) and “Fishing Hurts” (PETA, 2009a). In the latter campaign, a subheading “PCBs Will Make You Stupid” alluded to the connection between PCB consumption in fish and an increase in intellectual disabilities. Another example is drawn from the column (AskCarla, 2009) in which Carla gives a loaded and judgmental interpretation, which is far from objective or factual, about the worth of peoples with developmental disabilities: There are animals who are unquestionably more intelligent, creative, aware, communicative, and able to use language than some humans, as in the case of a chimpanzee, compared to a human infant or a person with a severe developmental disability, for example. When one holds onto an argument, despite significant contrary evidence, it is no longer a matter of ignorance; it is a matter of ideology based in disinformation. (Lakoff, 2004)

Neurotypicalism is such an ideology, indicated by the way use of the AMC transforms the animal rights movement from a life-affirming movement into a life- denying movement, in the sense that certain beings are now sometimes excluded. Drawing on the analysis presented by Wolfe (2008), I offer four hypotheses for the continued support of the AMC. First, disability studies literature has historically not addressed the relationship between disability studies and animal studies, making it fundamentally anthropocentric and speciesist from the animal ethicist’s point-ofview. This is evident in Wolfe’s comment that a recent conference on disability studies lacked any paper referencing “the relationship between disability and transspecies affinity” (Wolfe, 2008, pp. 119–121). Second, animal ethicists perceive that nonhuman animals are being used by autists and others with disabilities as a ticket to a neurotypical, ablest society, with the nonhuman animals not getting sufficient libratory benefits in return. On this point, consider Wolfe’s (2008, p. 122) discussion of the animal rights movement’s objections to Temple Grandin’s advocacy for welfare instead of rights. Third, assuming limited resources, compassion, and goodwill, there is the identity politics factor of “my constituents are more marginalized and unrecognized than yours” (Wolfe, 2008, p. 121). Although Wolfe does not endorse this position, many other animal ethicists and activists do. Fourth and finally, animal ethicists still fundamentally contend that autists and others with disabilities are “useless,” that they cannot reciprocate, and that they are moral patients who are completely dependent on moral agents for their survival (Wolfe, 2008, pp. 122–123). These sentiments, as revealed by Wolfe, continue to pervade animal ethics and activism. ← 93 | 94 → These objections to autist animal ethics are not cogent for a number of reasons. First, connections can be made between disability studies and animal studies. For example, Wolfe talks about the shift in the disability movement from what he calls “fetishization of agency,” which is a more civil rights and legalistic approach, to an awareness by some people in the movement that “we now need to find a new way of talking about the place of disabled people in the universe and to find the place of disability in some universal, which is a more cosmological and anthropological approach” (Wolfe, 2008, pp. 119–120). This cosmological–anthropological approach can

open up room to encompass the nonhuman world because this approach is more outward than inward, more communitarian than individualistic, and yet it does not deny ecological individualism—the value of each individual animal, whether human or nonhuman. Second, nonhuman animals do in fact get significant libratory benefits from autists reaching out to animalkind. Consider Dawn Prince-Hughes’s lifework with gorillas; her work might not have happened if she were not an autist. I am another example. I identify myself as an animal rights activist and have published books which constructively address and sympathetically engage animal issues. I am a vegetarian, have recently started an animal ministry with (, and have been militantly against hunting for population control and the ethical hunting position since I was a youth. I do not attend circuses, rodeos, or bullfights; I avoid wearing animal products when possible; and I do not hunt, fish, or trap. My practices reflect not only my principles, but also a fundamental difference in my mindset: I do not get pleasure from these activities. Unquestioningly, nonhuman animals receive at least some libratory benefits from my existence. The third issue, the identity politics argument, implicitly assumes that there are “deserving and undeserving poor,” revealing an acceptance of the implicit paternalism of the oppressor, and holding that some group’s issues are categorically more important than others, for example, consider the conflicts between AfricanAmericans and Latinos, between illegal and legal immigrants, between earlier and newer immigrants, and between the working poor and those on welfare. This argument quantifies suffering, for example, physical suffering is greater suffering than psychological suffering or more of this group died in a genocide than that group, rather than embracing everyone’s suffering as legitimate, for example, both physical and psychological suffering qualify as suffering, or the fact that members of any group died in a genocide is a serious justice problem. It is fundamentally dualistic, for example, one group getting justice, while another does not. This line of thinking also enables oppressors to get two or more oppressed groups fighting among themselves, as the above examples imply, rather than uniting against their common oppressor, for example, classism, xenophobia, poverty, unjust barriers, and unlivable wages. Also, it assumes a scarcity of resources, compassion, and goodwill that is available to help the marginalized, for example, the unquestioned paradigm in economics of a presumed scarcity or an unquestioned cynicism in the ← 94 | 95 → power for individuals and societies to change. The alternative is to negotiate with the oppressors to more equitably distribute goods and services, for example, activism and moral suasion, now disproportionately controlled by the dominant group in society, for example, neurotypical, speciesist power holders. Finally, it has already been shown that the fourth argument, that autists and others with disabilities are “useless” and lack moral agency, is contrary to fact. Grandin is an autist, and also a Ph.D. professor of animal science at Colorado State University, who has published over three hundred scientific papers as of 2005, gives thirty-five lectures on animal management a year, another twenty-five on autism per year, and half the cattle in the United States are handled in more benign slaughter systems she has designed (Grandin & Johnson, 2005, p. 7).11 Sinclair, another autist activist, counters the moral patient argument, by arguing that in his struggle toward acquiring “certain expressive and receptive communication skills, possibly including some basic instincts that make communication a natural process for most people, combined with any cognitive or perceptual differences” (1988, p. 1) he takes the posture of I don’t mind that I have to do this work…. I am interested in learning about how people’s minds work…But I do mind when in spite of so much effort I still miss cues, and someone who has much better inherent communication ability than I do but has not even taken a close enough look at my perspective to notice the enormity of the chasm between us tells me that my failure to understand is because I lack empathy. If I know that I do not understand people and I devote all this energy and effort to figuring them out, do I have more or less empathy than people who not only do not understand, but who do not even notice that they do not understand me? (Sinclair, 1988, pp. 2–3)

Sinclair is an example of an autist, making conscious moral decisions in his interactions with other people, thus clearly meeting Regan’s definition of a moral agent, while Grandin is just one of many autist examples as productive, contributing members of society. Thus the animal ethics argument that non-neurotypicals are useless moral patients is not cogent. There is a much more persuasive way of framing animal ethics, which is also nonanthropocentric and non-speciesist, as well as mutually liberating, uniting, and empowering to both autists and nonhuman animals.

The Linked Oppression Model—Its Power and Promise Steven-Bouma Prediger describes “linked oppressions” as it relates to both the ecofeminist argument and the ecojustice argument: “One might call [it] the fourth argument [in his typology for environmentalism] poor and oppressed unite since it posits a link between various forms of oppression” (Bouma-Prediger, 2001, p. 168). ← 95 | 96 → Bouma-Prediger (2001, pp. 168–169) continues, “Given that sexism and racism and the exploitation of the earth are connected, concern for one should entail concern for the others. The ecology movement and the various movements for human liberation, which have for too long been separate and at times antagonistic projects, must see themselves as allies in a common quest.” There is, happily, growing recognition of this fact. I propose a variation of the linked oppression model, namely that there is a correlation between how autists are treated by neurotypical society and how neurotypical society, as a whole, treats nonhuman animals, and that the causes of autist pride and animal liberation are intricately linked, interdependent on one another. Both oppressions have the same primary cause: the ideology of neurotypicalism. When those without a fully functioning vermis, including autists and nonhuman animals, do not conform to the wishes of neurotypical society, neurotypical society starts to “interfere with, censor, and control” (Houston & Frith, 2000, p. 43) those understandings or behaviors which do not conform to neurotypical standards or desires. This model is consistent with reality and it helps resolve the conflict between animal rights and disability rights which is manifested in some religious, ethical, and public policy debates. It also has the power to break down another powerful false dualism: the choice between preserving human dignity at all costs and giving the nonhuman world significant moral consideration. This is a false choice, between being for Peter Singer’s “argument for marginal cases” or being for Pope John Paul’s “dignity of man” argument. Each of these two approaches is inadequate. Singer’s use of the AMC has already been dealt with. The other extreme is just as destructive and must also be rejected by autists and other peoples with disabilities. The “dignity of man argument” espoused by people like Pope John Paul II holds that the unique value of human beings must be preserved at all costs, in order to prevent

such practices as abortion and euthanasia. The dogmatic contention that humans are both unique and superior forces Singer and others to embrace the AMC in an attempt to deconstruct speciesism. The animal rights and the disability movements need a framework and strategy that draws on a synthesis of the thesis and antithesis of the “dignity of man” argument and the argument from “marginal cases.” Both extremes are harmful and counterproductive. The AMC is fundamentally oppressive to autists, while the dignity of man argument is fundamentally oppressive to nonhuman animals. Both positions are fundamentally inadequate. Yet, these two positions are also fundamentally true. There is something intrinsically valuable about all human life. And, it is equally true that there is something intrinsically valuable about nonhuman life. In essence, what needs to be preserved at all costs is the dignity of all life, human and nonhuman. Once it is recognized that choosing between the rights of nonhuman animals and ← 96 | 97 → the rights of persons with disabilities is a false dichotomy, it is possible to see that both groups are oppressed because they are not neurotypical. To this we turn.

The Autist–Animal Connection A fully functioning vermis does not make a neurotypical person superior to autists and nonhuman animals. As the author has demonstrated, the autist mind has its own gifts and virtues. Yet, neurotypicals believe that their fully functioning vermis makes them superior to and worthy of the conquest of all others who do not conform or measure up. Let’s look at how this oppressive dynamic plays out, building a profile of the harmful effects of neurotypical society. First, neurotypical society sees autists and nonhuman animals as peripheral in terms of social justice (Houston & Frith, 2000). Autists and nonhuman animals are considered by neurotypical society to be the “undeserving poor,” versus homosexuals, women, the economic poor, or African-Americans, “the real poor,” which are considered legitimate, because they demand less and are considered more like the dominant society (Johnson). Moreover, if the autist struggle for justice is addressed at all, it is oftentimes as a tacked-on issue appealing to people’s self-interests, whether in the form of “segregationist charity” (Eisland, 1994, pp. 73–75) for autists and others with disabilities or “compassion” (Nussbaum, 2006, pp. 2, 325) for nonhuman animals. Second, neurotypical society sees autists and nonhuman animals as expendable (Houston & Frith, 2000). If autists or nonhuman animals get in the way of the neurotypical agenda, they are sacrificed to the common good of neurotypical society. If he or she is disruptive, an autist is expelled from a community, such as when an elementary school teacher in Florida disciplined a troublesome five-year-old who was in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger’s, by letting all his fellow students vote him out of the class, as well as publicly chastising and humiliating him (Wixon, 2008). If he or she is found to be a nuisance, a nonhuman animal is killed, such as the standard policy of wildlife managers of addressing overpopulated and invasive species problems through hunting and other methods of eradication, as has been employed to deal with white-tailed deer, resident Canada geese, or nutria problems. Even reintroduced wild wolves are not above being eradicated, even though they are endangered. Third, neurotypical society patronizes and dominates autists and nonhuman animals (Houston & Frith, 2000). Neurotypical society looks down on autists and nonhuman animals and does not treat them as equals. For example, a dog is seen as cute and made obedient. An autist is treated like a little child, even when a full adult. ← 97 | 98 → Fourth, neurotypical society expects autists and nonhuman animals to conform to neurotypical sentiments and standards set by neurotypical society (Houston & Frith, 2000). Nonhuman animals are expected to not be a nuisance. Autists are expected to become “normal.” Fifth, neurotypical society punishes autists and nonhuman animals when they do not conform (Houston & Frith, 2000). Animals are euthanized when they are seen as a threat to neurotypical society. Autists are subjected to powerful psychotropic medications and traumatic behavior modification training, in efforts to get them to conform (Diament, 2009, 2010). Sixth, neurotypical society oppresses autists and nonhuman animals by putting them into situations in which they are incapable of properly defending themselves, or even properly handling themselves, thereby causing them to perform poorly at best (Houston & Frith, 2000). For example, last year a pet chimp became violent under stress, because he ingested wine and medicine. Keeping the chimp as a poorly maintained pet resulted in the chimp being drugged; neurotypical society then set up a normally compassionate police officer to fatally shoot the chimp in self-defense, and to save the life of the owner (Wilson, 2010). In the past, I have been denied support which would have helped me to succeed. When I did not do well, despite much effort, institutions severely punished me. For example, a doctoral program I attended for one year would have been successful if I had received the accommodation of a reduced course load, which was the recommendation of Disability Services, but was departmentally discouraged by the program. Because I was discouraged from taking a reduced course load, I did not make the necessary grades to stay in the program and was asked to leave. Seventh, neurotypical society feels justified in violating the rights of autists and nonhuman animals with impunity. Because neurotypical society conceptualizes the autist and nonhuman animal as cognitively inferior to the neurotypical, neurotypical society believes that they cannot handle these rights (Houston & Frith, 2000). Eighth, neurotypical society privileges neurotypical ways of knowing and being over autist and nonhuman animal ways of knowing and being (Houston & Frith, 2000). Nonhuman animals are seen as inferior. Autists are seen as savants. Ninth, neurotypical society is suspicious of rational or intelligent behavior in autists and nonhuman animals (Houston & Frith, 2000). Perceived rational or intelligent behavior in nonhuman animals is dismissed as being anthropomorphic. Perceived rational or intelligent behavior in autists is dismissed as unbelievable. Tenth, neurotypical society is suspicious of and threatened by the special relationship autists have with nonhuman animals, which serves as a prophetic witness against the anthropocentrism and speciesism which dominates Western culture (Houston & Frith, 2000). For example, I have been targeted repeatedly because ← 98 | 99 → of my views on nonhuman animals. In Boy Scouts, the children used to tease me about my interest in birdwatching. Even today, I continue to feel like a target because of my beliefs about nonhuman animals. While recognizing that members of other groups are also bullied, for example, homosexuals, in this case, I am convinced that I was bullied because I was an autist. Neurotypical children, who are also sensitive to animals and animal issues, have the advantage of a certain set of social skills to navigate through a bullying situation, which often involves silence in certain situations. Autists do not have these skills, or are in the process of developing them and

oftentimes feel uncomfortable lying or being less than authentic. This is corroborated by statistical evidence. Surveys in 2002 and 2009 corroborate that incidents of bullying in the autism community were in the 90% range in 2002 and dropped only 4% in eight years, despite increased education, consciousness, and knowledge of the autism spectrum in the last decade. The 2009 study also reported lack of responsiveness to parent complaints by school officials (Little, 2002; The Boston Herald, 2009). Finally, neurotypical society bullies and intimidates autists and nonhuman animals when an autist or a nonhuman animal engages in his or her natural behaviors (Houston & Frith, 2000). Autists are mercilessly bullied in school, and even into adulthood. I can easily become a target, and be repeatedly revictimized, whenever I engage in my natural behaviors as an autist. This is often sanctioned by neurotypical society through unresponsive teachers and administrators and unsympathetic social institutions. Nonhuman animals are also bullied though more intensely physically violent, oftentimes lethal, means, as a result of neurotypical society’s propensity to sanction the practices of sport hunting, recreational fishing, bullfighting, and rodeos. Bullying of autists is usually emotional, although not always, for example, also can include beatings (Little, 2002). Bullying of nonhuman animals is usually physical, although not always. For example, when a little girl chases pigeons in the park, the same underlying mentality is at work. The purpose of bullying—whether sports hunting or playground teasing—is to systematically and radically exclude a certain class of beings from the mainstream of human society, with the goal of dominating these beings, thereby giving them an inferior social status. Bullying of autists and nonhuman animals is similar in that both are considered accepted practices to vent aggression, domination, and violent urges, because both classes of beings are considered other and inferior12 (Johnson, 2003). As I have demonstrated in the above profile, neurotypicals have behavioral problems that impact other persons and beings, just as neurotypicals claim autist and nonhuman animal behavioral problems impact neurotypicals. Now, we will look briefly at some objections to this framework. ← 99 | 100 →

Practical Implications of the Linked Oppression Model In advocating and defending this version of linked oppressions, I have received three main objections: that I stereotype neurotypicals (Sinclair, personal conversation), that I scapegoat neurotypicals (Sinclair, personal communication), and that I invalidate the neurotypical perspective (Boyle, personal communication). With respect to the first objection, it is important to make clear a distinction between individual persons who happen to be neurotypical and neurotypicalism, which is a worldview or ideology held by neurotypical society as a whole, and which informs collective neurotypical behavior, cultural assumptions, and institutional structures (Boundy, 2008). Not all neurotypical individuals subscribe to this worldview in its entirety (Boundy, 2008). Some neurotypicals are becoming increasingly sensitive to autist oppression and pride (Boundy, 2008). Some neurotypicals are beginning to question the legitimacy of anthropocentrism and speciesism, such as Singer, Regan, Rachels and Linzey, and even the primacy of vermal reasoning itself (Boundy, 2008). Nonetheless, by the mere fact that neurotypicals are the ruling majority, every neurotypical to one degree or another has bought into, benefits from, and is validated by at least part of the neurotypical worldview (Boundy, 2008; Diament, 2009, 2010; Disability Social History Project; Johnson, 2003; Little, 2002; Sinclair, 1988, 1998). In other words, neurotypicalism informs individual neurotypical’s social location, sense of social privilege, and experiences of reality much in the same way race, gender, or sexual orientation does (Boundy, 2008; Diament, 2009, 2010; Disability Social History Project; Johnson, 2003; Little, 2002; Sinclair, 1988, 1998). This model recognizes, consistent with scholarship in sociology, that individuals behave collectively as part of a given society and social arrangement (see Appelbaum & Chambliss [1997] for an introduction to the sociology perspective). Individuals are, in part, “socially produced” (Cipollo, university sociology lectures). With respect to the objection about scapegoating neurotypicals, I respond with recognition that neurotypicals are not the only ones capable of doing wrong or doing evil. Autists can and do wrong things, even evil things, to nonhuman animals. But the point of this model is that autists are not to blame for their own oppression. Nor are they inherently disabled or diseased. Nor is autism inherently psycho-pathological or socio-pathological, with neurotypicalism being the norm for determining a person’s abilities, health, or functioning. The author forcefully affirms that autists have a right to exist in this world, and to be included in the world, as much as neurotypicals do, and that we have unique gifts and talents, which can contribute to human society and the nonhuman world in ways at which neurotypicals have not been completely successful. This is in radical opposition to the prejudgment that peoples on the spectrum are “dead weight,” distracting attention away from animal liberation. In fact, this is a radical affirmation that autists are not “marginal” to the animal liberation cause. We have a function in the “cosmos,” as well as intrinsic ← 100 | 101 → value as individuals. This model is a radical deconstruction of the notion that what is considered by neurotypical society to be “normal” are the way things should be, or that such conceptions of the “normal” even fully take into account what actually “is.” In other words, this analysis provides a “serious and radical critique” of “conformity” and a revolutionary affirmation of life, in all its myriad of forms. It forcefully affirms the value of different nervous systems, whether human or nonhuman. Finally, I do not invalidate neurotypicals. In fact, I contend that autists are interdependent (not dependent) on neurotypicals and neurotypical society. Neurotypicals can bring the following to the table: methods for reducing interpersonal conflicts; a system of accountability for harmful autist behaviors; recognition that the human body is a valued part of the Natural World; scientific and philosophical reasoning; measures to reduce anxiety, fear, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors in the autist; and spiritual, ethical, and scientific formation for the autist, in terms of cultivating their sensibilities toward nonhuman animals. According to this model, neurotypicals are definitely welcomed at the autist table; they just need to meet autists and nonhuman animals halfway.

Conclusion Autists and nonhuman animals share a common plight at the hands of neurotypicalism, an ideology that privileges vermal reasoning. Consequently, autist activists and animal liberationists must unite or at least reach a truce. This does not mean that PETA and other animal groups need to be a social service agency for autists and others with disabilities. PETA and the various animal movements can focus on giving nonhuman animals the best defense against speciesism and institutionalized animal cruelty possible, because these groups have precious little funding, resources, sympathy, and positive media access. Nor do autist pride groups and individual autists need to agree with PETA and other animal groups on every issue or strategy. Autists and the autist community should be free to develop their own positions and strategies, for addressing animal issues that provide an original, unique, thoughtful, important, and necessary critique, ethic, strategy, and vision for animal liberation. So therefore,

both the autist pride movements and the animal liberationist movement need to stop attacking and disrespecting out-of-hand each other’s positions, strategies, motives, and ontological foundations, especially the employment of ad hominim arguments as rhetorical devices. Both parties need to recognize that the plight of autists and the plight of nonhuman animals are fundamentally linked, and that both movements (autist pride and animal liberation) are fighting the same oppressor (neurotypicalism) and working toward the same goal of liberating the oppressed in a society which is fundamentally neurocentric, with each of the two movements offering unique gifts in their quest to ameliorate this injustice (Bouma-Prediger, 2001). ← 101 | 102 → Such a view neither stereotypes nor scapegoats neurotypicals, but simply points out the benefits neurotypical individuals receive from society’s present structure. Neurotypicals and autists alike bring complementary gifts to the table. The conflict between autists and animal liberationists is completely unnecessary, alienating a group of people who do not need to be alienated, and who can be of service to the animal liberation cause. Certain sectors of the animal movements alienating a group of people, who do not need to be alienated, is both counterproductive and undermining to the animal liberation strategy. Most certainly, the animal rights movement, scapegoating an oppressed group of people, who have a predisposition toward being sympathetic, even empathic, toward nonhuman animals, is especially undermining and degrading to both parties. Yet, when certain peoples and groups in the animal movement remain insular to a neurologically chauvinistic strategy, autist individuals and groups will continue to feel compelled to make negative comments about the animal rights movement online, hurting the animal liberation cause in the process. Whether one is arguing the AMC or Linked Oppressions, it is important to realize that these arguments are merely “means to an end,” strategies toward our collective goal of animal liberation, whatever that vision looks like in theory and practice, depending on the vision of the individual or group involved. We all need to keep what is in the best interest for animals in mind, not becoming insular to certain strategies or arguments, particularly when they lose integrity and persuasiveness, starting to undermine the credibility of the movement in the process, making it difficult to recruit much needed allies, because the target groups finds the framing of animal rights, repulsive and offensive. We need to be both pragmatic and strategic, while retaining our highest ideals, for this endeavor to be fruitful, accomplishing our intended goal—the actualization of animal liberation.

Notes 1.

There are many parallels between the autist critique of animal ethics and the feminist critique of animal ethics, especially with respect to intersections between patriarchy and neurotypicalism. Thus, both feminists and autists question many of the same biases in animal ethics literature, either implicitly or explicitly. See Best’s article, listed in bibliography, which independently addresses some of the neurotypical biases in critical animal studies literature, without using the term neurotypicalism.


The word “difference” is used instead of “maldevelopment,” the actual words of one researcher quoted, to avoid making a nonscientific value judgment when describing scientific evidence. The word “maldevelopment” judges that some brains and nervous systems are better than others, which is non-scientific and demeaning to autists.


A disconnect remains between how neurological and behavioral approaches to studying the autism spectrum relate to one another (Belmonte et al), for example, vermis differences ← 102 | 103 → (neurology research) versus frontal lobe differences (behavioral, as in Grandin) as the defining brain difference between autists and neurotypicals. The purpose of this chapter, the author will contend, is that the neurological data is for all practical purposes consistent with behavioral data, in terms of connecting relevant behavioral findings with relevant neurological findings. It also underscores the strong neurological basis for autism.


For one autist’s argument that neurotypical diagnosticians oversimplify when contending that autists have a relative lack of empathy, see “Some Thoughts About Empathy” by Jim Sinclair ( (, 1988.


Boundy (2008) offers another critique of the medical definition of autism.


These are more feminine ways of knowing, too.


Singer (e.g., p. 326) uses the word “normal” multiple times in his work.


The author notes Dombroski’s observation that there are subtle differences between Singer’s and Regan’s use of the AMC. The author still classifies Singer and Regan together in terms of the “strong” position, which is consistent with Dombrowski’s observations, while acknowledging that both philosophers do not recognize the intrinsic value of peoples with mental disabilities.


For a discussion and critique of the social science concept of stigmatization in relationship to the question of disability, see Nancy Eisland, The Disabled God, pp. 57–66.


A benign slaughter system is not necessarily the logical conclusion of autist animal ethics, nor is Grandin’s welfare approach unanimously defended by all in the autist community. For example, Sinclair who is also an autist and a vegan, argues forcefully against Grandin’s approach, instead arguing for a hard-line animal liberationist position, in his short essay, “If you love something, you don’t kill it,”,/web/20080330071836/ (, 1998.


Note also that Grandin does not have a monopoly on confusing love with killing, for example, Just War Theory and Ethical Hunting. Both examples are nonautistic in origin. This illustrates autist productivity and contributions; it does not imply Grandin’s approach is a universally accepted autist animal ethic.


Generalized principles are derived from Houston and Frith, although, in most cases, Houston and Frith did not apply their analysis to nonhuman animals. See Linzey (2009, pp. 87– 88), “Hunting as anti-social behavior,” for an example of a correlation between bullying in children, animal cruelty, and hunting.

References Appelbaum, R., & Chambliss, W. (1997). Sociology: A brief introduction. New York, NY: Longman. Armstrong, S., & Botzler, R. (Eds.). (2004). Environmental studies: Divergence and convergence. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill. column. (2009). PETA. Belmonte, M., Allen, G., Beckel-Mitchener, A., Boulanger, L., Carper, R., & Webb, S. (2004, October 20). Autism and abnormal development of brain connectivity. The Journal of Neuroscience. ← 103 | 104 → Bentham, J. (1976, 1989). A utilitarian view. In T. Regan & P. Singer (Eds.), Animal rights and human obligations (pp. 25–26). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Best, S. (2009). The rise of critical animal studies: Putting theory into action and animal liberation into higher education. Journal of Critical Animal Studies, 7(1), 9–52.

The Boston Herald. (2009, November 14). Massachusetts survey: Bullies prey on children with autism. Retrieved from ( Bouma-Prediger, S. (2001). For the beauty of the earth: A Christian vision for creation care. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. Boundy, K. (2008). ‘Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?’: An exploration of the neurodiversity movement. Radical Psychology, 7. Courchesne, E., Karns, C. M., Ziccardi, R., Carper R. A., Tigue, Z. D., Chisum, H. J., … Courchesne, R. Y. (2001). Unusual brain growth patterns in early life in patients with autistic disorder: An MRI study. American Academy of Neurology. Courchesne, E., Yeung-Courchesne, R., Press, G. A., Hesselink, J. R., & Jernigan, T. L. (1988, May 26). Hyperplasia of cerebellar vermal lobules VI and VII in autism. The New England Journal of Medicine, 318(21), 1349–1354. DeGraza, D. (2006). On the question of personhood beyond Homo sapiens. In P. Singer (Ed.), In defense of animals: The second wave (pp. 40–41). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Diament, M. (2009, May 19). Government report confirms abusive seclusion, restraint. Disability scoop. Retrieved from ( Diament, M. (2010, February 4). School restraint, seclusion bill clears house committee. disability scoop. Retrieved from ( Disability Social History Project. (n.d.). Nazi, Eugenics, and the T-4 Program (1920–1950). Retrieved from ( Dombrowski, D. (1997). Babies and beasts: The argument from marginal cases. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press. Driver, M. (2009, March 27). The history of utilitarianism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Retrieved from ( Eisland, N. (1994). The disabled god: Toward a libratory theology of disability. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. Grandin, T., & Johnson, C. (2005). Animals in translation: Using the mysteries of autism to decode animal behavior. New York, NY: Scribner. Greaves, R., Zaller, R., Cannistraro, P., & Murphey, R. (1997). Civilizations of the world: The human adventure. New York, NY: Longman. Houston, R., & Frith, U. (2000). Autism in history: The case of Hugh Blair of Borgue. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Johnson, M. (2003). Make them go away: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Reeve and the case against disability rights. Louisville, KY: The Avocado Press. Lakoff, G. (2004). Don’t think of an elephant: Know your values and frame the debate-the essential guide for progressives including post-election updates. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing. ← 104 | 105 → Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980, 2003). Metaphors we live by. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. Linzey, R. A. (2000). Animal gospe. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Know Press. Linzey, R. A. (2009). Why animal suffering matters: Philosophy, theology, and practical ethics. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press. Little, L. (2002). Middle-class mothers perceptions of peer and sibling victimization among children with Asperger’s syndrome and nonverbal learning disorders. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 25(1), 43–57. Lonergan, B. (1957, 1997, 2000, 2005). Collected works of Bernard Lonergan: Insight. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Lonergan, B. (1971, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2003). Method in theology. Toronto: University of Toronto. Matheny G. (2006). Utilitarianism and animals. In P. Singer (Ed.), In defense of animals: The second wave (pp. 18–19). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. McKim, D. (1996). Westminster dictionary of theological terms. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. Mitchell, S., Reiss, A., Tatusk, H. D., Ikuta, I., Kazmerski D., Botti, J., … Kates, W. (2009, July 15). Neuroantomic alterations and social and communication deficits in monozygotic twins discordant for autism disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved from ( Mostofsky, S., Powell, S., Simmons, D., Goldberg, M., Caffo, B., & Pekas, J. (2009, April 23). Decreased connectivity and cerebellar activity in autism during motor task performance. Brian Advance Access, 132, 2413–25. Ne’eman, A. (n.d.) Tell PETA to stop exploiting the autistic community (Got Autism Billboard). Retrieved from ( Nussbaum, M. (2006). Frontiers of justice: Disability, nationality, species membership. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. PETA. (2009.a) Fishing hurts. Retrieved from http://www.fishinghurts.hom/healthConcerns-Toxic.asp (http://www.fishinghurts.hom/healthConcerns-Toxic.asp) PETA. (2009.b) Milk causes autism. Prince-Hughes, D. (2004). Songs of the gorilla nation: My journey through autism. New York, NY: Harmony Books. Rachels, J. (1999). Some basic points about argumentation. In S. Armstrong & R. Botzler (Eds.), Environmental ethics: Divergence and convergence (pp. 68–69). New York, NY: McGrawHill Companies. Regan, T. (2004). The case for animal rights. In S. Armstrong & R. Botzler (Eds.), Environmental ethics: Divergence and convergence (pp. 314–316). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies. Regan, T. (2006). Defending animal rights. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois. Shore, S. (2004). The Autism bomb. In S. Klein & J. Kemp (Eds.), Reflections from a different journey: What adults with disabilities wish all parents knew. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Sinclair, J. (1988). Some thoughts about empathy. Retrieved from ( ← 105 | 106 → Sinclair, J. (1998a). A note about language and abbreviations used on this site. Retrieved from ( Sinclair, J. (1998b). If you love something, you don’t kill it. Retrieved from ( Singer, P. (2004). Equality for animals? In S. Armstrong & R. Botzler (Eds.), Environmental ethics: Divergence and convergence (pp. 323–320). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies.

Singer, P. (2006). In defense of animals: The second wave. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Singer, P. (1999). A response. In D. Jaimeson (Ed.), Singer and his critics. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers de Waal, F. (1996). Good natured: The origins of right and wrong in humans and other animals. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Webb, S. (1998). On god and dogs: A Christian theology of compassion for animals. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Wilson, M. (2010, February 24). After shooting chimp, a police officer’s descent. New York Times. Retrieved from ( Wixon, C. (2008, May 24). Teacher lets Mourningside students vote out classmate, 5. TC PALM. Wolfe, C. (2008). Learning from Temple Grandin, or, animal studies, disability studies, and who comes after the subject. New Foundations, 64.

← 106 | 107 →


Intersectionality and the Nonhuman Disabled Body Challenging the Neocapitalist Techno-scientific Reproduction of Ableism and Speciesism ZACHARY RICHTER

In Wolbring’s “Ableism and Energy Security and Insecurity (2010),” the author advances a relationship between disability studies and critical animal research which privileges ableism as being formative of speciesism. He states: “Ableism leads to an ability-based and ability-justified understanding of…one’s body and one’s relationship with others of one’s species, other species and one’s environment” (2010, p. 14). Wolbring ably notes that such a relationship exists; however, he errs in the assumption that said relationship is merely one-sided. The subject positions of disability and nonhumanity are codependent. The tension in Wolbring’s (2010) attempt to assimilate critical animal research within an expanded disability studies frame can be resolved through an intersectional approach. The feminist concept of intersectionality is useful for understanding this codependence because it provides a framework for viewing disability and species oppression as interrelated and parallel. Intersectional theorizing has been less successful, however, at locating and addressing the moments in which oppressive systems do not separate, but are justified by the same reasoning. Marxian criticism fills this theoretical gap through its successful macro-level analysis of the historical fluctuations of the capitalist system. In his introduction to The Global Industrial Complex, Best (2011) fills this gap,

highlighting how “the rationalization, quantification and abstraction processes of science…[are] paralleled in dynamics unleashed by capitalism in which all things and beings are reduced to exchange value and the pursuit of profit” ← 107 | 108 → (p. xi). Following Best’s analysis, this article analyzes nonhuman and disabled bodies from their continuous epistemic production via the scientific processes of abstraction and classification within the sciences to their more material confinement and commoditization within corporate institutions. But before this research into how speciesism and ableism collude with capitalism and modernist rationalities, one needs to properly frame the work accomplished within the intersectional framework that this essay claims as a major influence on its methodology. In the Combahee River Collective Statement (1983, n.p.), one reads a powerful critique of capitalism and an intersectional statement that reveals an “essential agreement with Marx’s theory as it applies to the economic relationships he analyzed” combined with doubt over “whether a socialist revolution that is not also a feminist and anti-racist revolution [would] guarantee [their] liberation.” With such a Marxian position, Combahee was successful in critiquing the position in labor of black women while attending to both race and gender as factors in that analysis. This essay uses a similar Marxian analytic structure and set of objects of analysis that shows where speciesism and ableism meet within in certain experiential positions that will be described later. Mierek’s (2010) critique of Darwin’s epistemic framing of animals in her graduate dissertation offers a very important start to a wider interrogation of how nonhuman and disabled bodies are labeled within a capitalist–positivist epistemic framework. Mierek explains that “Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection implies cross species continuity …. Darwin wrote in 1871 of ‘numberless gradations’ separating all animals” (2010, p. 3). Darwin’s work functions as an important site within the technoscientific apparatus of biology, wherein numerous forms of life become located according to a normative and technical knowledge-based network of classification. The gradations in Mierek’s commentary reveal an implicit hierarchical taxonomy in scientific knowledge of nonhuman animals. The nonhuman is transfigured into an object of study or, as mentioned elsewhere by White (1967), as a resource to be used for human improvement. Similarly, within Western positivist taxonomies, disabled bodies are transformed from their feudal status of magical variation to monstrous abnormality that must be cured, studied, or isolated (Davis, 2006; Foucault, 2006). Soldatic and Biyanwila (2006) help to position this analysis of the foundations of modern Western constructions of disabled and nonhuman bodies within a wider intersectional scope; they explain that Western anthropocentric perspectives of science deploy a “natural” hierarchy of species and the notion of a subspecies. In this hierarchy of species, humans are situated as superior to nature but certain human beings are closer to nature than others. The idea of the subspecies conveys how human biology can be measured and layered into a “hierarchy of being” (Perry ← 108 | 109 → & Whiteside, 1995, p. 5). At the

pinnacle of this hierarchy are white Western men where women, black, and impaired bodies are located close to nature. The gradations that Mierek (2010) reveals, as previously noted, exist as rungs on Soldatic and Biyanwila’s (2006) hierarchy of being. In positivist terms, the rungs are recorded within a Biological and Medical lexicon whose main purpose is the explication of life forms which are not privileged either by humanness or able-bodiedness and are thus rendered unintelligible within privileged knowledge constructions. Mastery over animals and sickness counts as founding achievements for the industrial and scientific forces of capital accumulation. The materialist, positivist epistemology is maintained precisely because of its power of explanation, a power that assimilates any abnormality and operationalizes all forms of life outside of easy understanding. In situating this advocacy for nonhuman and disabled bodies in a critique of the scientific institutions, one must make the distinction that in the case of the nonhuman, factory farms postdate animal experimentation and vivisection. In terms of disabled bodies, which are now denied access, they were first pathologized and rendered disturbing through materialist scientific knowledge. The argument now takes on an epistemic scale. Taxonomy is not a physical violence, but a violence of labeling and placement. Positivist science sets the terms of engagement with the very idea of disability and animality. Taxonomies in Medicine and Biology proliferate misunderstandings of disabled and nonhuman agency, most significantly in situations when symptoms, capacities, habits, and ranges of actions are falsely projected by positivist-based knowledge production. Mierek’s comments on the implications of scientific misunderstandings of animal consciousnesses are valuable. Mierek (2010) explains that the practice of ascribing human traits to nonhuman animals is considered to be “a dangerously unempirical return to mysterious causes and unfounded superstition” (p. 15). However, this capacity to locate emotions normally attributed only to humans in the nonhuman must be recognized as crucial to interspecies empathy. The sociologists and anthropologists Mierek (2010) cites within her research embrace their capacity to recognize the expression of emotion in nonhuman animals even though empirical sciences claim that such empathy is illogical. This refusal to recognize emotion and experience in the nonhuman body must be seen as the base reason supporting vivisection as a justifiable scientific practice and for why meat-eating is tolerated at all. Elsewhere, in a field known as critical affect theory, the structuring and regulation of emotion or affect is a central topic. “Affect” is defined by loosely by Gregg and Seigworth (2010) as “those intensities that pass body to body, in those resonances that circulate about, between and sometimes stick to bodies and worlds” (p. 2), and can be understood as the emotional resonance attached ← 109 | 110 → to various objects, bodies, and situations. Berlant’s (2011, p. 24) Cruel Optimism is a concept—indeed, it explains the book’s title—that describes the connections between affective attachments, duties,

requirements, and expectations on to a body or bodies. Put more simply, cruel optimism constitutes the attachments, demands, and dictates of the system determining how decisions are made. In the fourth chapter, Berlant (2011, p. 122) describes the struggles of young women traumatized by a fat-shaming culture; the self-hatred that said culture inscribed upon their bodies is an example of cruel optimism’s compulsion. Likewise, affective structuring of bodies through the imposition of either cure-based or resource-based development terminates opportunities for disabled or nonhuman bodies to develop their own affective agency. The medical model effects this loss of agency through assuming and imposing a desire for cure upon the patient (Zola, 1987). Once more, a vivisectionist model cannot afford to grant independent emotion to the nonhuman. The animal must act irrationally for the techno-capitalist regime to carry forward; the instantiation of affective agency in the nonhuman disrupts the commodity usage of said animal because its valuelessness is questioned according to a sociability-based measure. To once more engage the scientific-capitalist construction of disability, one can recognize that medicalization, science, and capitalism have long assumed that medicine would be the sole useful way of knowing disability and disabled bodies. It is thus a central task for disability activists to critique the medical model for otherizing bodies outside the norm. In Davis’ (2006) analysis of the foundation of normalcy in the wake of industrialism, it becomes clear that the force most prominent in rendering disability objectionable is a relatively modern invention linked both to statistics and eugenics. To expand on my earlier allegation that the medical model imposes a desire for cure upon patients, Zola (1987, p. 63) explains that the perniciousness of medicine is the rendering of sickness as something that should always necessarily be eliminated. This implies a power relationship that renders impaired or sick bodies incapable of making decision over their own lives and grants power to medical experts to lock disabled subjects into the cruel optimistic attachments of “compulsory able-bodiedness” (Campbell, 2009; McRuer, 2006). This imposition of structured feeling causes disabled subjects, even those who might not seek a cure, to constantly live in the shadow of the able-bodied ideal and be unable to accept their bodies as impaired and socially oppressed (Campbell, 2009). Such devaluation of the abnormal can be seen as the basis for the genocidal mass abortion of 94% of known developmentally disabled fetuses, the inaccessibility of many cities and towns to disabled individuals, and the proliferation of substance abuse as a coping mechanism, even for physically disabled people who must manage the psychological effects of inaccessibility (Stowe, Turnbull, Schrandt, & Rack, 2006). ← 110 | 111 → An image of the nonhuman and disabled other occupying parallel isolation cells in the heart of the white-coated positivist research institution emerges. The reflection of each face behind the glass window projects out of the scientific institution and on to the street where medical and biological explanations form social and institutional interactions, where the image of a wild other haunts our ableist anthropocentric society. In these parallel holding cells of materialist positivism, one finds that animality

and disability are no longer stably attached to their signifiers. Rather, each label becomes a synonym for indeterminability and wildness so elusive to empiricist science that its taxonomies are constantly rewritten and revised. This containment is here imagined metaphorically to better our understanding of the similar placement of debilitated and nonhuman bodies within Western scientific thinking, but containment exists in a very real sense in several of the industries that must manipulate the bodies of disabled people and nonhumans for continued profit—indeed, for their very existence. In Gleeson’s (1999) sketch of the “socio-spatial” disablement that occurs simultaneously through physical inaccessibility and through institutionalized care, people with disabilities experience “brutalizing and depersonalizing care” and a “lack of privacy and individual freedom” (pp. 139–140). Similarly, within the speciesist institutions described by Nibert (2011, pp. 201–204), one finds that nonhuman bodies are equally sequestered; hundreds of thousands of cows are packed into small areas and are largely kept in cages. On this basis, one recognizes that technological confinements as well as staff abuse are both hallmarks of the processing methods by which nonhuman and disabled bodies are handled by speciesist and ableist techno-capitalism. The inaccessibility of cities, a common talking point among disability activists, takes on a new meaning when one recognizes that urbanized and developed human environments are entirely inaccessible for nonhuman bodies. Thus, the techno-capitalist institution, for both the disabled and nonhuman, is a locale designed to keep such identities from achieving an empowered existence so that the machinations of profit can play across their bodies. The categories blur when one recognizes that accessibility is cultivated only for certain types of embodiments, and the bodies that do not fit the paradigm for “normalcy” will not thrive without mandatory assimilation. Like their parallel epistemic cells in which flesh is reduced to study material, nonhuman and disabled bodies must also live in parallel levels of inarticulability and dependency. The final stage of the process is the capitalist transmutation of suffering into material privilege on behalf of those privileged both by able-bodiedness and humanity. To fully understand commoditization and the rendering of disabled and nonhuman bodies as profitable commodities by health institutions and slaughterhouses, it is useful to return to Lenin and his concept of empire. While Lenin ← 111 | 112 → (1917) analyzes empire in terms of how it manifests economically across core, peripheral international actors, the concept has equal value elsewhere insofar as it plays out across and species and able/disabled populations. Empire is, of course, an expansion of economic monopoly. As part of the terms of such an expansion, all of that expanding territory’s population become parts of the market because, according to Lenin (1917), in other markets the bourgeoisie has already depleted the market through its process of turning all wealth into either capital (a commodity required for the production of surplus value) or surplus value itself. Since the development of massive modern health and meat-processing businesses,

the aides and nurses carrying out the will of health and meat have always gotten short shrift. For example, a central aspect of Nibert’s (2011, pp. 205–208) analysis of the animal food industry is the wage exploitation and racism against immigrant employees in slaughterhouses. Gleeson (1999, pp. 139– 140) also argues that staff working with those with disabilities are not treated well, and care workers are often underpaid. This lack of economic benefit is compensated for through the discursive construction of the difference between staff at slaughterhouses and care institutions and the bodies they manage. Staff are notoriously allowed to abuse their subjects and often make horrible comments to re-entrench their social status of privilege and demean oppressed nonhuman and disabled populations. The similarity of this treatment within institutions is a key illustration of those situations in which speciesism and ableism blur and intersect. The privilege of care and slaughterhouse workers arises because of their power positions over subject-bodies, and because they control the condemnation and development of such bodies, an image of superiority and subordination is upheld. Ableist and speciesist privilege exists primarily in a relational sense, but it also exists through the freedom to access a city and varying bodily and social privileges which are not offered to nonhuman and disabled others. Care attendants and slaughterhouse workers are thus compensated through being located on a tier above the disabled and nonhumans which they assist. To finish this analysis, I reflect on what the process described in this article means for Marxian politics. The situation imagined above, which links the oppression of nonhuman and disabled bodies, cannot achieve the political meaning it deserves if the intersectional frame rejects bodies whose oppressions take place outside of those historically studied within the black feminist lens that forms the core of intersectional study. In fact, much can be learned from the theoretical debate that took place between intersectionality and queer theory. In Warner’s (1993) introduction to Fear of a Queer Planet, he critiques the “alliance politics” of “race, class and gender” for “reducing power to a formalism of membership” (p. xix). The problem in intersectional thought that Warner approaches is the difficulty of assimilating a wider ← 112 | 113 → variation of forms of life within a coalition defined rigidly by the experiences and ranges of identification offered by its authors. Disability theory and critical animal studies both offer an opportunity for activist work to stretch beyond merely “focusing on our own oppression” and to relate to bodies whose own liberation struggle is made problematic by material as well as social constraints (Combahee River Collective, 1983, n.p.). While embodied theorizing is encouraged heavily in disability studies, in critical animal studies, it is impossible. Regardless, in both radical fields of study, the justice demanded requires coalition work that reaches across barriers of embodiment. For critical disability studies, that means empathizing with disabled individuals whose impairments differ from our own. In critical animal studies, that means empathizing with nonhuman

realities and extending our imaginations to grasp a world in which humanity and human motivations occur as an absurd and destructive force. Through both theoretical filters, empathy for othered bodies whose experiences are different from our own is placed at a premium. Intersectionality has much to learn from the empathetic undercurrent in both critical animal and disability studies. If intersectionality will have much work to do in approaching the dual problematic figures of disability and species, Marxism will have to do even more. In “Multitude, are you there?,” Robbins (2010) reviews Hardt and Negri’s Empire series and in some sense comments upon the entirety of the careers of both intellectuals. Robbins’s conclusions are souring for former fans of either the Marxian subgenre of autonomism or Hardt and Negri themselves. But what Robbins’s hard-hitting criticism does make possible is the reconceptualization of Hardt and Negri’s concept of the multitude to more properly follow the autonomist thread of widening definitions of work to expand the movement in resistance against capitalism through acknowledging workers who are already opposing it. But before that reconceptualization can be accomplished, it is important to gauge what autonomism has already done. Lazzarato’s work offers some of the finest examples in which autonomism has succeeded. While classical Marxism typically conceives of labor as the back-breaking physical and menial variety, in Lazzarato’s (1996) “Immaterial Labor,” work is redefined to include scientific labor. Correspondingly, in Hardt’s (1999) “Affective Labor,” the familial duties imposed and forced upon women are added to Marxian concepts of work. Despite the poststructuralist roots of the multitude, it must include many forms of labor and the task of listing them must be possible. This article then suggests that the final form of labor that will better include disabled, queer, and nonhuman embodiments is the labor of having one’s body developed—a form of labor I term “transmorphic” in reference to the transition in morphology or form that a commoditized nonhuman, disabled, fat, queer, or trans* identifying body is either mandated to perform or not to perform. ← 113 | 114 → Of course, this is not so different from Berlant’s cruel optimism, but here we are attached to form and consider how the dominant forces of production either mandate or prohibit bodily transformations. Then and only then, once transmorphic labor has been added to the lexicon of autonomist constituents, will the multitude truly exist in every area of society and widespread coalitionally based resistance becomes reasonably possible. This is not an end to the studies of eco-ability and the intersections between ableism and speciesism, but it is its culmination. This article has focused on the transformations that take place through technocapitalism upon the nonhuman and disabled body. Consequently, this study in transmorphology can join the expanded autonomist canon as part of an effort to acknowledge labor and resistance everywhere it exists.

References Berlant, L. G. (2011). Cruel optimism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Best, S. (2011). Introduction. In S. Best, R. Kahn, A. Nocella, & P. McLaren (Eds.), The global industrial complex: Systems of domination (pp. ix–xxv). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Campbell, F. K. (2009). Contours of ableism: The production of disability and abledness. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Combahee River Collective. (1983). Combahee river collective statement. In B. Smith (Ed.), Home girls: A black feminist anthology (pp. 264–275). New York, NY: Kitchen Table. Davis, L. (2006). Constructing normalcy: The bell curve, the novel and the invention of the disabled body in the nineteenth century. In L. Davis (Ed.),The disability studies reader (pp. 3–17). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis Group. Foucault, M. (2006). History of madness. New York, NY: Routledge. Gleeson, B. (1999). Geographies of disability. London: Psychology Press. Gregg, M., & Seigworth, G. (Eds.). (2010). The affect theory reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Hardt, M. (1999). Affective labor. Boundary, 2(2), 89–100. Hardt, M., & Negri, A. (2001). Empire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Hardt, M., & Negri, A. (2006). Multitude: War and democracy in the age of empire. New York, NY: Penguin Group. Lazzarato, M. (1996). Immaterial labour. In P. Virno & M. Hardt (Eds.), Radical thought in Italy: A potential politics (pp. 133–147). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Lenin, V. (1917). Imperialism: The highest stage of capitalism. Chippendale: Resistance Books. McRuer, R. (2006). Crip theory: Cultural signs of queerness and disability. New York, NY: NY University Press. Mierek, J. (2010). Interrelating with animals: Nonhuman selves in the literary imagination (Thesis). Chicago, IL: University of Illinois. ← 114 | 115 → Nibert, D. (2011). Origins and consequences of the animal industrial complex. In S. Best, R. Kahn, A. Nocella, & P. McLaren (Eds.), The global industrial complex: Systems of domination (pp. 197–210). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Perry, D. & Whiteside, R. (1995). Women, gender and disability: Historical and contemporary intersections of “otherness. Retrieved from ( Robbins, B. (2010). Multitude, are you there? n + 1, 10. Soldatic, K., & Biyanwila, J. (2006). Disability and development: A critical southern standpoint on able-bodied masculinity. TASA Conference, University of Western Australia and Murdoch University. Stowe, M., Turnbull, H. R. III, Schrandt, S., & Rack, J. (2006). Looking to the future: Intellectual and developmental disabilities in the genetics era. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 13(2), 1–64. Warner, M. (1993). Introduction. In M. Warner (Ed.), Fear of a queer planet: Queer politics and social theory (pp. vii–xxxi). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

White, L. (1967). The historical roots of our ecological crisis. In D. Spring & E. Spring (Eds.), Ecology and religion in history (pp. 1–6). New York, NY: Harper and Row. Wolbring, W. (2010). Ableism and energy security and insecurity. Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology, 5(1), 1– 17. Zola, I. (1987). Healthism and disabling medicalization. In I. Illich (Ed.), Disabling professions (pp. 41–69). London: Marion Boyar Publishers. ← 115 | 116 →

← 116 | 117 →



A few years ago I found a story about a fox with arthrogryposis, which is the disability I was born with. The fox was shot by a hunter because “it had an abnormal gait and appeared sick” (McBurney, 1999, p. 9). The animal, who had quite significant disabilities, had normal muscle mass and the stomach contained a large amount of digested food, “suggesting that the limb deformity did not preclude successful hunting and foraging” (p. 10). The shooting was presented as a mercy killing. (Of course, a hunter would have shot a normal fox too, just for less sympathetic reasons.) However, this fox was actually doing very well. The hunter’s assumptions about the fox’s quality of life were formed by stereotypes of disability as a struggle, as pain, as something worse than death. The concept of a “mercy killing” carries with it two of the most prominent responses to disability: destruction and pity. The fox was clearly affected by human ableism, shot dead by someone who believed disability equaled only suffering. In her book Contours of Ableism (2009), Fiona Campbell writes: “From the moment a child is born, he/she emerges into a world where he/she receives messages that to be disabled is to be less than, a world where disability may be tolerated but in the final instance, is inherently negative” (p. 17). Ableism at its simplest is prejudice against those who are disabled and against the notion of disability itself, but more than this ableism is the historical and cultural perpetuation of discrimination and marginalization of certain bodies labeled disabled, and the simultaneous privileging ← 117 | 118 → of bodies labeled able-bodied. Ableism breeds discrimination and oppression, but it also helps form the very ways in which we define which embodiments are normal, which are valuable, and which are understood as “inherently negative.”

The assumptions and prejudices we hold about disabled bodies run deep—so deep that we project this human ableism onto nonhuman animals. They are subject to some of our most prominent ableist narratives. For instance, the “better off dead” narrative, which led to the shooting of the fox, is a common thread in discussions of pet euthanasia and in animal farming. There is also the inspirational animal and the disabled animal who overcome great odds. This last is perhaps a more surprising narrative, but it seems to be gaining in popularity. Consider for example the movie Dolphin Tale (Smith, 2011), a true story of a dolphin who loses her tail and learns to swim with a prosthetic. Or consider the fantasy film How to Train Your Dragon (2010), which has a similar storyline involving a dragon who gets a prosthetic tail. Then there are stories like Faith’s, a dog who was born with only her two hind legs and who has learned to walk bipedally. Faith has appeared on many television shows, including Oprah (2010), and become an “inspiring” symbol. In fact “cute” and “inspiring” disabled animal stories seem to be all the rage on social media and various memes and websites tell the stories of disabled animals who “triumph” and “overcome” obstacles. We not only project ableism onto nonhuman animals, but the notion of disability itself.1 We really have no idea how other animals comprehend physical or cognitive difference within their species. Does a dog comprehend something is different about another dog if she has three legs? Can a monkey tell that she is different if she limps? Can animals know to help other disabled animals? Can animals recognize disability across species? A lot of fascinating evidence suggests that some animals can and do understand when another animal is different in some way. Primatologist Frans de Waal (1996) tells the story of Yeroen, the oldest adult male chimpanzee in the Arnhem chimpanzee colony. Yeroen hurt his hand in a fight with a young rival. De Waal writes Yeroen “limped for a week, even though his wound seemed superficial.” The scientists soon discovered that “Yeroen limped only if he could be seen by his rival.” Did Yeroen think that faking a limp would make his attacker more sympathetic to him? De Waal writes: “The possibilities that injuries inhibit aggression by rivals may explain Yeroen’s attempt to create a false image of pain and suffering” (p. 44) Consider another example: “A chimpanzee known as Knuckles—from the Centre for Great Apes in Florida—is the only known captive chimpanzee to suffer from cerebral palsy, which leaves him physically and mentally handicapped. Scientists have found that other chimpanzees in his group treat him differently and he is rarely subjected to intimidating displays of aggression from older males” (Center for Great Apes, 2013). ← 118 | 119 → However, the term and meanings of “disability” are still uniquely human created and defined by human cultures over centuries. Knuckles, it is interesting to note, is described as “suffering from” cerebral palsy, and on his website two of the three words used to describe his character are “special” and “inspirational.” These trite and patronizing descriptions are regularly critiqued within disability studies

for the way they present disability as simply negative—as something that needs to be “overcome” through strength of character and individual perseverance. We read various interpretations of disability onto disabled animal bodies. As I write this, there is a new Internet sensation: Chris P. Bacon (Huffington Post, 2013). Chris is a pig who was born in January 2013 with very small hind legs that he cannot walk on. He set the Internet on fire when a video of him using a homemade wheelchair went viral. The tiny piglet, who was rescued by a veterinarian (a woman brought him in to be euthanized) has now gone through multiple wheelchairs and weighs over 70 pounds. Chris the pig both inspires and horrifies people. Many commentators on articles about Chris want him euthanized, saying it’s cruel to make him live like that. Others find him heroic, so heroic that he is invited to attend muscular dystrophy events for children. Chris is raising awareness—not about the plight of pigs, but about disability. After all, no matter how much Americans on the Internet love the pig, we are still constantly reminded by his name of what he really is: bacon. The language we use to discuss disabled animals is telling. One of the most well-known disabled animals is Mozu (British Broadcasting Company [BBC], 1995). Mozu was a snow monkey (a Japanese macaque) who was born in Japan’s central highlands with profound abnormalities of her hands and feet, it is thought, from pesticide pollution. Snow monkeys spend a large amount of their time moving through trees. In the winter months this allows them to avoid wading through the thick snow that covers the ground. Because of Mozu’s disabilities she was mostly unable to move through the branches; instead she traveled the nearly two miles the troop covered every day in search of food by alternately walking on her abnormal limbs and crawling and sliding on the forest floor. When Mozu was born researchers who had been watching this troop feared she would not make it past infancy. To their surprise, Mozu lived for nearly three decades, rearing five children of her own and becoming a prominent troop member. In an episode of the program Nature (BBC, 1995) which tells Mozu’s story, she is again and again referred to as inspiring, as suffering, and as a “very special monkey.” The dramatic music and voiceovers that describe in vivid detail the struggle and suffering Mozu must be going through make it nearly impossible (even for someone like me) to watch her move through the snowy forest floor, a baby clinging to her belly and the other monkeys flying by above her, without thinking “poor Mozu!” ← 119 | 120 → At the same time, I am aware of how the piece is edited. There are few shots of Mozu not struggling (very few of her getting groomed, for instance), and I question the effect the videographers had on her and on the situation. There are details such as x-rays of Mozu’s hand that indicate that this was not a fully hands-off research study; and in one scene her desperation seems to stem from being chased by the

cameraperson. At the very least, I question to what extent the human music and voiceovers give a sense of struggle to Mozu’s story. Yet I have no doubt that life was hard for Mozu. I find myself desperate to know what she was thinking. Was her instinct to reach for the trees unquenchable? Was she always in pain, exhausted or fearful as she moved slowly through the forest floor? Did she wonder why she was different from her companions? I cannot help but ask these questions, wondering how she felt when she saw her companions swiftly moving above her. I also realize how similar these ponderings are to the tired questions that have been reiterated again and again to me about my own life, my own disability. However, my desire for Mozu’s life to not be seen as one largely of suffering and struggle is also a projection—a projection that wishes a sort of disability empowerment onto my fellow primate. In either case, our human perspective shapes how we interpret Mozu’s experience. Mozu and the other members of her troop lived largely in a nature reserve that included man-made hot springs, used by the macaques for rest and recuperation. There was also an area of the reserve where small amounts of food were left out for them to eat, especially during the extreme winter months. Sometime after the film about Mozu was made, when she was around 18 years old, her troop split in two. The dominant monkeys took claim of the territory that included the hot springs and the area that had the free food. Mozu and her family were not dominant, and were forced to leave the territory they had known and the comforts it offered. Mozu seems to have come to the conclusion that the move was too risky for her, and she made the highly unusual decision to leave her family, so that she could try to be accepted in the dominant pack. Mozu was eventually accepted, and was allowed to have access to the free food and the hot springs. The dominant monkeys’ acceptance of a lower ranked macaque was unusual. Researchers believe she was likely allowed to stay because of her disabilities (de Waal, 1996). Although this may be the case, in some ways this interpretation gives Mozu no credit. It is an interpretation that seems to think it only possible that the other monkeys were acting out of charity to Mozu, rather than considering the possibility that Mozu offered something valuable to the troop. Many of our ideas about animals are formed by our assumption that only “the fittest” animals survive, which negates the value, and in many ways even the naturalness of such things as vulnerability, weakness, and interdependence. We assume ← 120 | 121 → that when disabilities occur “nature will run her course,” in effect saying that the natural process for a disabled animal is to die, rendering living disabled animals not only aberrational, but unnatural. But how true is this? Mozu lived for twenty-eight years, raising children and grandchildren (de Waal, 1996). Recent research offers numerous examples of disabled animals surviving, as well as a surprising number that seem to show that animals can recognize when another animal is different and needs support. There are countless stories of apes, elephants, dogs, pigs, and even ducks, geese, and chickens

helping their disabled companions. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of the best-selling book When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals (1996) writes: “It is something of a cliché among animal behaviorists that wild animals do not tolerate disabilities, and that animals who are unfortunate enough to be born with a deformity or fall ill rarely last very long. I am dubious” (p. 82). It is known, for example, that male Silverback gorillas will slow down their troops so that elderly, ill, and disabled members can keep up (Prince-Hughes, 2004). Other species, such as elephants and wolves, have been shown to do this as well (Bekoff, 2010). One remarkable story is that of Stumpy (Stenersen & Similä, 2004), a baby orca who was first spotted in 1996. Researchers believe Stumpy must have been hurt during a run in with a boat, as the baby whale’s spine and dorsal fin were seriously damaged. During the first season of observation the baby clung to his mother and scientists didn’t think he would make it. When he wasn’t seen for many years it was assumed he had died. Then in 2002 he was spotted again. Stumpy had survived and, remarkably, he was being included and cared for by at least five different groups of whales. Since then, these whales have been seen bringing Stumpy food and protecting him from predators. He was last seen in 2008 (Evans, 2013). For anyone who thinks Stumpy’s situation is an isolated anomaly, scientists believe that wild orcas often care for disabled members of their pod. David Kirby (2013) writes: “Rather than killing their disabled offspring, or simply letting them perish, wild whales go to great lengths to preserve the lives and welfare of all their members. Pods with a disabled member are known to travel more slowly than other pods.” This support also seems to cross species divides. Scientists recently found an adult dolphin with a “malformed” spine who has been adopted by a group of sperm whales, a species that rarely shows interest in interspecies affection. In fact, dolphins and sperm whales are known to usually have an ambivalent if not antagonistic relationship. Tellingly, at least one behavioral biologist interviewed warned that: “We should be careful not to ‘overread’ the whales’ motivation as pity for the dolphin.” It is interesting that the scientist is at once warning about anthropomorphizing the whales, but is simultaneously assuming that if the whales did feel some sort of compassion that it would be “pity” (Sullivan, 2013). ← 121 | 122 → Stories of disabled animals appear regularly in mainstream news outlets and are usually presented simply as heartwarming narratives of overcoming; but what do these stories tell us about animal relationships? Many ethologists are now recognizing that some animals have a sense of justice, and much of the research animal scientists use to explore animal justice relies on examining how animals treat other wounded, elderly, or disabled animals in their social groups. What do we make of stories like Babyl’s for instance, an elephant who lived in the Samburu Reserve in Northern Kenya? Ethologist Marc Bekoff (2008) writes that Babyl, was “crippled” and “couldn’t travel as fast as the rest of the herd.” He continues: “The elephants in Babyl’s group didn’t leave her behind; they waited for her. When I asked

our guide, the elephant expert Iain Douglas-Hamilton, about this, he said that these elephants always waited for Babyl, and they’d been doing so for years. They would walk for a while, then stop and look around to see where Babyl was. Depending on how she was doing, they’d either wait or proceed. Iain said the matriarch even fed her on occasion.” Bekoff asks why the other elephants in Babyl’s herd would act this way: “Babyl could do little for them, so there seemed no reason for or practical gain in helping her. The only obvious conclusion we could draw was that the other elephants cared for Babyl, and so they adjusted their behavior to allow her to remain with the group” (p. 3). These examples are not limited to elephants, apes, and whales. Consider Baks’s, a large Boxer who was blinded in an accident. A four-year-old goose named Buttons took it upon herself to begin leading the dog “around everywhere either by hanging onto him with her neck, or by honking to tell him which way to go” (Animal Planet, 2011). There’s the story of Bobcat, a blind cat who was kept alive during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by following the sound of her companion, a dog named Bobbi. The dog had broken free after the storm, dragging a chain along the ground, which the cat was able to follow. Bobbi was protective of Bobcat and would growl at anyone who tried to approach her. The two survived together on the streets for months before being taken to a shelter (Holland, 2011). These examples are indeed sweet stories of companionship. But they also raise critical questions about empathy, vulnerability, interdependence, adaptation, and animal experience. Primatologist Frans de Waal (1996) suggests that when interacting with disabled individuals animals go through a process of what is called learned adjustment. “Healthy members do not necessarily know what is wrong, but gradually become familiar with the limitations of their less fortunate mates” (p. 48). In other words, an animal may recognize over time that the way another animal is moving or acting makes them more vulnerable to danger. Thus they begin to support that animal in ways that will aid in their protection, or they may treat the animal with ← 122 | 123 → less aggression, as they are not seen as a threat. Scientists argue that learned adjustment is different from cognitive empathy, which is the ability “to picture oneself in the position of another individual” (de Waal, p. 48). Research into animal empathy is still young, but it seems evident that numerous other species including wolves, apes, and elephants and possibly many others have the capacity for cognitive empathy (Bekoff & Pierce, 2009). It is interesting to note that a response to learned adjustment could go in multiple directions. Animals could learn that another animal is vulnerable and then take advantage of, abandon, or kill her, which no doubt does happen. De Waal (1996) writes: “Special treatment of the handicapped is probably best regarded as a combination of learned adjustment and strong attachment; it is the attachment the steers the adjustment in a positive, caring direction” (p. 48). So what is this attachment, then? Is it friendship or love? Is it empathy? De Waal acknowledges that learned adjustment leaves some questions unanswered.

For example, it does little to explain the care and protection an animal can have for an injured or disabled animal they’ve had no time to adjust to (such as if a troop member suddenly becomes injured). What strikes me about the whole conversation about disability and animals is how little research there is. Perhaps this should come as no surprise though, as disability has often been neglected as a legitimate area of study (Longmore & Umansky, 2001). As we have seen, a substantial portion of the work that does exist on disability in other species focuses on the effect the disabled animals have on the ablebodied animal population they are a part of, versus paying attention to the insights about animal behavior offered by the disabled animals themselves. We should be wary of this human tendency to assume that it is the nondisabled population’s response to disability that is most worthy of critical examination. Disabled animals are repeatedly presented as offering nothing back to their communities. But perhaps we need to broaden our understanding of contribution. Disabled animals raise important questions about adaptation, creativity, and self-reflection that could expand our understandings of animal consciousness. We should also bear in mind that as tempting as it is to see disability as engendering either empathy and compassion or neglect and violence in other animals, these narratives also reify the roles disability is assigned to play in many human cultures. In these narratives disabled people are either perceived as engendering compassion in able-bodied populations, or as burdens upon our communities who inspire animosity. This does not mean these narratives are always untrue, only that we should be careful not to simply read human stereotypes of disability onto other species. One of the most common places to find stories of animal disability is at sanctuaries for farmed animals, as there is an extremely high incidence of disability among animals used in food production. Visiting these sanctuaries one is confronted by a ← 123 | 124 → variety of animals who limp, scoot, are blind, or are missing limbs. There is also an impressive amount of assistive technologies designed for these animals, including the occasional prosthetic. The words “lame,” “crippled,” “mutilated,” and “blind” recur with frequency in the literature about these organizations, pointing to the reality that animal agriculture is a leading cause of disability among animals. Industrialized farm animals live in such cramped, filthy, and unnatural conditions that disabilities become common, if not inevitable. They are often kept in virtually endless darkness; are cramped into cages with cement, wire, or metal grated floors; and live in their own feces. But the disabilities that arise from these toxic environments are often secondary to the ones they are already made to have. Farmed animals are bred to physical extremes, where udders produce too much milk for a cow’s body to hold, where turkeys and chickens cannot bear the weight of their own giant breasts, and where pigs are left with legs that cannot hold their own weight. Chickens, turkeys, and ducks are also physically harmed with processes such as debeaking, which is done without anesthetic and which can leave them prone to serious infection, and make it very difficult for the birds to eat or preen themselves. All of this says

nothing of the bruises, abscesses, sores, broken bones, vaginal and reproductive disorders, chronic illness, and psychological issues that farmed animals are commonly reported to endure. Masson (2003) reports: “Nearly a quarter of all commercially reared birds are lame and experience excruciating chronic pain” (p. 67). To satisfy the increasing demand for cheap meat and eggs, chickens have been bred to grow twice as fast as they usually would, leaving them with bones and joints that cannot bear the weight of their massive forms. A battery hen, whose sole role it is to lay eggs, produces around 250 eggs a year, far more than the few dozen or so her body is meant to handle (Davis, n.d.). The constant egg production, mixed with her complete inability to exercise, makes her prone to osteoporosis and broken bones. Masson writes: “Scientists, like the veterinary Professor John Webster of the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Medicine, who exposed this situation, have been accused of being speculative, or worse, anthropomorphic” (p. 68). More recent studies have supported these scientists’ findings by showing that if offered a choice between regular feed and a feed that includes an anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing drug, that disabled hens will choose the enhanced feed, leading researchers to conclude that “the lame broiler chickens are in pain and that this pain causes them distress from which they seek relief” (Weeks, Danbury, Davies, Hunt, & Kestin, 2000, p. 311). The accusation of “anthropomorphic” is telling, as if acknowledging that humans aren’t the only creatures who experience physical difference and illness is too close for comfort. If humans can share this sort of vulnerability with nonhuman animals, what else might we share? ← 124 | 125 → It is not only chickens who experience these sorts of disabilities and health concerns. At least 60% of dairy cows experience lameness, and 35% experience udder mastitis—potentially fatal inflammation of the udder tissue. Cows used for milk production are kept either continuously pregnant or milking, their calves taken away within hours or days. They produce ten times as much milk as their calves would need. As with battery hens, this overproduction leaves cows susceptible to osteoporosis and broken bones, as they must walk with an unusual gait to carry such large and heavy udders (Masson, 2003). Pigs as well are prone to disabling conditions. Most upsetting to the pork industry is Porcine Stress Syndrome, which costs the industry an estimated $90 million a year. The condition is genetic, bred into these animals as a consequence of a decade’s worth of selective breeding for large and lean muscles. The condition essentially makes pigs extremely susceptible to heart attacks if they are stressed out, which is an inevitability on industrialized pig farms. The pigs live in cramped and filthy conditions, but once again it is the female animals who are in many ways the worst off. These pigs are kept continually pregnant or nursing, in cages so small that they often cannot even sit up, and are forced to lie on their sides until the next breeding cycle begins (Casau, 2003).

Pigs also experience disabling leg conditions because of the unusual weight they are bred to carry and a lack of physical exercise. They are prone to a wide variety of disabilities and diseases, including severe arthritis that affects their ability to walk (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, n.d.). This is how one slaughterhouse employee describes what happened to the “crippled hogs” at John Morrell & Company, a slaughterhouse in Sioux City Iowa that has the capacity to slaughter 75,000 hogs a week (one pig every four seconds). “The preferred method of handling a cripple at Morrell’s is to beat him to death with a lead pipe before he gets into the chute. It’s called ‘piping’” (Eisnitz, 2006, p. 82). Another says, “If a hog can’t walk, they scoop the son of a bitch up on a dead run with a Bobcat [small tractor]. Whupp! Right up in the air. If he stays in the bucket, he stays in. If he falls out, you run him over or pin him against the wall, finish busting the rest of his legs so he can’t run any further” (p. 100). Comparing this reality to the general enthusiasm over Internet sensation Chris P. Bacon, one begins to see just how conflicted human beings are about how we should treat and feel about animals. Disabled animals regularly appear in the media in a way other than as overcoming narratives. Outbreaks of mad cow disease, swine flu, E. coli, and other industrialized farmed animal diseases have led to countless headlines over the past few years, many focusing on the question of downed animals and whether or not they can be sent to slaughter. Downed animals, or nonambulatory animals, are simply animals who for numerous reasons are unable to walk. Although this could be due to a serious illness, ← 125 | 126 → more often than not it is due to exhaustion, dehydration, weak and fragile bones, complications after childbirth, or simply falling. Horrific videos by various animal advocacy groups including the Humane Society for the United States (HSUS, 2008) and Mercy for Animals (MFA, n.d.) have shown animals being dragged by a single limb, or kicked and beaten in an attempt to make them stand and walk to slaughter—activities which are often legal. The MFA footage shows “crippled” pigs being hung to death by chains in Ohio, which again is not against the law. Other animals are picked up alive by human beings or by equipment such as bulldozers, and thrown in dumpsters where they are simply left to die in “dead piles.” Often all these animals need to recover is patience and water. Vegan Outreach (n.d.) reports: “The number of downer cattle on U.S. farms or feedlots or sent to slaughter facilities is difficult to ascertain, but estimates approach 500,000 animals per year.” Most of these are dairy cows, many of whom have just given birth. Although the media does often mention the cruelty inflicted on these animals, it is the potential health risks posed to human beings if they become a part of the food supply that has sustained interest in this issue. In 2009 President Obama banned the slaughter of downed cattle because of the health risks they imposed on the public. Rather than be slaughtered, sick and disabled downed cattle are now supposed to be “humanely” euthanized. (Euthanasia is defined as a “single blow of a penetrating captive bolt or

gunshot” or as “chemical means that immediately renders the animal unconscious with complete unconsciousness remaining until death” (Animal Welfare Institute, [AWI] n.d.).) However, as AWI reports, there are loopholes. “Young calves ‘unable to rise from a recumbent position and walk because they are tired or cold’ may be held for slaughter. Because slaughter of these animals is permitted, slaughter plants have an incentive to attempt to get downed calves to rise, sometimes employing inhumane methods like kicking and the use of electrical prods.” Currently there are no regulations for the treatment of any nonambulatory animals during transport or at market. AWI writes that the federal ban on the slaughter of nonambulatory adult cattle “was enacted for reasons of food safety, not animal welfare, and applies only to adult cattle.” Downed animals bring up historical associations of disability with the fear of contamination. The downed animal becomes the symbol of what is sick, dirty, and dangerous about industrialized farming. Separating the downed animals out reinforces the idea that the rest of the practice is safe, healthy, and even compassionate, despite the obvious reality that the industry itself is clearly the creator and perpetuator of these problems. Disabled, ill, and otherwise nonambulatory animals are hardly the reason why industrial animal agriculture is dangerous and harmful. Countless articles and studies have shown that the system is cruel, toxic, and terrible for the environment, the workers, and human health in a number of serious ways. ← 126 | 127 → There is a sort of pity for these animals, but only at a distance, and only if it is clear they will not mix with “normal” and “healthy” cows (who as we have seen are actually neither “healthy” nor “normal”). In the end they must be euthanized, a sort of mercy killing that, like the fox with arthrogryposis shot by a concerned hunter, allows human beings to still kill animals as we would anyway (upholding speciesism), while also fulfilling two of the most prominent responses to disability—attempting to both destroy it, while also pitying it (upholding ableism). As the downed animals show, the sympathy directed toward disabled farmed animals is secondary to a concern over human needs—and these needs are usually over profit. The advice given to animal farmers to protect their animals from disease and disability is nearly always financial. Disabilities are spoken of as costing this or that much to the industry. In one instructional video I found on what to do with animals born with birth defects such as congenital blindness, “hermaphroditism,” or my own disability arthrogryposis, there’s no mincing of words or euphemistic disability-pitying. The advice is always to “destroy” them before they contaminate your gene pool and damage your profits. Profit has always been the number one reason farmers shouldn’t abuse their farmed animals. No one wants to eat damaged or bruised meat (as evidenced by the fact that battery hens are only used in dog food or ground up in canned products, and dairy cows for cheap hamburger meat, where their unsightly bruised flesh won’t be noticed). In a bizarre early but undated pamphlet by Swift & Company (n.d.) this

is made abundantly clear. The pamphlet, which is really better described as a comic, is filled with anthropomorphized, Warner Brothers-inspired drawings of smiling animals getting beaten by slaughterhouse employees—slapped, thrown, prodded, and whipped. The first page reads, “By midnight tonight, almost 100 tons of beef, lamb, and pork will have been destroyed today … destroyed or wasted because of someone’s carelessness in handling livestock.” It continues: “Directly or indirectly, every pound of meat lost because of bruises and crippling costs you money.” The most fascinating page is the last. A cartoon pig stands on two legs with a pair of crutches and his head wrapped up as if he has a head wound. Next to him stands a cow with her front leg (which resembles an arm as she is on two legs as well) in a sling. With her uninjured hoof the cow pushes an old-fashioned wheelchair in which sits a young lamb. All three of them stare out at the viewer. No longer smiling, they look distraught and exhausted—but it’s hard to imagine it’s over the loss of profits. It seems impossible to consider the disabling effects that farmed animals experience as separate from their environments. The mother pig is made utterly immobile, not by physical difference or disease, but by the metal bars of her gestation crate. The hen suffers from pain, but whether it’s due to a broken leg, ← 127 | 128 → overcrowding, complete darkness, or the death of her cage mate in many ways seems irrelevant. The dairy cow is euthanized, not because she can’t walk, but because she has become a symbol of contamination. The environments no doubt disable them even more than their physical and psychological disabilities do—a fact that supports the social model of disability. Trying to pinpoint disability and disease in these environments is no less challenging than trying to ascertain what disability is and isn’t among human beings. What does it mean to speak of a “healthy” or “normal” chicken or pig or cow when they all live in environments that are profoundly disabling? Indeed, when they are all bred to be disabled? The Belgian Blue is a bull bred for double muscling, for more and leaner meat. They are so huge that they have a hard time walking, and the females must have cesareans, as vaginal births are nearly impossible. Even so-called heritage breeds are often bred for characteristics that, in human beings, would no doubt be labeled disabilities or abnormalities. Consider the Midget White turkey or the Tennessee fainting goat, which “keels over when startled,” and which Slow Food USA (2013) says “sounds more like a sideshow act than the centerpiece of a barbecue.” The issue of breeding itself raises all sorts of complex questions about normalcy, naturalness, and the boundaries between disability and enhancement. These animals are enhanced, but enhanced for whom? Of the tens of billions of animals that are killed every year for human use, many are literally manufactured to be disabled: bred to be “mutant” producers of meat, milk, and eggs. And none of this says anything of other animal industries. According to the Global Action Network, the animals who are subjected to lives in fur factory farms (foxes, minx, chinchillas, and numerous other species) “are inbred for specific colors, causing severe abnormalities such as deafness, crippling, deformed sex organs, screw

necks, weakened immune systems, anemia, sterility, and disturbances of the nervous system.” Animals in research labs, circuses, and zoos experience a variety of different conditions and issues as well that are due largely to captivity, poor care, abuse, or breeding. What do we make of the fact that circus elephants are subject to severe arthritis because they are forced to stand, often chained, in cramped cages and boxcars with little opportunity to exercise? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA, 2010b) report that “foot disorders and arthritis are the leading reasons for euthanasia in captive elephants.” What about the huge numbers of animals from factory farms to zoos to research labs to circuses who show signs of mental illness, stereotypy, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or madness? Autistic writer and primatologist Dawn Prince-Hughes (2004) writes of how she saw her own symptoms of exclusion and marginalization in the animals she watched and studied at the zoo. She says: ← 128 | 129 → I would see this kind of behavior with gorillas in captivity. They had nervous tics, similar, if not identical, to mine: hair plucking, picking at scabs, scratching, rocking, chewing on themselves, and other repetitive and self-stimulating behaviors. One gorilla spun in tight, fast circles. Another bobbed her head up and down. (Prince-Hughes, 2004, p. 37)

No doubt all of this raises profound ethical concerns over the ways nonhuman animals are treated—or, more aptly, mistreated—by human beings. It is hard even to begin to consider what disability means in these instances, because of how inseparable it becomes from captivity, from abuse, from neglect, from breeding, and, yes, from suffering. What does disability mean for a hen who is in an environment where her every movement and desire is neglected? What does a physical limitation or difference mean when you are given no opportunity to move in your body, to explore it, because your environment is already limiting everything about you? Perhaps, as with many disabled human beings, these animals’ disabilities are the least of their worries. Unlike with Mozu, Stumpy, or the fox with arthrogryposis, there is no projected disability empowerment here. Not in these environments. I cannot find it anywhere, because as soon as I imagine these animals embodying their disabilities in ways other than suffering, or imagine them fostering new ways of interacting or perceiving, I have imagined them out of the factory farm or research lab. This shows the extent to which so much of the suffering and marginalization of disability is social, is built, is structural. But what happens to these animals when by some sheer stroke of luck they escape or are removed from these environments? I asked Jenny Brown this question. Brown is founder of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary (WFS), author of The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (2012), and is a disabled person herself. WFS is home to dozens of chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys, ducks, sheep, and goats who have been rescued from neglect, abuse, and abandonment. The animals come from large-scale farming operations as well as from small family-run farms. Brown’s response to my question was that it

really depends on the extent and variety of the disability. She told me about Emmet and Jasper, two male baby goats who came from a goat dairy operation. They both were diagnosed with Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis, which causes painful arthritic joints that can be debilitating. Jasper eventually was euthanized. Brown writes: “After pain meds and rounds of acupuncture we finally let him go because of the severity of his pain and physical debilitation.” Jasper’s brother Emmet has arthritis in his stifle and barely uses his leg but is doing well. Emmet has free range around the sanctuary, because as Brown writes: “When we did put these boys in with the goat herd, they would get rammed and taunted by the other, more dominant goats” (personal communication, 2012). ← 129 | 130 → However, many disabled animals who are rescued adapt to their differences on their own, or are supported by other nonhuman animals with whom they have bonded. In these instances we see just how little we know about animals and about disability. Stories of interspecies support between farmed animals abound. There are stories of mobilityimpaired animals choosing to spend most of their time with other animals of different species. There are blind animals who are guided by other animals in their social group. Masson (2003) tells the story of Hope and Johnny, two pigs who became attached after meeting at Farm Sanctuary. Hope had been rescued from a stockyard with a badly hurt leg that would not heal. She learned to scoot around a little bit and was making do when she met Johnny, a younger pig who for whatever reason became extremely attached to her. Johnny would sleep with her at night and spent nearly all hours of the day with her. When it was time to eat he’d guard her food from the other pigs to make sure they did not interfere with her eating. These two pigs, who had both experienced neglect and confinement, were inseparable. When Hope died of old age, Johnny, who was still young and healthy, died soon after. Jasper and Emmet’s stories, as well as stories like Hope and Johnny’s, raise many questions for disability scholars and advocates. How are we to consider animal euthanasia, for example? What does interspecies interdependence tell us not only about animal emotion, but about nonhuman experience of disability? These stories also raise questions about accommodation and access. What are our responsibilities to accommodate and support these animals who we have made disabled? What does accommodation and access even mean for different species? Brown told me about Boon, a turkey who lives at WFS. He was born with his tongue in his throat instead of in his mouth. Boon has difficulty eating and so the sanctuary staff feeds him a few times a day away from the other birds so as he can take his time and not be bothered. There are many examples of animals who need simple accommodations like this to survive. Perhaps they need to eat their meals away from the group, or be put in a living space with less dominant animals (even of another species), or perhaps they need to be fitted with some sort of mobility device.

Animal prosthetics are becoming more common. Prosthetics have been made for elephants, dogs, cats, dolphins, and goats to name a few. At WFS there is Albie, a goat with three legs who can be seen gamboling about every day in the sanctuary’s fields, sometimes with a prosthetic leg and sometimes without. Brown, an amputee herself, asked her own prostheticist if he would be willing to make a special prosthetic for the goat and he obliged (personal communication, 2012). The unique and innovative accommodations that are realized for these animals are all the more intriguing because of how similar they are to various common ← 130 | 131 → accommodations made for humans (prosthetics, ramps, wheelchairs, and so forth). However, in an anthropocentric and speciesist world, accommodating farmed animals takes on a whole other meaning. WFS is in many ways an accommodation in and of itself, as the vast majority of farmed animals don’t have access to environments in which they can go about their life in a species-typical way, let alone thrive, regardless of disability. They are almost always forced into environments that limit and harm them. In this way we return to environment, to the ways in which these animals are debilitated by human domination and exploitation. The disabilities created in these animal industries, disabilities born of speciesism and cruelty, complicate my understanding of disability. I am left with questions about suffering, a topic that disability scholars have rightfully tried to move away from. Disability activists and scholars have worked for decades to challenge the notion that disability equals suffering. Rather, we have argued that much of the suffering around disability stems from the discrimination and marginalization that disabled people face. This has not been done to erase suffering, but to broaden the conversation around what the experience of disability can be. While disability advocates have often pushed away from narratives of suffering, it is everywhere within animal ethics scholarship. A huge amount of work has been done by animal activists simply to prove that animals can suffer, and much more work has sought to explain why human beings should care about this fact. Suffering is an inevitable part of the conversation around animal industries, as well as around disability within these industries, and for good reason. However, animals are too often presented simply as voiceless beings who suffer. Exploring these issues through the lens of disability studies can help us to ask who these animals are beyond their suffering. It asks us to consider how the very vulnerability and difference these animals inhabit may in fact embody new ways of knowing and being. The title of this chapter is Animal Crips. But what does it mean to call an animal a crip? Can animals be crips? The word “crip” (of course from cripple) has been adopted by disability scholars and activists in a way similar to how LGBT scholars and activists have reclaimed the word “queer.” Many disabled people identify as “crips.” To crip something does not mean to break it, but instead to radically and creatively invest it with disability history, politics, and pride, while simultaneously questioning paradigms of normalcy and medicalization. To disabled scholars, activists, and artists, crip has become

an action, a way of radically altering meaning. We talk of crip time, crip space, crip culture, and crip theory. To call an animal a crip is no doubt a human projection, but it is also a way of identifying nonhuman animals as subjects who have been oppressed by ableism. Naming animals as crips is also a way of challenging us to question how bodies move, think, and feel, and our ideas of what makes a body valuable, exploitable, ← 131 | 132 → useful, or disposable. It means questioning the assumptions we have about what a cow or a chicken is capable of experiencing. And it means stopping to consider that the limping disabled fox you see through the barrel of your rifle may actually be enjoying her animal crip life. Animal crips challenge us to consider what is valuable about living, what is valuable about the variety of life. In the end, it is not only disabled animals who could be called crips. All animals—both those whom we human beings would call disabled and those whom we would not—are treated as inferior, devalued, and abused for many of the same basic reasons disabled people are. They are understood as incapable and different. They are, in other words, oppressed by ableism. The abled body that ableism perpetuates and privileges is always not only nondisabled but nonanimal.

Note 1.

Despite the challenges presented by the word “disability,” I use it throughout the remainder of this essay when discussing differences among nonhuman animals. I am drawn to the breadth the word disability has come to have within disability studies. However, I recognize the innate challenges in using this word to describe nonhuman animals and I use it acknowledging its limits.

References Animal Planet. (2011). I lean: Seeing-eye-goose befriends blind dog. Animal Welfare Institute. (n.d.). Legal protections for nonambulatory (or “downed”) animals. Retrieved from ( Bekoff, M. (2008). Emotional lives of animals: A leading scientist explores animal joy, sorrow, and empathy—and why they matter. Novato, CA: New World Library. Bekoff, M. (2010). Animal manifesto: Six reasons for expanding our compassion footprint. Novato, CA: New World Library. Bekoff, M., & Pierce, J. (2009). Wild justice: The moral lives of animals. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. British Broadcasting Company. (1995). Nature video library: Mozu the snow monkey [VHS]. USA: Time Life Video.

Brown, J. (2012). The lucky ones: My passionate fight for farm animals. New York, NY: Avery. Campbell, F. (2009). Contours of ableism. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Casau, A. (2003, October 7). When pigs stress out. New York Times. Center for Great Apes. (2013). Knuckles. ← 132 | 133 → Davis, K. (n.d.). The battery hen: Her life is not for the birds. Retrieved from ( Deblois, D., & Sanders, C. (2010). How to train your dragon [DVD]. United States: Dreamworks. De Waal, F. (1996). Good natured: The origins of right and wrong in humans and other animals. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Eisnitz, G. (2006). Slaughterhouse: The shocking story of greed, neglect, and inhumane treatment inside the U.S. meat industry. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Evans, B. (2013). Disabled killer whale with missing fins survives with the help of family who hunt for its food. Mail Online. Retrieved from ( Holland, J. (2011). Unlikely friendships. New York, NY: Workman Publishing. Huffington Post. (2013, February 7). Chris P. Bacon, disabled piglet, uses tiny wheelchair. Retrieved from ( Humane Society for the United States. (2008). Rampant animal cruelty at California slaughter plant. Retrieved from ( Kirby, D. (2013). Why killer whales won’t abandon their disabled mates. Take Part. Retrieved from ( Longmore, P., & Umansky, L. (Eds.). (2001). The new disability history: American perspectives. New York, NY: New York University Press. Masson, J. M. (1996). When elephants weep: The emotional lives of animals. Surrey: Peaslake. Masson, J. M. (2003). The pig who sang to the moon: The emotional world of farm animals. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. McBurney, S. (1999). Congenital limb deformity in a red fox. Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre, 6(1), 9–10. Mercy for Animals. (n.d.). Auction atrocities: California livestock abuse exposed. Oprah. (2010, October 4). Faith the walking dog. Harpo Productions. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. (2010a). Ailing elephants forced to perform. Retrieved from

( People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. (2010b). The pork industry. Retrieved from ( Prince-Hughes, D. (2004). Songs of the gorilla nation. New York, NY: Harmony Press. Slow Food USA. (2013). Ark of taste: Tennessee fainting goat. Retrieved from ( Smith, C. M. (2011). Dolphin tale [DVD]. Los Angeles, CA: Alcon Entertainment. Stenersen, J., & Similä, T. (2004). Norwegian killer whales. Henningsvær, NO: Tringa Forlag. Sullivan, J. (2013). Sperm whales adopt malformed dolphin into their group. The Beacon. Swift & Company. (n.d.). One bruise is too many. Retrieved from ( ← 133 | 134 → Vegan Outreach. (n.d.). How does drinking milk hurt cows? Retrieved from ( Weeks, C. A., Danbury, T. D., Davies, H. C., Hunt, P., & Kestin, S. C. (2000). The behaviour of broiler chickens and its modification by lameness. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 67, 111–125.

← 134 | 135 →

Part III Class ← 135 | 136 →

← 136 | 137 →


Doing Time in Slaughterhouses A Green Criminological Commentary on Slaughterhouse Work Programs for Prison Inmates AMY J. FITZGERALD

Stories of “hardened” inmates being rehabilitated as a result of their interactions with nonhuman animals while behind bars are increasingly recounted in academic and more popular outlets, such as a television show—Cell Dogs (Nonhuman animal Planet)—dedicated to chronicling these interspecies sojourns. Such narratives describe how inmates in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere are taking care of and training dogs, cats, and even horses, to make them more attractive to potential adopters and to provide them with the special skills necessary to be used in service (“service nonhuman animals”). These programs are lauded by academics, nonhuman animal advocates, and correctional staff for fostering empathy among inmates and providing them with vocational training, among other things (Britton & Button, 2005; Cushing & Williams, 1995; Furst, 2006, 2007; Harkrader, Burke, & Owen, 2004; Moneymaker & Strimple, 1991; Walsh & Mertin, 1994; Wells, 2009). Nonhuman animals are implicated in the prison–industrial complex in another way—one less suitable for television audiences. In some industrialized nations, such as the United States and

Canada, inmates are also at work slaughtering and processing nonhuman animals (see for instance, CORCAN, 2007; New Jersey Department of Corrections, 2009; Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 2009). This form of inmate labor has escaped close scrutiny, which is not surprising, given that this activity occurs at the nexus of two industries that perhaps more than any others in the modern period have been ushered away from the public gaze. The lack ← 137 | 138 → of scrutiny regarding employing inmates in this specific industry is likely also related to the customary speciesist assumption that making meat is no different from other forms of manufacturing and therefore does not draw attention. Consequently, the use of inmates in prisonrun and privately operated slaughterhouses is mentioned only peripherally in the literature and has not been the focus of research attention. Yet the use of inmates for these ends is interesting for both theoretical and empirical reasons. Recent theoretical developments in the nascent area of green criminology (e.g., Beirne, 1999; Cazaux, 1999; Lynch, 1990) have highlighted the importance of attending to the harms perpetrated against the environment and non-human nonhuman animals. Further, recent qualitative community studies (Broadway, 1990, 1994, 2000, 2001; Broadway & Stull, 2005; Gouveia & Stull, 1995; Grey, 1995, 1998; Horowitz & Miller, 1999; Stull & Broadway, 2004) and quantitative studies employing secondary data analysis (Artz, Orazem, & Daniel, 2007; Fitzgerald, Kalof, & Dietz, 2009) have demonstrated that slaughterhouses are associated with increased community crime rates (effects that are not found in comparison industries, such as iron and steel forging, truck trailer manufacturing, motor vehicle metal stamping, sign manufacturing and industrial laundering) and cannot be explained by demographic and economic factors. These theoretical and empirical developments provide a context within which to question whether it is in the best interests of the inmates, nonhuman animals, and society at large to teach inmates how to inflict harm upon living beings while rationalizing their behavior and suppressing their compassion. In what follows I argue that in the very least there is a need to investigate correctional programs that assign inmates to work in an industry identified as potentially criminogenic and physically dangerous. This chapter charts the forms that inmate labor programs involving the raising and slaughtering of nonhuman animals take in Canada through CORCAN and in the United States through the Federal Prison Industries (FPI)/UNICOR as well as at the state level, theorizes the potential implications for the parties involved, and concludes by suggesting future lines of research. It begins by providing an overview of Prison-Based Nonhuman animal Programs (PAPs) to facilitate

a comparison between programs where nonhuman animals are used as therapeutic partners and those where nonhuman animals are simply used as raw material in the production of food.

Prison-Based Nonhuman Animal Programs The sizable literature on the effects of nonhuman animals on human well-being indicates that the effects are largely positive, although there are some specific contexts in which the presence of nonhuman animals may not be beneficial, such as in ← 138 | 139 → mitigating depression among men with HIV, unmarried men, Alzheimer’s patients, elderly women, and psychiatric patients (Wells, 2009). The numerous positive effects of human–nonhuman animal interactions on human well-being documented in the literature have been divided into three major categories: physical health, emotional health, and social interaction and responsibility (Morley & Fook, 2005). Two recent reviews of the empirical evidence (Nimer & Lundahl, 2007; Wells, 2009) indicate that there is empirical support for the benefits of nonhuman animal companionship in each of these three areas. These benefits have been examined further in various institutional contexts, including nursing homes (Perelle & Granville, 1993), psychiatric hospitals (Lee, 1983), and prisons (Britton & Button, 2005; Cushing & Williams, 1995; Furst, 2006, 2007; Harkrader et al., 2004; Lai, 1998; Moneymaker & Strimple, 1991; Walsh & Mertin, 1994). The prison is one institutional setting where interactions with nonhuman animals can be particularly beneficial because inmates often have needs related to emotional well-being and social interaction and responsibility, which are two of the three areas highlighted in the literature documenting the beneficial effects of nonhuman animal companionship. Yet, the potential benefits of nonhuman animal-based interventions in this context has not been matched by research attention (Furst, 2006; Lai, 1998), which is further surprising given that PAP is increasingly common in Canada (Lai, 1998) and the United States (Furst, 2006). A few preliminary studies have examined certain aspects of PAPs. For instance, Lai (1998) and Furst (2006) have assessed the scope of these programs in Canada and the United States, respectively. Further, the effects of these programs on the behavior of participants have been examined in the United States. These programs appear to improve the institutional atmosphere and relations between the inmates and staff (Britton & Button, 2005; Harkrader et al., 2004; Walsh & Mertin, 1994). Moreover, two studies have documented relatively low recidivism rates among program participants in addition to improved institutional behavior (Cushing & Williams, 1995;

Moneymaker & Strimple, 1991); however, comparison groups were not included in these studies, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding program efficacy. The perceptions of the participants in dog training programs have also been examined through interviews in two studies. Furst (2007) interviewed 22 male and female primary dog handlers. The focus of her study was to examine whether the participants assigned the dogs human-like identities, which they did. Additionally, the participants reported the dogs provided them with emotional support and helped alleviate depression, increased their level of emotional and impulse control, and provided them with a sense of empowerment. Britton and Button (2005) interviewed 38 inmates, seven staff members, and 28 recipients of dogs trained by ← 139 | 140 → inmates. They report on the inmates’ motivation for participating in the program, the challenges posed by the program, and the benefits inmates believe they receive from the program. The benefits cited by inmates include attitudinal and emotional changes, with positive effects on behavior; positive changes in the prison environment; and the ability to provide a service to the community. Despite the work undertaken in these studies, notable gaps in the literature remain. For example, potentially important differences between the various types of PAPs have not been examined. In their surveys of PAPs, Furst (2006) and Lai (1998) identify several different types of programs, including (1) service nonhuman animal socialization programs; (2) community adoption programs, wherein inmates train nonhuman animals who are subsequently adopted out to community members; (3) visitation programs, with nonhuman animals brought into the institution for short-term visits; (4) pet adoption programs, where inmates adopt and care for nonhuman animals; (5) wildlife rehabilitation programs, wherein inmates care for and then release injured wildlife; and (6) livestock programs, within which farm nonhuman animals are raised for production, slaughtered, and processed. Program types (1) and (2) have been the focus of the research conducted thus far (as detailed above); however, there are likely important differences in effects for the human and nonhuman animal participants across all of these different types of programs. For instance, clearly the programmatic effects for nonhuman animals involved in socialization/training/rehabilitation programs would be different from those being raised for slaughter (a chance at life versus confinement and certain death). On the inmate side, vocational outcomes—a current focus in the corrections literature (e.g., Gillis & Crutcher, 2005; Gillis, Motiuk, & Belcourt, 1998; Maguire, Flanagan, & Thornberry, 1988; Motiuk, 1996; Motiuk & Belcourt, 1996; Saylor & Gaes, 1996)—are likely different across these programs. Additionally,

research is needed to understand how inmates feel about participating in the livestock programs and the extent to which participation is voluntary. Livestock programs differ from the other five programs in that the nonhuman animals there are treated as consumable goods (whereas in the others they are treated as pets or laborers in need of care and training, as service-providers, and as injured individuals in need of rehabilitation). The livestock programs are also set apart in that participation by inmates can require killing and processing nonhuman animals. The meat from these nonhuman animals is then either used for consumption within the institution or by other arms of the government (Connelley, Conklin, & Gordon, 1993; Irvine, 1977, 1978a, 1978b; Lightman, 1982). The fact that inmates are being used to slaughter and process nonhuman animals is surprising to some. For instance, a reporter with the New York Times commented in a story about his undercover work in a slaughterhouse in North Carolina that “The company even procures criminals. Several at the morning ← 140 | 141 → orientation were inmates on work release in green uniforms, bused in from the county prison” (Le Duff, 2000, emphasis mine). For green criminologists, the tension between the existence of programs within prisons where interactions with nonhuman animals are used as “therapy” and programs where inmates are used to raise and slaughter nonhuman animals is of particular interest. However, to date, the use of inmates to raise, slaughter, and process nonhuman animals has not been studied. This chapter is intended to begin to fill that gap.

Inmate Labor and the Use of Nonhuman Animals Examining labor programs where inmates slaughter and process nonhuman animals as a unique form of prison labor is consistent with a recent move to include the harm inflicted by humans upon the environment and nonhuman animals within the purview of criminology. This project, termed “green criminology” (Lynch, 1990), has been defined as “the study of those harms against humanity, against the environment (including space) and against nonhuman animals committed by both powerful institutions (e.g. governments, transnational corporations, military apparatuses) and also by ordinary people” (Beirne & South, 2007, p. xiii). Scholarly interest in this area has been growing steadily (Beirne & South, 2007; Boyd, Chunn, & Menzies, 2002; Fitzgerald & Baralt, 2010; South & Beirne, 2006; White, 2007), and it has been argued that the relevance of criminology depends upon its inclusion of harms against the environment and non-human nonhuman animals: “A criminology relevant to the [21st century] should have the intellectual

breadth and constitutional space to be able to embrace environmental, human and nonhuman animal rights issues as related projects” (South, 1998, p. 225) Within the green criminological perspective, explicit attention has been paid to non-human nonhuman animals, with the aim of developing a “nonspeciesist criminology” (Beirne, 1999; Cazaux, 1999) concerned with taking harm to nonhuman animals seriously. Thus far, however, research attention has focused on individual actions against companion nonhuman animals, such as drawing a link between abuse perpetrated within the family and nonhuman animal abuse (e.g., Fitzgerald, 2005, 2007; Flynn, 2000a, 2000b). Attention also needs to be paid to institutionalized practices that result in harm to nonhuman animals which are considered socially acceptable (Beirne, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009; Beirne & South, 2007; Cazaux, 1999; South & Beirne, 2006). Piers Beirne (2004) has pointed to slaughterhouses as an ideal site for investigating the institutionalized harm of nonhuman animals and how violence perpetrated against them might affect the perpetrators, even when the violence is socially approved of. He theorizes, “Whenever human-nonhuman animal relationships are marked by authority and power, and thus by institutionalized social distance, there is an ← 141 | 142 → aggravated possibility of extrainstitutional violence” (2004, p. 54). Beirne’s theorizing parallels studies of other types of work wherein the institutionalized distance and aggression between people can spill over into other contexts in their lives, such as studies documenting extrainstitutional violence among military personnel (e.g., Allen, 2000; Marshall & McShane, 2000; Marshall, Panuzio, & Taft, 2005; Mercier, 2000; Rosen, Kaminski, Parmley, Knudson, & Fancher, 2003) and prison guards (e.g., Black, 1982; Kauffman, 1988; Stack & Tsoudis, 1997). Beirne’s theorizing is also consistent with recent findings of sociological and anthropological case studies (Broadway, 1990, 1994, 2000, 2001; Broadway & Stull, 2005; Gouveia & Stull, 1995; Grey, 1995, 1998; Horowitz & Miller, 1999; Stull & Broadway, 2004) documenting increased crime rates in communities where large slaughterhouses have opened (with increases in violent crimes as high as 130% [Broadway, 2000]), as well as with two quantitative studies examining the relationship between slaughterhouse employment levels and crime rates in hundreds of counties in the United States over extended periods of time. Artz and colleagues (2007) found that increases in the number of slaughterhouse employees in counties were associated with increases in violent crime rates over a decade. Further, Fitzgerald and colleagues (2009) found that controlling for various theorized correlates of crime, such as the proportion of young men in the county, income levels, and immigration, among others, slaughterhouse employment levels are significantly related

to increases in total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, rape, and other sex offenses. They also found that the relationship between the nonhuman animal slaughtering industry and crime rates is unique when compared to other industries. These findings support the assertion of green criminologists that socially approved harms against nonhuman animals are nonetheless devastating for the nonhuman animals involved and are also problematic for the human population, and warrant serious research attention. Dillard (2008) has taken the above evidence of a connection between slaughterhouse employment and violence so seriously that she suggests slaughterhouse work be considered “an ultrahazardous activity for psychological well-being” and recommends the development of occupational health and safety regulations to improve psychological safety therein. Furthermore, in her book on perpetration-induced stress, MacNair (2002) suggests studying slaughterhouse workers for the presence of the condition. She poses the following questions: Does the fact that these are merely nonhuman animals prevent the psychological consequences that would accrue if people were to be treated in this way? Does the fact that this kind of violence is done in massive numbers make it more of a psychological problem than violence to one or a few nonhuman animals would? (2002, p. 88)

The placement of inmates in these jobs raises many additional questions. ← 142 | 143 → Based on the current empirical evidence on the relationship between nonhuman animal abuse and other forms of harm it cannot be definitively concluded that there is a “progression” from harming nonhuman animals to harming people (see Beirne, 2009) or that there is a “deviance generalization” process whereby those who abuse nonhuman animals are more likely to engage in more minor harmful activities, such as property destruction and substance abuse (Arluke, Jack, Carter, & Ascione, 1999). However, the qualitative and quantitative research on slaughterhouse communities, like the research on nonhuman animal abuse and forms of family violence, points to a context where some type of relationship does exist between harm perpetrated against nonhuman animals (actions much more likely to be defined as abusive or cruel when involving companion nonhuman animal species instead of nonhuman animals defined as consumable) and harm endured by people. Further research will be needed to more fully understand the dynamics of this relationship. In the meantime there is certainly enough evidence to speculate that there are negative social and psychological consequences of work involving slaughtering and processing nonhuman animals. Slaughterhouse workers themselves have articulated this possibility. According to one worker interviewed by Eisnitz, “The worst thing, worse than the physical

danger, is the emotional toll. If you work in that stick pit for any period of time, you develop an attitude that lets you kill things but doesn’t let you care” (1997, p. 87). Anthropologist Deborah Fink said of her five months of participant observation in a slaughterhouse that it was the first time she had a desire to turn to alcohol for comfort before. She describes the serious emotional toll that work took on her as follows: Before I left the plant I was carrying heavy depression and thoughts of suicide that were more real than any I had known before… I found that my mind would fill with grotesque flashbacks, and I was unable to process events or emotions as I had before. I dreamed about looking into a combination of meat [containers she threw the meat she cut up in] and seeing detached arms and tormented faces reaching up to me to be saved—or to pull me in. (Fink, 1998, p. 37)

Thus, while at the institutional level this industry is grounded in the anthropocentric premise of human superiority, derivative rationalizations may not be enough to nullify the day-to-day realities of the job. In addition to potential negative social and psychological consequences of the work, there is an abundance of evidence that work in the industry often has negative physical effects: The industry has injury and illness rates three times the average of the rates of other manufacturing industries (Stull & Broadway, 2004). Thus, it is reasonable to wonder if these inmate labor programs are subjecting inmates ← 143 | 144 → to psychologically and physically dangerous work conditions. It is also not clear that it is socially valued and economically viable work which will translate into meaningful opportunities upon release. For instance, Garland (1990) articulates the socially devalued nature of the work in drawing a comparison between slaughtering nonhuman animals and punishing offenders as follows: “Like the slaughter and carving of nonhuman animals for human consumption, the business of inflicting pain or deprivation among offenders has come to seem rather shameful and unpalatable” (p. 235). Regarding the economic viability of the work, it has been demonstrated that workers are increasingly ununionized, the pay in the industry is marginal, and the turnover very high—turnover rates of 200% per year are not uncommon in a new facility (Broadway, 2000). The combination of these factors begs the question: Is this an industry inmates should be trained in?

Inmate Labor Programs

A history of inmate labor programs is far beyond the scope of this chapter, desirable though it is. However, the recent developments and key points in the debate over inmate labor warrant mention here in order to contextualize the use of inmates to slaughter nonhuman animals. The use of inmate labor in Canada and the United States has been historically variable. In the latter half of the twentieth century, inmate labor programs declined in importance, at least partially because the pace of automation was not duplicated in prisons and reducing inmate idleness was less necessary because of increases in correctional programming (Townsend, 1996). More recently, however, the forces of globalization and privatization (and increasing prison populations) have renewed interest in prison labor as a means of subcontracting under post-Fordist production (Weiss, 2001). Proponents of inmate labor claim it has several advantages, including reducing inmate idleness; increasing inmates’ future earnings, thus generating tax revenue and lowering the demand on social programs; reducing the burden of incarceration placed on taxpayers; reducing recidivism (Atkinson & Rostad, 2003; Lightman, 1982); fostering self-respect among inmates; generating income that inmates can use upon release as well as to assist family and pay restitution to victims (Alarid, 2005); and repatriating less-skilled jobs lost to international markets (Parenti, 1996; Scott & Derrick, 2006; Weiss, 2001). Conversely, opponents of prison labor cite the following as issues of concern: prison labor is inefficient because of the security required (Alarid, 2005); work behind bars rarely results in jobs upon release (Maguire et al., 1988; Pryor, 2005); ← 144 | 145 → the programs unfairly compete with private businesses and free workers (Borna, 1986); the involvement of private businesses poses the risk that their priorities (i.e., profits) will supersede correctional goals (Lightman, 1982); prison labor programs are merely tools for perpetuating capitalism through the provision of surplus labor and the instillation of discipline in the unruly (Foucault 1977; Rusche & Kirchheimer, 1939 [1967]; Weiss, 2001); and inmates have the moral right to control their labor (Lippke, 1998). Despite these concerns, inmate labor has become a mainstay of US and Canadian corrections, and livestock programs have assumed an important role therein.

Livestock Programs in US Prisons In the United States approximately three-quarters of federal inmates and two-fifths of state inmates have a job (Pryor, 2005). At the federal level, inmates are employed through the FPI (also

referred to by its trade name, UNICOR), a government-owned corporation which was established in 1934. According to their mission statement, FPI’s mission is to employ and provide job skills training to the greatest practicable number of inmates confined within the Federal Bureau of Prisons; contribute to the safety and security of our Nation’s correctional facilities by keeping inmates constructively occupied; produce market-priced quality goods and services; operate in a self-sustaining manner; and minimize FPI’s impact on private business and labor. (Federal Prison Industries, 2008)

Some of the stated objectives of the FPI include making prisons safer and improving discipline through the reduction of idleness; the generation of revenue to offset the costs of incarceration; the provision of inmates with job training and rehabilitation; and the development of financially responsible inmates. One of the self-stated criticisms of the FPI is that “inmates in FPI are not being taught marketable skills.” Yet, in the literature it does not indicate the specific skill set that is being learned but instead insists that “FPI teaches inmates the most marketable skill of all: how to work” (Federal Prison Industries, 1996). In 2009, approximately 19,000 federal inmates, 16% of the eligible population, were employed in the FPI program. Inmates earned between 23 cents and $1.15 per hour (Federal Prison Industries, 2009). FPI’s website boasts that it is one of the government’s most successful programs and that it has earned the government over $80 million. However, their website also indicates that a challenge (or an opportunity) lies ahead for FPI: it will have to increase in size to provide employment for the expanding prison population. ← 145 | 146 → According to one review, FPI jobs either support internal operations or “prison industries,” which produce goods and services consumed by customers outside of the facility (Pryor, 2005). The goods and services are purchased by other arms of the government and by private companies. The industries selected for prison work tend to have high ratios of labor to capital, require low skill levels, and have low reliance on inputs from other industries (Pryor, 2005)—all of which makes nonhuman animal slaughtering and processing ideal. Statistics detailing how many inmates are working in this type of program are not made readily available; however, according to data from 2000, 29,920 inmates in state facilities and 150 in federal facilities were conducting “farm work” (Atkinson & Rostad, 2003). It is entirely unclear precisely what this “farm work” entails. My own survey of state corrections offices and examinations of websites and documents indicates that at least 18 states are currently using inmates to raise, slaughter, and/or process livestock nonhuman animals. These states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa,

Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming. The amount of information provided about these programs varies by state. While most states provide very little information, a few of the states provide descriptive information about the nonhuman animal slaughtering program on their websites and in publicly available documents, and that information is instructive. For instance, the New Jersey Department of Corrections reports that it operates six dairy and crop farms and three food processing plants that produce milk, beef, turkey, and pork. According to their website, The objective of the AgriIndustries Revolving Fund, established in 1977, is to offer products to the departments at a savings. AgriIndustries stresses a strong work ethic and promotes sound work habits among offenders, providing programs that have been shown to reduce recidivism. All AgriIndustries are self-supporting and operate without appropriated funds. Annual revenues equal approximately $9 million, with annual savings of approximately $1 million in food costs. (New Jersey Department of Corrections, 2009)

The economic imperative is apparent here, while the benefits to inmates are stated in rather general terms. Virginia reportedly has two meat processing facilities where inmates process 4 million pounds of meat per year. They produce all of the dairy, pork, beef, and fish consumed by state inmates. They also raise thousands of pigs and cows each year. A central purpose of the program is articulated on their website as follows: “Inmate workers in farming activities produce food for the inmate population, ← 146 | 147 → reducing the Department’s need to purchase these items” (2009). Again, the economic imperative is apparent: by producing all of the meat consumed by the inmates the Department is saved considerable money. Additionally, it can sell surplus to generate revenue. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) is rather unique in that it provides significant detail about the farm programs on its website. The Ohio DRC farm operations span 10,750 acres of ground at ten prison locations and two Ohio Penal Industries (OPI) shops. Farm Operations include dairy, beef, fat and feeder cattle, swine operations and corn, soybean, wheat and hay crops. The Farm operations produce raw milk, cattle and hogs for the OPI shops to process for use in the DRC Food Service operation… Dairy farms raise their own replacement nonhuman animals. DRC Farms have over 1,000 beef cows that calve each year. Half of the calves are kept to replace older beef cows while the other half are sent to harvest (at approximately

15 months of age, weighing 1,100 pounds). Fat cattle are scheduled into the OPI Meat Processing Career Center (MPCC). DRC purchases about 1,500 head of feeder cattle per year to fatten for MPCC. There are five swine operations. Two locations are used for birthing baby pigs. The babies are kept until their weight reaches 50 pounds then they are shipped to one of the other three swine facilities. Hogs are processed at MPCC when they reach an age of 6 months and weigh 280 pounds. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 2009)

The fact that the Ohio DRC has created a “Meat Processing Career Center (MPCC)” indicates that it is a fairly large and important part of the Department. The Center occupies 37,000 square feet, employs 12 full-time staff, and has four custodial and 102 offender positions. According to the description of the program by the Ohio DRC, offenders receive hands-on training resulting in marketable skills that lead to employment opportunities in the meat processing industry upon release. Food items produced at MPCC are delivered to DRC institutions. Current items include pork breakfast mix (bulk and patty), hamburger (bulk and patty), diced pork and beef, boneless pork cube steak and boneless beef cubed steak, tex-mex and meatloaf patties, and boneless ham and beef roasts. MPCC staff work closely with DRC Food Service Administration to market products and with future product development. MPCC is pleased to be partners with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, The Ohio State University, and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 2009). It is apparent that at the Federal level and in many states, inmates are raising, killing, and processing nonhuman animals. Further, some states, such as Ohio, have institutionalized these programs in significant ways. The existence and scope of these programs in the United States is not an anomaly: these programs are also in place in Canada. ← 147 | 148 →

Livestock Programs in Canadian Prisons Prison employment programs in Canada are organized and delivered through CORCAN at the federal level. Its mandate “is to ensure that inmates who participate in CORCAN activities are fully, regularly and suitably employed in a work environment that strives to achieve private sector standards of productivity and quality. It is also mandated to provide programs and services that facilitate inmates’ re-entry into the work force following their release” (CORCAN, 2005). CORCAN documents consistently reiterate that the objectives of the programs include enhancing the employability of offenders; providing a sense of purpose for inmates; contributing to a safe

institutional environment; and improving institutional self-sufficiency, thus lowering the cost of incarceration (CORCAN, 2005). CORCAN “shops” operate in 36 sites, employing approximately 4000 inmates (mostly men), or roughly 15% of the federal inmate population every year. Participation levels continue to rise. Until recently, CORCAN programs were divided into five sectors: agribusiness, construction, manufacturing, textile production, and various services (CORCAN, 2005–06). Documents indicate that agribusiness programs (which includes slaughterhouses, or abattoirs) operate in six federal facilities (CORCAN, 2007); however, they do not indicate how many inmates work in the sector. We can extrapolate from two studies using random samples of CORCAN participants (Gillis et al., 1998; Motiuk & Belcourt, 1996) that approximately 1000 inmates are working in the agribusiness sector at any point in time. These numbers will begin to decline, however, as CORCAN recently announced that it will begin phasing out the agribusiness sector of its program. Security issues and changes in the labor market were cited as reasons for this decision (CBC, 2010). Research is needed to understand if the desirability of inmates raising and slaughtering nonhuman animals was brought up as an issue during the CSC’s deliberations about phasing out the agribusiness sector. In 2007–08, the most recent year for which the Correctional Service of Canada had released information at this time of this writing, CORCAN recorded its highest sales ever—$70.6 million, which represents an increase of 17% over the previous year. The revenue by business type for the fiscal year is broken down as follows: Manufacturing $37.5 million, Construction $13.0 million, Agribusiness $7.6 million, Textile $7.2 million, and Services $5.3 million. Agribusiness revenues therefore account for approximately 10% of CORCAN’s revenue, “but these operations employ a disproportionately high number of offenders to keep the enterprises functioning” (Correctional Service Canada, 2007). The products and services produced through CORCAN programs are sold to departments of the federal government, and less often to other levels of government, ← 148 | 149 → educational and health facilities, and nonprofit organizations (CORCAN, 2005–06). As expected, CORCAN’s largest customer is Correctional Service Canada, which purchased $18.2 million worth of goods and services, including “agricultural products.” The private sector purchased $5.1 million in goods and services. Thus, as with the use of inmates in livestock programs in the United States, the programs in Canada are employing a fairly large number of inmates and are generating considerable revenue.

The research conducted on inmate labor programs to date in Canada and the United States, however, has lumped all of the divergent labor programs together. Yet there are important reasons to disaggregate these programs, discussed below.

Research on Labor Programs Most research on inmate labor programs has focused on outcomes; most specifically, whether these programs increase inmate employability upon release and relatedly, whether they impact recidivism rates. According to Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) documents, “The expectation is that employing offenders will offset both industry and incarceration costs, improve the employability of offenders upon release and have some impact on post-release recidivism” (Motiuk & Belcourt, 1996). The official CORCAN literature suggests that their programs effectively reduce recidivism, but stops just shy of explicitly making the claim, stating that “Research indicates that a realistic work experience more effectively prepares an offender for employment in the community and successful reintegration” (CORCAN, 2005–06, p. 7). A statement on the CSC website draws a more explicit link between CORCAN and reduced recidivism: “Research carried out by the Service has shown that experience in the CORCAN work program leads to a reduction in recidivism, particularly for those offenders who are on parole” (Correctional Service of Canada, 2008). The ability of these programs to improve inmate employability has not been overwhelmingly demonstrated (Gillis et al., 1998), and the effects of employment programs on recidivism are even more equivocal (Gillis & Nafekh, 2005). The CSC commissioned two studies on the effects of CORCAN programs on recidivism (Gillis et al., 1998; Motiuk & Belcourt, 1996), both of which reported mixed findings. Importantly, neither of these studies examined the potential effect of the type of work engaged in upon subsequent recidivism. Studies on the relationship between inmate labor programs and recidivism in the United States have also been limited and the results somewhat contradictory (Maguire et al., 1988; Saylor & Gaes, 1996). After their meta-analysis of the recidivism studies, Wilson, ← 149 | 150 → Gallagher, and MacKenzie (2000) notably concluded that there was not enough evidence to claim that prison labor programs reduce recidivism and that more research in this area is warranted. Further, the possibility that the types of work undertaken in different programs might have an effect on outcomes has been overlooked in the US literature as well, which is somewhat surprising given that decades ago researchers suggested more attention be paid to exactly that issue. In the 1980s Maguire and colleagues stated,

Context-specific issues must also be considered in the evaluation of these results [effects of prison labor on recidivism]. It is axiomatic that the occupational climate of prison shops varies from prison to prison, and from shop to shop within a single prison. As a result, future research might benefit from a detailed focus on differential work environments in assessing the impact of institutional employment on recidivism. (1988, p. 16; emphasis mine)

Like the outcomes of prison labor programs, how inmates experience and perceive their work in these programs has received little research attention. Alarid’s (2003, 2005) research is a partial exception: She has examined which jobs are more appealing to inmates (2003) and deviance among inmates in their work assignments (2005). Despite these contributions, there is a clear need to examine how inmates experience these various programs and how these experiences differ across work assignments. Understanding the subjective experiences of the inmates in these programs is important for determining how the programs are actually impacting participants. The employment of inmates raising and slaughtering nonhuman animals (in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere) has received even less attention than the effects of employment programs on recidivism and inmates’ experiences of these programs more generally, and the attention it has received has focused on its economic viability (e.g., Connelley et al., 1993; Lightman, 1982). For instance, the Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services commissioned research in the 1970s to examine a privately run slaughterhouse at the Guelph Correctional Centre (Irvine, 1977, 1978a, 1978b). This program received attention because it was the first Outside Managed Industrial Program (i.e., privatized) in the Ministry; the type of work undertaken was not looked at in the research. The unique form of labor undertaken in livestock rearing and slaughtering programs in prisons does, however, warrant focused research attention. Work in the industrial nonhuman animal slaughtering industry is unique because it involves transforming living beings into food. Due to this uniqueness, as argued herein, this industry may have different social, psychological, and physical impacts on the workers. ← 150 | 151 →

Conclusion The notion that the production of meat is inherently the same as the production of widgets is based on the speciesist assumption that working with nonhuman animals (i.e., killing and dismembering) is the same thing as working with inanimate objects. This way of thinking has made it possible for inmate labor programs employing inmates in slaughterhouses to exist without critical scrutiny from those working in corrections and academics alike. Ironically, however, using inmates to

rehabilitate and train companion nonhuman animal species (e.g., dogs, cats, horses) has been praised as being therapeutic for both the inmates and nonhuman animals. This begs the question: how can we make sense of fostering therapeutic relationships between inmates and some species of nonhuman animals while training inmates to kill and dismember other species? The harming of companion nonhuman animal species by inmates would quickly be labeled as abusive or cruel and promptly stopped. However, as demonstrated herein, inmates harming species used for food is considered productive activity. Regardless of how the activity is labeled, however, the theorizing and empirical evidence discussed in this chapter indicate there are reasons to question training inmates to work in the slaughterhouse industry. Recall that the self-stated objectives of inmate labor programs in Canada and the United States include increasing inmate employability, reducing recidivism, and defraying the costs of incarceration. If the objectives of these inmate labor programs are truly to increase the employability of inmates and reduce recidivism then the evidence detailed herein provides ample reason to question the strategy of employing inmates in slaughterhouses: it is physically dangerous and low-paid work, the turnover rate is extremely high, and importantly there is a relationship between levels of slaughterhouse employment and crime rates among the general population. However, if the primary goal of these inmate labor programs is to reduce the costs of incarcerating an ever-increasing number of people, then employing inmates to produce meat that can be sold or consumed within institutions instead of having to purchase it would make more sense, but would certainly lead to broader philosophical questioning of inmate labor programs. Like most academic discussions of harms perpetrated against nonhuman animals, this chapter is vulnerable to the critique that the grounds for concern are largely anthropocentric; that is, the issue of harm against nonhuman animals is brought forward due to concern for human well-being. However, it is hoped that this chapter provides further evidence that the well-being of nonhuman animals and people is often interdependent and challenges the speciesism that undergirds the assumption that slaughtering and processing/dismembering nonhuman animals is not qualitatively different from production processes using inanimate ← 151 | 152 → objects. Certainly there are many reasons to critique the nonhuman animal–industrial complex (chief among which is the harm endured by the billions of nonhuman animals involved in the system against their will), as well as the prison–industrial complex, and various lines of critique of these complexes have been articulated elsewhere (see for instance, Burton-Rose, Pens, & Wright, 1998; Christie, 2000; Foer, 2009; Mason & Finelli, 2006; Nibert, 2002; Regan, 2004; Reiman, 1995; Singer, 1990; Sudbury,

2005). Detailing those more general critiques, however, is beyond the scope of this chapter. The specific purpose of this chapter is to utilize a green criminological perspective to illuminate and problematize the intersection of these two industries, which heretofore has been overlooked. Through the use of a green criminological lens this chapter points to an unexamined side of disciplinary power behind bars. The institutional discipline and regulation of people, particularly in prisons, has been chronicled in the literature (e.g., Carrabine, 2000; Eisler, 2007; Federman & Holmes, 2005; Philo, 2001; Rabinow & Rose, 2006), and very recently, scholars have begun to examine the disciplinary regulation of nonhuman animal bodies under the current regime of industrial nonhuman animal agriculture (e.g., Holloway, 2007; Novek, 2005). Until now, these regimes have been conceptualized as parallel; however, livestock programs in prisons demonstrate that these processes can be intertwined in previously unexamined and untheorized ways. Foucault (1977, p. 136) explained that the goal of disciplinary power is to produce “a docile body that may be subjected, used, transformed, and improved.” The livestock programs in prisons might be conceptualized as the rendering of docile bodies by other docile bodies: the management and alleged “improvement’” of one population (i.e., making inmates more manageable and employable) via its management and dispatch of another. The consequences of this process are as yet unclear, and certainly warrant focused examination.

References Alarid, L. F. (2003). A gender comparison of prisoner selection for job assignments while incarcerated. Journal of Crime and Justice, 26, 95–116. Alarid, L. F. (2005). Turning a profit or just passing the time? A gender comparison of prisoner jobs and workplace deviance in the sub-rosa economy. Deviant Behavior, 26, 621–641. Allen, L. C. (2000). The influence of military training and combat experience on domestic violence. In P. Mercier & J. Mercier (Eds.), Battle cries on the homefront (pp. 81–103). Springfield, MO: Charles C. Thomas. Arluke, A., Jack, L., Carter, L., & Ascione, F. (1999). The relationship of nonhuman animal abuse to violence and other forms of antisocial behavior. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14, 963–975. ← 152 | 153 → Artz, G. M., Orazem, P. F., & Daniel, M. O. (2007). Measuring the impact of meat packing and processing facilities in nonmetropolitan counties: A difference-in-differences approach. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 89, 557–570. Atkinson, R., & Rostad, K. (2003). Employment dimensions of reentry: Understanding the nexus between prisoner reentry and work. New York, NY: New York University Law School.

Beirne, P. (1999). For a nonspeciesist criminology: Nonhuman animal abuse as an object of study. Criminology, 37, 117–147. Beirne, P. (2002). Criminology and nonhuman animal studies: A sociological view. Society and Nonhuman Animals, 10, 382–386. Beirne, P. (2004). From nonhuman animal abuse to interhuman violence? A critical review of the progression thesis. Society and Nonhuman Animals, 12, 39–65. Beirne, P. (2007). Nonhuman animal rights, nonhuman animal abuse, and green criminology. In P. Beirne & N. South (Eds.), Issues in green criminology: Confronting harms against environments, humanity, and other nonhuman animals (pp. 55–83). Portland, OR: Willan. Beirne, P. (2009). Confronting nonhuman animal abuse: Law, criminology, and human-nonhuman animal relationships. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. Beirne, P., & South, N. (2007). Approaching green criminology. In P. Beirne & N. South (Eds.), Issues in green criminology: Confronting harms against environments, humanity, and other nonhuman animals (pp. xiii–xxii). Portland, OR: Willan. Black, R. (1982). Stress and the correctional officer. Police Stress, 5, 10–16. Borna, S. (1986). Free enterprise goes to prison. The British Journal of Criminology, 26, 321–334. Boyd, S. C., Chunn, D. E., & Menzies, R. (2002). Toxic criminology: Environment, law and the state in Canada. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing. Britton, D., & Button, A. (2005). Prison pups: Assessing the effects of dog training programs in correctional facilities. Journal of Family Social Work, 9, 79–95. Broadway, M. J. (1990). Meatpacking and its social and economic consequences for Garden city, Kansas in the 1980s. Urban Anthropology, 19, 321–344. Broadway, M. J. (1994). What happens when the meatpackers come to town? Small Town, 24, 24–28. Broadway, M. J. (2000). Planning for change in small towns or trying to avoid the slaughterhouse blues. Journal of Rural Studies, 16, 37–46. Broadway, M. J. (2001). Bad to the bone: The social costs of beefpaking’s move to rural Alberta. In R. Epp & D. Whitson (Eds.), Writing off the rural west: Globalization, governments, and the transformation of rural communities (pp. 39–51). Edmonton: University of Alberta Press. Broadway, M., & Stull, D. D. (2005). Meat processing and Garden City, KS: Boom and bust. Journal of Rural Studies, 22(1), 55–66. Burton-Rose, D., Pens, D., & Wright, P. (1998). The celling of America: An inside look at the U.S. prison industry. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. Carrabine, E. (2000). Discourse, governmentality and translation: Towards a social theory of imprisonment. Theoretical Criminology, 4, 309–331.

Cazaux, G. (1999). Beauty and the beast: Nonhuman animal abuse from a nonspeciesist criminological perspective. Crime, Law and Social Change, 31, 105–126. CBC. (2010). Group blockades to save prison farms. ← 153 | 154 → Christie, N. (2000). Crime control as industry: Towards gulags, western style. New York, NY: Routledge. Connelley, W., Conklin, N., & Gordon, R. (1993). Can prison farming be profitable? The case of Arizona correctional industries. Agribusiness, 9, 257–279. CORCAN. (2005). CORCAN governing principles. Ottawa: Correctional Service Canada. CORCAN. (2005–06). CORCAN annual report, 2005–06. Ottawa: Correctional Service Canada. CORCAN. (2007). Operations. Ottawa: Correctional Service Canada. Correctional Service Canada. (2007). Report on plans and priorities, 2007–08. Canada: Author. Cushing, J., & Williams, J. (1995). The wild mustang program: A case study in facilitated inmate therapy. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 22, 95–112. Dillard, J. (2008). A slaughterhouse nightmare: Psychological harm suffered by slaughterhouse employees and the possibility of redress through legal reform. Georgetown Journal on Poverty, Law, and Policy, XV, 15(2), 391–408. Eisler, L. D. (2007). An application of Foucauldian concepts to youth in the criminal justice system: A case study. Critical Criminology, 15, 101–122. Eisnitz, G. (1997). Slaughterhouse: The shocking story of greed, neglect, and inhumane treatment inside the U.S. meat industry. New York, NY: Prometheus. Federal Prison Industries. (1996). Factories with fences: The history of UNICOR. Federal Prison Industries. (2008). Annual report. Federal Prison Industries. (2009). Annual report. Federman, C., & Holmes, D. (2005). Breaking bodies into pieces: Time, torture and bio-power. Critical Criminology, 13, 327–345. Fink, D. (1998). Cutting into the meatpacking line: Workers and change in the rural Midwest. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Fitzgerald, A. (2005). Nonhuman animal abuse and family violence: Researching the interrelationships of abusive power. Lewiston, NY; Queenston; Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press. Fitzgerald, A. (2007). ‘They gave me a reason to live’: The protective effects of companion nonhuman animals on the suicidality of abused women. Humanity and Society, 31, 355–378. Fitzgerald, A., & Baralt, L. (2010). Media constructions of responsibility for the production and mitigation of environmental harms: The case of mercury-contaminated fish. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 52, 341–368.

Fitzgerald, A. J., Kalof, L., & Dietz, T. (2009). Spillover from ‘The Jungle’ into the Larger community: Slaughterhouses and increased crime rates. Organization and Environment, 22, 158–184. Flynn, C. (2000a). Woman’s best friend: Pet abuse and the role of companion nonhuman animals in the lives of battered women. Violence against Women, 6, 162–177. Flynn, C. (2000b). Battered women and their nonhuman animal companions: Symbolic interaction between human and non-human nonhuman animals. Society and Nonhuman Animals, 8, 99–127. Foer, J. S. (2009). Eating nonhuman animals. New York, NY: Penguin Books. Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Translated by A. Sheridan. Toronto: Random House. ← 154 | 155 → Furst, G. (2006). Prison-based nonhuman animal programs: A national study. The Prison Journal, 86, 407– 430. Furst, G. (2007). Without word to get in the way: Symbolic interaction in prison-based nonhuman animal programs. Qualitative Sociology Review, 3, 96–109. Garland, D. (1990). Punishment and modern society: A study in social theory. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Gillis, C., & Crutcher, N. (2005). Community employment centres for offenders: A preliminary exploration. Forum on Corrections, 17, 29–32. Gillis, C., Motiuk, L., & Belcourt, R. (1998). Prison work program (CORCAN) participation: Post-release employment and recidivism. Ottawa: Correctional Service Canada. Gillis, C., & Nafekh, M. (2005). The impact of community-based employment on offender reintegration. Forum on Corrections, 17, 10–14. Gouveia, L., & Stull, D. D. (1995). Dances with cows: Beefpacking’s impact on Garden City, Kansas and Lexington, Nebraska. In D. D. Stull, M. Broadway, & D. Griffith (Eds.), Any way you cut it: Meat processing and small-town America (pp. 85–107). Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press. Grey, M. (1995). Pork, poultry and newcomers in Storm Lake, Iowa. In D. D. Stull, M. Broadway, & D. Griffith (Eds.), Any way you cut it: Meat processing and small-town America (pp. 109–127). Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. Grey, M. A. (1998). Meatpacking in Storm Lake, Iowa: A community in transition. In K. M. Thu & E. P. Durrenberger (Eds.), Pigs, profits, and rural communities (pp. 57–72). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Harkrader, T., Burke, T., & Owen, S. (2004). Pound puppies: The rehabilitative uses of dogs in correctional facilities. Corrections Today, 74–79. Holloway, L. (2007). Subjecting cows to robots: Farming technologies and the making of nonhuman animal subjects. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 25, 1041–1060.

Horowitz, R., & Miller, M. J. (1999). Immigrants in the Delmarva poultry processing industry: The changing face of Georgetown, Delaware, and Environs. East Lansing, MI: The Julian Samora Research Institute, Michigan State University. Irvine, M. J. (1977). The Guelph Abattoir Programme: An innovative approach to correctional industries. I. Staff response. Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services. Irvine, M. J. (1978a). The Guelph Abattoir Programme: An innovative approach to correctional industries. II. Inmate response. Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services. Irvine, M. J. (1978b). The Guelph Abattoir Programme: An innovative approach to correctional industries. III. The follow-up. Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services. Kauffman, K. (1988). Prison officers and their world. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Lai, J. (1998). Literature review: Pet facilitated therapy in correctional institutions. Ottawa: Correctional Service of Canada, Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Women. Le Duff, C. (2000, June 16). At a slaughterhouse some things never die: Who kills, who cuts, who bosses can depend on race. The New York Times, A1. Lee, D. (1983). Pet therapy: Helping patients through troubled times. California Veterinarian, 5, 24–40. ← 155 | 156 → Lightman, E. (1982). The private employer and the prison industry. The British Journal of Criminology, 22, 36–48. Lippke, R. (1998). Prison labor: Its control, facilitation, and terms. Law and Philosophy, 17, 533–557. Lynch, M. (1990). The greening of criminology. Critical Criminologist, 2, 1–5. MacNair, R. (2002). Perpetration-induced traumatic stress: The psychological consequences of killing. Westport, CT; London: Praeger. Maguire, K., Flanagan, T., & Thornberry, T. (1988). Prison labor and recidivism. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 4, 3–17. Marshall, A. D., Panuzio, J., & Taft, C. T. (2005). Intimate partner violence among military veterans and active duty servicemen. Clinical Psychology Review, 25, 862–876. Marshall, D., & McShane, M. (2000). First to fight: Domestic violence and the subculture of the Marine Corps. In P. Mercier & J. Mercier (Eds.), Battle cries on the homefront (pp. 15–29). Springfield, MO: Charles C. Thomas. Mason, J., & Finelli, M. (2006). Brave new farm. In P. Singer (Ed.), In defense of nonhuman animals: The second wave (pp. 104–122). New York, NY: Blackwell. Mercier, P. J. (2000). Violence in the military family. In P. Mercier & J. Mercier (Eds.), Battle cries on the homefront (pp. 15–29). Springfield, MO: Charles C. Thomas.

Moneymaker, J., & Strimple, E. (1991). Nonhuman animals and inmates: A sharing companionship behind bars. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 16, 133–152. Morley, C., & Fook, J. (2005). The importance of pet loss and some implications for services. Mortality, 10, 127–143. Motiuk, L. (1996). Targeting employment patterns to reduce offender risk and need. Forum on Corrections Research, 8, 22–24. Motiuk, L., & Belcourt, R. (1996). Prison work programs and post-release outcome: A preliminary investigation. Ottawa: Correctional Service of Canada. New Jersey Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. (2009). About AgriIndustries. Nibert, D. (2002). Nonhuman animal rights/human rights: Entanglements of oppression and liberation. Lanham, MD; Boulder, CO; New York, NY; Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Nimer, J., & Lundahl, B. (2007). Nonhuman animal assisted therapy: A meta-analysis. Anthrozoos, 20, 225– 238. Novek, J. (2005). Pigs and people: Sociological perspectives on the discipline of nonhuman nonhuman animals in intensive confinement. Society and Nonhuman Animals, 13, 221–244. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. (2009). Agricultural and Farm Services. Parenti, C. (1996, January 29). Making prison pay. The Nation, p. 13 Perelle, I., & Granville, D. (1993). Assessment of the effectiveness of a pet facilitated therapy program in a nursing home setting. Society and Nonhuman animals, 1, 91–100. Philo, C. (2001). Accumulating populations: Bodies, institutions and space. International Journal of Population Geography, 7, 473–490. Pryor, F. (2005). Industries behind bars: An economic perspective on the production of goods and services by U.S. prison industries. Review of Industrial Organization, 27, 1–16. Rabinow, P., & Rose, N. (2006). Biopower Today. BioSocieties, 1, 195–217. ← 156 | 157 → Regan, T. (2004). Empty cages: Facing the challenge of nonhuman animal rights. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Reiman, J. (1995). The rich get richer and the poor get prison: Ideology, crime, and criminal justice. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Rosen, L. N., Kaminski, R. J., Parmley, A. M., Knudson, K. H., & Fancher, P. (2003). The effects of peer group climate on intimate partner violence among married male U.S. army soldiers. Violence against Women, 9, 1045–1071. Rusche, G., & Kirchheimer, O. (1939 [1967]). Punishment and social structure. New York, NY: Russell and Russell.

Saylor, W. G., & Gaes, G. G. (1996). The effect of prison employment and vocational/appren ticeship training on long-term recidivism. Forum on Corrections Research, 8, 12–14. Scott, C., & Derrick, F. (2006). Prison labor: The local effects of Ohio prison industries. International Advances in Economic Research, 12, 540–550. Singer, P. (1990). Nonhuman animal liberation. New York, NY: Random House. South, N. (1998). A green field for criminology. Theoretical Criminology, 2, 211–233. South, N., & Beirne, P. (2006). Introduction. In N. South & P. Beirne (Eds.), Green criminology (pp. xiiv– xxvii). Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Stack, S. J., & Tsoudis, O. (1997). Suicide risk among correctional officers: A logistic regression analysis. Archives of Suicide Research, 3, 183–186. Stull, D., & Broadway, M. (2004). Slaughterhouse blues: The meat and poultry industry in North America. Toronto: Wadsworth. Sudbury, J. (2005). Global lockdown: Race, gender, and the prison-industrial complex. New York, NY: Routledge. Townsend, T. (1996). Offenders and work in the Correctional Service of Canada: A historical evolution. Forum on Corrections Research, 8, 35–38. Walsh, P., & Mertin, P. (1994). The training of pets as therapy in a women’s prison: A pilot study. Anthrozoos, 7, 124–128. Weiss, R. P. (2001). ‘Repatriating’ low-wage work: The political economy of prison labor reprivatization in the postindustrial United States. Criminology, 39, 253–291. Wells, D. L. (2009). The effects of nonhuman animals on human health and well-being. Journal of Social Issues, 65, 523–543. White, R. (2007). Green criminology and the pursuit of social and ecological justice. In P. Beirne & N. South (Eds.), Issues in green criminology: Confronting harms against environments, humanity, and other nonhuman animals (pp. 32–54). Portland, OR: Willan. Wilson, D., Gallagher, C., & MacKenzie, D. (2000). A meta-analysis of corrections-based education, vocation, and work programs for adult offenders. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 37, 347– 368. ← 157 | 158 →

← 158 | 159 →


Getting Their Hands Dirty Raccoons, Freegans, and Urban “Trash” LAUREN CORMAN

Introduction During the summer of 2005, a local radio show prompted me to investigate the meaning(s) of raccoons (Procyon lotor) within urban landscapes. During the call-in program, listeners were invited to share their thoughts about raccoons and the implementation of Toronto’s municipal Green Bin waste management program. I was amazed by the callers’ largely vitriolic responses. Positioned as pests, raccoons were understood as enemies worthy of elimination, a so-called “problem” in need of fixing. Yet, the problem was an old one: the Green Bin Program simply drew the tensions between humans and urban animals into sharper focus. The Green Bin Program began in 2002 within the Toronto municipality of Etobicoke. By September of 2004, central Toronto residents were introduced to the Program. Initiated by the city’s Waste Diversion Task Force, the bins were part of a three-pronged plan to eventually eliminate the exportation of 907,000 tons of annual garbage to Michigan (City of Toronto, 2010a).1 Some might guess that such a move to concentrate organic, edible waste2 would benefit nonhuman foragers, such as raccoons: making the disposal of organic waste municipally regulated meant that nonhuman animals could potentially gain greater access to food, as the city-donated bins were placed curbside by residents each week. ← 159 | 160 →

Although the public was assured that the bins were raccoon-proof, in practice the metal latches often provided little security. The temptation proved too great for the raccoons, and the challenge of the latches too small. “[E]ven if you’re not feeding raccoons on purpose, their lives and livelihoods in our communities are often sustained by one of the City’s biggest design backfires: the green bin,” claims Clayton (2009, p. 51). Typical of previous encounters between urban raccoons and “garbage,” many people were aggravated when these night-roamers rummaged through their disposal containers, and scattered the refuse (Sadler, n.d.; Vasil, 2005; Wanagas, 2005). The nature and concentration of the waste made the resulting mess particularly potent and foul. Consequently, a year after the program launch, the “raccoon wars” (Sadler, n.d.) were raging. To keep raccoons out of the bins, people devised several deterrence strategies, such as fastening the bin lids with bungee cords or packing tape, and applying Lysol or Vicks VapoRub to the containers. These strategies resulted in varying degrees of success. While Toronto citizens embraced the Green Bin Program, with 90% participation from its inception (Sadler, n.d.), accepting raccoons’ responses was clearly more difficult, as evidenced by the city-sponsored literature on raccoon-proofing (City of Toronto, 2010b). As of 2007, the City of Toronto offered a $9 Green Bin latch lock, to “provide additional security against persistent pests like raccoons” (City of Toronto, 2010b), while the most recent North York Region Green Bin Newsletter (City of Toronto, 2006) advises how to “discourage fourlegged creatures” from getting at the Green Bin contents. In part, this essay considers the lives of urban raccoons—designated “trash animals”3 (Humane Society of the United States, 2009) by some—in order to investigate the negative cultural responses to these frequently maligned creatures. For example, as one irate Torontoist commenter wrote in response to an article about raccoon control, “The best raccoon is one squashed and flattened on the road. I do a little giggle of glee every time I see one dead by the road in the city. Hell, if I had a car, i’d [sic] go trolling for them at night!” (Snailspace quoted in Metzger, 2006). I write the following piece from within Toronto, the so-called “raccoon capital of the world” (Woloshyn, 2011),4 inspired by the belief that raccoons are part of a shared cityscape; they also lay fair claim to this place. How might we make sense of the vitriol heaped upon raccoons? I suggest it is useful to contextualize such hatred within a larger discursive framework, wherein anger directed at raccoons is understood within a broader cultural network of prejudice and fear related to ideas about humanity and animality that impact humans and nonhumans alike. Consequently, in this essay I address a number of major parallels between raccoons and another commonly disparaged group: freegans.5 I elucidate how both groups threaten dominant urban consumption patterns and, in relation, ← 160 | 161 → explore their cultural vilification. I take up two major lines of inquiry: examining the sometimes-tenuous relationship between humans and raccoons within urban environments, while also exploring urban foraging, in the

form of “freeganism,” as a political praxis. While I am particularly interested in elucidating the negativity leveraged against raccoons and freegans, I also hope to demonstrate how both groups act as mirror for Western society, reflecting back a complex set of beliefs about ourselves and (human and nonhuman) Others (see also Arluke & Saunders, 1996). I draw upon the perspectives of both scholars and freegan activists, as well as commentary from contemporary popular media in Canada and the United States. I primarily employ discourse analysis as a means of paying attention to the ways in which raccoons and freegans are culturally figured. While various academics eloquently write about urban, nonhuman animals (e.g., Griffiths, Poulter, & Sibley, 2000; Sabloff, 2001) and freegans (e.g., Gross, 2009; Shantz, 2005), to date none place the two groups in conversation and explore the similarity between their practices and larger cultural responses. Alternatively, as shown below, some freegans offer expressions of solidarity with nonhuman, urban foragers. In contrast, some popular critics also highlight overlaps between freegans and raccoons, but such comparisons are frequently offered as insults. These comparisons take on the usual tone of vilification, as suggestions of freegans’ supposed animalistic debasement and relinquishment of humanity: “To suggest that someone or some group has behaved like an animal (or wild beast) is to accuse them of plumbing the very depths of moral degradation: no description could be more damning,” argues Neal (Quoted in Baker, 2001, p. 89). Yet despite their similarities in behavior or cultural rendering, there are also multiple and important ways that raccoons and freegans differ (such as how they are ultimately valued within an anthropocentric and speciesist human culture and the kinds of recourse they have when harmed). Certainly their own self-understandings are heterogeneous and particular, as are the disparate responses to them. I acknowledge that the complexity of these groups is not fully represented here, and I encourage further critical analysis. Often considered dirty, disruptive, and conniving freeloaders, either as natural pests or social delinquents, respectively, raccoons and freegans continue to pick their way through Western society, valuing what others deem valueless. Waste transforms into food, affluence transforms into excess, and “necessary purchases” transform into choices. The presence of raccoons and freegans uncomfortably reveals ideas such as civility, urban progress, and economic inevitability as interrelated constructions, rather than natural realities. Historically informed prejudice is marshaled to stymie raccoons’ and freegans’ disruptive force, while the negation of one group is leveraged in the disavowal of the other. Below I suggest some of the specific ways in which “race,” class, and capitalism inform these processes. ← 161 | 162 →

Freeganism: A Challenge to Consumerism

A billboard in Toronto shows the smiling face of renowned Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki basking in the warm glow of a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). The spiraled glass hovers magically above his palm. “You have the power,” declares the corresponding slogan. Of course, the image makes a kind of crisp, cultural sense. David Suzuki, arguably Canada’s most iconic environmentalist, is paired with a CFL, arguably Canada’s most iconic environmental product. As public consciousness (and fear) grows about the perils of global warming, governments, activists, and corporations simultaneously encourage people to act through their consumption choices, including those as simple as buying different light bulbs. As Tarrant argues, the image of a radiating light bulb is a particularly powerful symbol: Sight, and its object light, appear to be universal metaphors in human language, both for intellectual apprehension or activity and its objects and also for the experience of aesthetic and moral values. The figure is applied equally to the course or end of a rational approach to knowledge, giving scarcely-felt imagery like “I see,” “look into,” etc., or to a pictorially described “illumination” or “vision” that lies beyond the range of reason. Some phrases are applicable to both senses; to “see the light” may connote either logical grasp of a fact or religious conversion. (1960, p. 181)

Suzuki and his light bulb tap into a network of positive metaphors that resonate within a larger rubric of ideas about morality and knowledge. The light bulb image is, culturally speaking, an easier “sell” than many of the images currently associated with freegans or freeganism: buying environmental products fits more comfortably within Western capitalism than recovering products that are deemed no longer profitable. Environmentalism, contends Sociology professor Torres, “is becoming this issue of, consume the right set of green goods and you’re green” (Quoted in Kurutz, 2007) despite the resource-consumption required to produce and distribute those goods. Green consumerism today offers a vision of plenitude that is much easier for many North Americans to accept than the possibility of consuming something that came from a dumpster. In this context, freeganism appears to be an expression of scarcity and denial, rock-bottom scrounging that is similar to the survival practices of people who are poverty-stricken and homeless. The movement, which began in the mid-1990s and grew out of the anti-globalization and environmental causes, focuses on resistance to production systems that commodify food (Gross, 2009). Freegans are people who voluntarily reclaim the refuse of consumer culture as a stance against capitalism and excess consumption (, 2008a). They employ many tactics6 to put their ← 162 | 163 → political beliefs into practice, including (but not limited to) waste reclamation, waste reduction, squatting, hitchhiking, and voluntary joblessness (, 2008a).7 “Simply put: freegans seek to prevent waste by reclaiming,

recovering and repairing available resources rather than generate new profit,” states freegan advocate Adam Weissman (Quoted in Adams, 2006).8 In the mainstream press, freegans are described as dressing in “castoff clothes” and standing “knee deep” in trash bins (Kurutz, 2007). Consider, too, the revelation of one reporter who felt compelled to note the partially-trimmed lamp in one freegan’s home: upon the journalist’s detailed inspection, even though the “bright and airy prewar apartment [that] Ms. Nelson shares with two cats doesn’t look like the home of someone who spends her evenings rooting through the garbage,” her home is revealed as a kind of ruse. The reporter eventually spots “an old lampshade in the living room [that] has been trimmed with fabric to cover its fraying parts, leaving a one-inch gap where the material ran out” (Kurutz, 2007). The performance of a middle-class aesthetic literally falls short. Similarly, in her article, “Free-lunch foragers,” reporter Hayasaki writes, “Freegans troll curbsides for discarded clothes and ratty [sic] or broken furniture… They trade goods at flea markets. Some live as squatters in abandoned buildings, or in low-rent apartments on the edges of the city, or with family and friends”. (2007)

Taken out of context—context that includes the voluntary nature of freeganism—such actions may appear to be descriptions of destitution. Yet freegans themselves offer a different rhetoric, one that finds reclamation a “thrill” (Bone, 2005), especially in the case of a “good find” (Hayasaki, 2007) where fridges are packed with tasty edibles (Bone, 2005), and the realization that one can live without new goods seems to be a source of happiness and empowerment rather than hardship. For example, Globe and Mail reporter Gearey describes one freegan as “quick to show off two jars of unopened honey9 he found in the trash, his blueberry eyes sparkling with pride” (2007, p. F6). Positioning freeganism within a broader movement of DIY (Do It Yourself) anarchist politics, Shantz writes, “In place of the ‘purchasing of pleasure’ anarchists assert the ‘arming of desire’ to create their own pleasures.” According to (2008b), the term “freegan” is also a critique of veganism, when the latter is practiced in ways that do not resist all forms of capitalist- driven exploitation, such as contemporary slave labor cocoa production. This position is presented within what is arguably the original freegan manifesto, “Why Freegan?” (, 2008c; originally published in 2000), assumed to be written and popularized by U.S. American musician Warren Oakes. In his article, Oakes names veganism as a “good first step” (2008c) but questions vegans’ support of corporations that sell products free of animal products. He writes, “I couldn’t ← 163 | 164 → get behind any aspect of the corporate death consumer machine so I decided to boycott everything” (, 2008c). Unsurprisingly, debates between freegans and vegans have been heated at times. For example, there has been some confusion between freeganism as a sustained political critique and practice, and a more casual consumption of free animal products (e.g., eating a hamburger at a friend’s barbeque) (, 2008b). However, it is beyond the scope of this chapter to address the intricacies of the

“freegan versus vegan” discussions. Notably, though, well-known freegans such as Adam Weissman are both dedicated vegans and freegans. Freeganism and veganism are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For an interesting sample of online discussions regarding the potential differences in diet, lifestyle, and underlying arguments between freeganism and veganism, see Kwan (2007), Southan (2010), The Post Punk Kitchen forum thread “Freeganism, could it be more ethical than veganism?” (2010). Dylan Powell, founder of The Vegan Police podcast and website, succinctly argues against freegan consumption of animal products in blog posts, “Species Privilege and Dumpster Diving” and “Species Privilege and Dumpster Diving…Reply 2” (2011a, 2011b). He asks, “Would you eat the corpse of another human being? Of course not. But why?” (2011a). …(cont) In his later reply, he retorts, “I reject opening a dumpster and seeing animal products and plants [sic] products as being on the same ethical playing field and reject the notion that commodification happens at the ‘point of purchase’ instead of something which happens to a non human animal throughout it’s [sic] entire life” (2011b). Freegans tend to focus on retraction of their “votes” from corporate consumerism through a withdrawal of their purchasing dollars. “To a freegan,” argues, “anything we buy is morally suspect, and recovering things without driving demand for further production of these commodities with our dollars is a moral imperative” (2008b). I share Powell’s position, however, and do not personally support the consumption of animal products (free or otherwise) except in cases of true necessity. While some freegans would consider a refusal to eat dumpstered animal products as also wasteful, I ethically could not stomach eating the flesh or secretions of someone who had been regarded as property, tortured, and killed. The freegan butchering and consumption of “roadkill” provides another layer to the debate about free meat, as suggested by Gross (2009). Animals who have been hit and killed by cars, including raccoons, are preferred over discarded factory-farmed meat that might be laced with hormones and antibiotics. “Freegan blogs talk about eating roadkill as having more political advantages than other forms of anti-capitalist food gathering. Unlike dumpster diving, it is entirely free of capitalist trappings, they say,” observes Gross (2009, p. 72). Additionally, wild game and leftover trophy hunt carcasses are part of some freegans’ diets (Gross, ← 164 | 165 → 2009). Gross (2009) similarly finds that her freegan interviewees intentionally cultivate alternative forms of pleasure. “They talked about the pleasure of getting food for nothing and sharing it with other people,” offers Gross (2009, p. 71). “Often with the dumpstering crowd, one person might have one ingredient and someone else might have another and they’ll either combine food to make a meal or trade food if they’re going separate ways,” she adds (Gross, 2009, p. 72). Similar to raccoons who face disdain and revulsion within the urban environment, freegans struggle against stigmas (Hayasaki, 2007)10 attached to the reclamation of discarded goods (especially food); they also challenge various prejudices regarding the contexts and practices involved in reclamation. For

instance, like raccoons, freegans often forage late at night or early in the morning (Gearey, 2007), and by definition, collect things “without paying a cent” (Hayasaki, 2007). Not only do “trash” and “garbage” have their own negative (human) cultural connotations, but dumpsters and the people—so-called “trash pickers”—who frequent them also carry their own stigmas. These layered aspects combine to connote criminality or, at minimum, desperation. As one editor of, a free men’s magazine, bluntly muses, “It’s no secret that ours is a rather consumerist culture, and that our planet could use some environmental loving. But is reducing ourselves to homeless, jobless, trash-eating bums really a worthwhile movement?” (2007). Similarly toned comments poured in, including the following: You know, I’m sure these people have the best of intentions, but they’re lunatics. It’s disgusting to eat from dumpsters. That’s just not sanitary or healthy. And this jobless thing? an you get any lazier? What do you do with your life when you don’t have a job to do? (2007)

The anti-capitalist stance of freeganism is interpreted by some critics as a matter of sheer laziness or as a simple distaste for work. The fact that many freegans are middle-class, employed, or voluntarily unemployed (Bone, 2005; Kurutz, 2007; Hayasaki, 2007) is juxtaposed against cultural ideas about the urban poor, those who have long been associated with garbage consumption as a means of survival (Adams, 2006). Disparaging naysayers have dubbed freegans “free-loaders” (The Summa Mamas, 2007; Van Horn, 2006) while witty article titles such as “free-lunch foragers” (Hayasaki, 2007) imply a certain level of moral, if tongue-incheek, disapproval. New York Times reporter Kurutz, for example, points to Weissman’s “considerable free time” and is quick to note that Weissman “doesn’t work and lives at home in Teaneck, N.J. with his father and elderly grandparents” (2007). (The Kurutz article fails to mention that Weissman, according to Ramsey [2007], would likely choose to be a squatter if it were not for the fact that he lives with and takes care of his grandparents.) ← 165 | 166 → Yet those within the movement, such as Weissman, mention the extra time afforded by their lifestyles as a promotional aspect: “I have pity for people who have not figured out this lifestyle. I am able to take long vacations from work, I have all kinds of consumer goods, and I eat a really healthy diet of really wonderful food” (Quoted in Bone, 2005). Similarly, Weissman argues, “[Freeganism] is motivated not by ‘laziness,’ but by a desire to devote time to community service, activism, caring for family, etc.” (Quoted in Adams, 2006). Still, besides children, volunteer care providers, and those unable to be employed, the societal expectation remains that people ought to have paying jobs and thus be so-called “productive members of society,” even if that means producing something environmentally or socially damaging. The notion that urban scavenging could be an ecologically efficient behavior, or grounded in an environmental ethic, is lost in such an analysis. As Gerard Daechsel, who has dumpster-dived for five decades, laments, “When people see me rescuing things, they offer me money and I say, ‘No thanks, I’m

doing this for the environment.’ Sometimes they just stuff [money] in my coat pocket and run off anyways—they don’t understand” (Quoted in Gearey, 2007, p. F6). The dumpster-diving of freegans exposes Western consumption patterns largely as choices rather than inevitabilities. The consumption of “trash” or “waste” helps spur questions about the underlying causes of poverty and resource plundering. Co-founders of Food Not Bombs,11 Lawrence Butler and McHenry, contend that in the United States alone, “every day in every city, far more food is discarded than is needed to feed those who do not have enough to eat” (1992, p. 1).12 According to, the network “puts freeganism into action. By using food that would otherwise be wasted, Food Not Bombs reinforces its message, challenging a society that allows vital resources to be wasted rather than ensuring that the needs of all are met” (2008). Food reclamation and distribution has a much longer history than Food Not Bombs or freeganism, though. For example, the Old Testament stipulates that crop surplus should be reserved for those in need and that “gleaners” continue to harvest leftovers from farmers’ fields and other sources (Baker, 2006). Taking this history into account, the apparently radical actions of Food Not Bombs and sharing freegans are simply extensions of some already deep-seated traditions (Dowdey, 2007). I recognize, however, that food reclamation is not exclusively a human activity, and that freegans may trace their history back to nonhuman roots. In the following section, I seek to situate the previous critiques of freegans and raccoons within a broader (human, Western, dominant) cultural milieu, gesturing toward the depth and breadth of the discourses that mark both groups as beyond acceptable to “civil society.” The activities of both groups threaten the very maintenance of the culture/nature boundary, a key organizing principle of Western modernism and one ← 166 | 167 → of ontological and moral implication (Sabloff, 2001). In his excellent examination of the cultural maligning of urban pigeons, following Birke (2003) and Douglas (1984), Jerolmack (2008, p. 14) reminds us, “We live in an era that celebrates ‘medical triumph and the conquest of disease’ and nature as a cornerstone of modernity; dirt and other ‘pollutant’ [within the city] threaten that vision.”

Purity and Danger In her classic text, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, Douglas argues that “contemporary European ideas of defilement” are not simply a matter of hygiene nor aesthetics (1984, p. 35). According to Douglas, they are grounded in symbolism: If we can abstract pathogenicity and hygiene from our notion of dirt, we are left with the old definition of dirt as matter out of place. This is a very suggestive approach. It implies two conditions: a set of ordered relations and a contravention of that order. Dirt then, is never a unique isolated event. Where there is dirt there is

system. Dirt is the by-product of a systemic order and classification of matter, in so far as ordering involves rejecting inappropriate elements. This idea of dirt takes us straight into the field of symbolism and promises a link-up with more obviously symbolic systems of purity. (1984, p. 35)

Notably, the demarcation of certain classes and races as dirty or filthy has helped perpetuate classist, racist, and imperialist ideologies. For example, as McClintock demonstrates in her discussion of soap, ideas about cleanliness and purity served a symbolic role in the justification of British imperialism. Such notions served as a key means of constructing certain people and values as degenerative: The emergent middle class values “monogamy” (“clean” sex, which has value), industrial capital (“clean” money, which has value), Christianity (“being washed in the blood of the lamb”), and class control (“cleansing the great unwashed”), and the imperial civilizing mission (“washing and clothing the savage”) could all be marvelously embodied in a single household commodity. (1995, p. 208)

Notions of dirt and filth have not only fueled racist ideology but have also combined with notions of “the animal” and animality to create a powerful set of mutually reinforcing and negated categories. Within Western culture, animality is typically aligned with ideas about what is unclean, in-or sub-human, and uncivilized. As cultural geographer Anderson argues, animality serves as a key dynamic in the construction of sociospatial difference and hierarchy (2000, p. 302). ← 167 | 168 → The co-mingling of “dirt” and “animality” within racist discourses is clearly highlighted through the figure of the pest. Describing the historical racialization of vermin, Patell insists, “The outcast group is often described in the very same language used to describe biological pests: unclean, exploitative, opportunistic, etc.” (1996, pp. 63–64). Racists often appropriate the figure of the pest in an attempt to legitimate their attitudes by grounding their rhetoric within the natural world (Patell, 1996, pp. 63–64). One has to look no further than the racial slur, “coon” or its variant “dirty coon,” to find evidence of Patell’s argument. According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, “coon,” meaning a “negro” or “fellow,” is aphetic of “raccoon.” “The coon caricature is one of the most insulting of all anti-Black caricatures. The name itself, an abbreviation of raccoon, is dehumanizing,” states sociologist Pilgrim (2000). (Alternatively, other scholars, such African American Studies professor Adams, suggest that that racial epithet stems from the Portuguese word “barracoon.” “The word ‘barracoon’ translates into English as the word barrack, barrier, something that holds you back” [Quoted in Riggins, 2006], asserts Adams.13) Brown Lavitt contends, drawing on Roediger, that “coon” transitioned from an insult directed at working class whites in the early 1800s to a racial epithet for Blacks by 1948, gaining force by the 1880s and ‘90s “as white anxieties flared in the face of rising unemployment, swelling immigration, and economic depression” (1999, p. 256).

The racist use of the term “coon hunting,” a reference to targeted attacks against Black people, strongly invokes animality. For example, historian Davis recounts his youth during the Jim Crow era: Once, when a black family moved into our working-class neighborhood, I remember us white kids riding our bicycles the three or four blocks to their house just to get a look. We’d heard that some older kids had tossed sacks of dog poop at the nicely painted white house. I remember my father bemoaning the likes of them “invading” our neighborhood. I also remember that, a few years later, some of my teenage friends would go “coon hunting” on Friday nights, which meant driving into black neighborhoods and tossing bottles or sacks of garbage at elderly blacks walking alone on the streets. It just was something working-class white boys did in Kansas City in the 1950s. (n.d.)14

Given the bloody and violent history associated with the transference of animal names onto humans, “calling people animals is always an ominous sign because it sets them up for humiliation, exploitation, and murder” (Patterson, 2002, p. 28). The Nazi depiction of Jewish people as rats serves as an illustrative and salient example of this phenomenon (Patterson, 2002). According to Dion and Rockman, editors of Concrete Jungle: A Pop Media Investigation of Death and Survival in Urban Ecosystems, pests prompt a specific ← 168 | 169 → kind of anxiety, as they remind us that we are part of a larger, interconnected ecological reality (1996). Concomitantly, this “dangerous class of animals” points to our inability to control nature and its various dynamic interactions (Dion & Rockman, 1996, p. 8). Pests threaten us both literally and figuratively. They are a part of nature that we would prefer to cast away or annihilate, at times for practical “legitimate scientific” reasons, such as their capacity to act as disease vectors or their destruction of biodiversity (Patell, 1996, p. 62). They represent decay, contamination, and a challenge to order (Dion & Rockman, 1996), reminding us, too, of our own deaths. “In the same way that advanced urban society refuses to acknowledge shit, distances itself from food production, and denies the process of aging,” state Dion and Rockman, “these animals remind us that we too are animals, and therefore, mortal” (1996, p. 9). In this way, “pests” such as raccoons speak to both an external and internal threat, ultimately indivisible from understandings of what it means to be human at the beginning of the twenty-first century in North America (Patell, 1996). Notably, the definition of “pest” varies from time and place, culture to culture; for example, “what is a pest for one culture may be a delicacy for another” (Patell, 1996, p. 63).

Urban Foraging: Capitalism’s Underbelly Raccoons and freegans disrupt and reroute state-regulated and socially sanctioned food pathways, which includes purchasing food at grocery stores, consuming it in the home15 or other designated area, placing waste within the appropriate receptacle (recycling, garbage, or compost), and depositing it in a city-

approved container. These materials are then to be retrieved and streamlined into various waste management facilities. Raccoons and freegans, who do not pay for food or patronize stores, subvert each step of that conventional process. Through their consumption, they also shift the category “food” back onto products that were previously labeled “trash” and “garbage” (or “compost”) and thrown away. Thus, I propose that these groups transgress both capitalism and a cultural taboo. They transgress capitalism (a kind of cultural taboo action itself) because they benefit from, but do not purchase, materials produced by the economic system.16 As Shantz contends, Advanced capitalist societies are organized around surplus value or valorization for capital. That IS one reason why perfectly useable goods will be discarded rather than given away. Surplus value simply cannot be realized if free alternatives are readily available. Against surplus value, freegans pursue what some heterodox Marxists call “self-valorization.” This is the pursuit of productive and distributive activities that are based on the realization of human need whether material, emotional or ideational. (2005, p. 10) ← 169 | 170 →

Freegans and raccoons also transgress a cultural taboo, because they both touch and consume “trash.” Furthermore, raccoons not only eat “trash”; they also often overturn garbage cans, scatter the contents, and leave large messes in their wake. (Notably, raccoons keep themselves quite clean. Clayton remarks, for example, “While they are the ultimate dumpster divers, they’re also fastidious about washing” [2009, p. 51].) Subsequently, through their actions, raccoons interrupt the waste containment and management systems that serve both a literal and symbolic purpose within urban environments. Raccoons symbolically challenge the definition of “trash” by treating it as food, and they literally displace “waste” through their foraging. In other words, within the dominant classification system, raccoons do something regarded as dirty (i.e., digging through “trash” and consuming pieces), while they also contribute to dirt through the displacement of previously contained “trash.” Unlike companion animals, who may be willingly offered table scraps within the home, raccoons are frequently understood as “stealing” similar scraps from the trash (Whitetail Deer Management and Hunting, n.d.). Their distinct mask-like facial markings further prompt their common categorization as “thieves” and “bandits” (Holmgren, 1990), names which clearly carry normative weight: such metaphorical condemnation draws its strength from a comparison with human beings who steal property and break the law, and these individuals are understood as morally corrupt and worthy of punishment. In capitalist contexts, they have broken both a cultural and economic taboo. Like raccoons, freegans also consume the waste of Western culture, although the intentions behind the behavior of both groups vary. Though freegans are also sometimes called thieves, unlike their nonhuman foraging cohort, they potentially face prosecution for theft (Hibbert, 2011).17 Freegans, perhaps because they are human, tend to inspire a unique type of public disgust, as they also disregard

the traditional classification systems regarding waste and dirt, and therefore throw the system into question. They appear contaminated or debased by such practices, as if they have somehow revoked their humanity (Essig, 2002). Freegans rummage near and sometimes in trash bins, like other foraging animals in cities. To some, the behavior of freegans seems inhuman or animalistic: “To eat ‘trash’ is to go against our cultural consciousness… To consume the abject trash is to risk contamination and status as a fully civil human being,” maintains Essig (2002). Consider, for example, the commentary from the Times Online: “Freegans often go ‘dumpster diving’ in packs, delving into skips at supermarkets and restaurants” (Bone, 2005). His choice of the word “packs,” as opposed to “groups” gestures toward animality. Further, “foraging” is a name commonly associated with nonhuman animals, such as raccoons and bears; freegans themselves refer to dumpster-diving as urban foraging (, 2008) or urban scavenging (Weissman, 2006), again ← 170 | 171 → evoking terms that are commonly associated with nonhuman animals. As one blogger coarsely states, “Rats go through people’s rubbish so Freegans are like rats except much worse because they’re also like tramps and bag-ladies and rats aren’t like that. I suspect Freegans carry more diseases than rats too” (Twenty Major, 2006). Yet for freegans, the comparison to foraging animals does not necessarily carry such presupposed negativity. For example, the “Urban Foraging” page on includes the link “Dumpster Diving Bear!” about a bear who toppled over a large dumpster. Association with nonhuman foragers, at least in some instances, appears welcomed. Freegans are not a homogeneous group, however, despite discourses that either collectively condemn or celebrate them. While it may be reasonable to suggest that raccoons and freegans may share some affinities (either through shared practices or discursive rendering), the particularities of individual freegans’ experiences are also informed by historical and contemporary oppression, such as racism and misogyny. For instance, the racist slur “Africoon” still circulates today, as does the epithet “coontang,” which refers to Black women (Taylor, 2008). (I assume “coontang” is a variant of “poontang,” a sexist term which refers to “sexual intercourse with a woman” or a “woman regarded as a sexual object” [].) Extending my argument, some might suggest that freegans should recognize raccoons as allies as part of a multi-dimensional stance against racism, sexism, classism, and speciesism, yet given the gruesome past and contemporary deployment of such vicious and intentionally degrading terms such as “Africoon,” reluctance or outright rejection of such associations is certainly understandable. Drake, a contributor to the Vegans of Color blog and student at Vassar College, directly points to some of the racial politics surrounding freeganism in the United States. In one post, he describes how senior students discarded food during their apartment exodus at the end of the semester. Drake and

friends—“broke students who [were] working on campus during the summer” (2008)—salvaged some of it from dumpsters. In his blog post he identifies himself as a freegan of color, and asks where the others are. He then reflects on some salient differences between his experience as a Black male dumpster-diver and that of his white companions: Freeganism is a largely white middle-class movement (that seems to forget that poor folks have been eating garbage forever). And when I’m dumpster-diving I seem to have a few more issues to deal with, as a Black male, than my white comrades. They aren’t nearly as afraid of the police (or security), or threats of calling the police (or security), nor do they get harassed by law enforcement while diving to the degree that I do. I got harassed by security several times while diving on my own campus, until my white friends pop their heads out of the dumpsters. I’m also extremely embarrassed for people to see me diving, because I can tell that I’m not just me, I’m also a representation of Black people in general. (Drake, 2008) ← 171 | 172 →

Drake raises crucial questions about freegans as an unmarked group, whose praxis by white activists in the United States is facilitated through racial privilege, despite whatever anti-racist views they may hold. Specifically, freegans, by the voluntary nature of their activities, can choose not to participate in dumpster-diving or other stigmatized behaviors. The ability to “step out” of discrimination clearly indicates a huge difference between the stigmatization experienced by white freegans, for example, and other persistent and inescapable forms of oppression. The texture of stigmatization resulting from freeganism is influenced by one’s social location. Following Drake, Weitzenfeld (2009) summarizes these observations well: A white freegan need not worry about being a token representation of his or her people during dumpster diving, but a person of color does because 1) they are most often a racial minority, 2) they are already popularly depicted as poor and dirty, and 3) they are marked as people of color in contrast to “whites” whose race is most often invisible (to other white people that is).

Weitzenfeld also argues that freeganism can signal not only an enactment of racial privilege but also class privilege. Middle-class freegans have a safety net of financial security when faced with a disappointing dumpster-dive (Weitzenfeld, 2009). Similarly, those without class privileges (in the present or past) may understandably be reluctant to participate in activities that (further) mark or shame them as poor. In relation, “race” and class intermingle with geography, factoring into the types of goods available, including one’s access to neighborhoods where activities like dumpster-diving reap greater or lesser rewards. As suggested above, arguments regarding shared affinities between raccoons and freegans are especially charged when one considers the specific linkages between raccoons and Black histories in the United States. The cultural contexts for Black people whose histories are intermingled with the racist practice of “coon-hunting” and demeaning terms such as “coon,” “Africoon,” and “coontang”

necessarily complicate efforts to resist shared forms of stigmatization and negative material consequences meted upon freegans and raccoons. Raccoons belong to a broader category of “wild animals,” which is also inflected with racist discourse. Consider, for example, two abhorrent so-called Ku Klux Klan “joke” websites, which endlessly reinforce the animalization of Black people by labeling them as “wild creatures” and apes. On both the NJ (Nigger Jokes) and NJKKK (Nigger Jokes KKK) websites analyzed by Billig, the same definition of “nigger” is included: An African jungle anthropoid ape of the primate family pongidae (superficially cercopithecoidae). Imported to the United States as slave labor in the last 1700’s–1800’s, ← 172 | 173 → these wild creatures now roam freely while destroying the economic and social infrastructure of American and other nations. These flamboyant sub-human love to consume large amounts of greasy fried chicken. (2001, p. 276)

Billig notes the pseudo-biology of the passage and how the “ultimate word of racist hate not only expresses dehumanization but also, in the context of these joke pages, signifies dehumanization” (2001, p. 278). Under the guise of a “joke,” the naturalizing discourse situates Black people within a false and biologically-essentialist paradigm. The racist (and speciesist) comparison of Black people to nonhuman apes and other nonhuman animals is well documented within Billig’s article and elsewhere (e.g., Goff, Eberhardt, Williams, & Jackson, 2008; Jordan, 1974; Sorenson, 2009). The websites’ description of “These wild creatures [who] now roam freely” (emphasis added, 2001, p. 276), while wreaking havoc, is meant to connote images of wild nonhuman animals who are loathed for, and partially defined by, their seemingly wanton destruction. The marking out of the wild animal Other helps coalesce one’s identity as a fully human subject (e.g., civil, white) (see Oliver, 2009). So while it is clear that there is cultural disdain heaped upon freegans, and that such disdain overlaps with and mutually reinforces negative discourses about urban raccoons, freegans are, of course, also enmeshed within a larger social fabric of racism, cissexism, classism, etc., that impacts their individual experiences. In other words, whatever the similarities between how raccoons and freegans are perceived, one’s experience as a freegan will be specific to how she or he is racialized, gendered, and so on. People positioned as “Other” may reasonably avoid engaging in freeganism, given historical legacies of oppression. Oppressed peoples who participate will likely experience greater risks and consequences than those who are not similarly positioned. The particular genocidal, colonialist, and racist histories of the United States and Canada that have figured certain groups as animalistic and dirty throw this point into sharp relief. Freeganism, through such practices as dumpster-diving, paradoxically offers both a disruption and potential reinforcement of privilege. This is especially interesting in light of the “Why Freegan?”

manifesto, which in a subsection entitled “Privilege,” explicitly encourages self-reflection and sacrifice of some of one’s privilege: We, in America, have so much and so many people all over the world have so little. Why do we have more? Because we’re number one! Other folks are literally starving so that we can have fully-stocked shelves at our supermarkets and health food stores. If this concerns you (as it should) you can protest the unbalanced distribution in America and the world by sacrificing some of your privilege and feeding yourself off of the ridiculous excess of food instead of consuming products from that supermarket shelves we are so unjustly privileged to have access to. (2008c) ← 173 | 174 →

Such passages directly point to national and global inequities that freeganism seeks to resist. These words are a rallying cry for social justice via a withdrawal of one’s financial support from the “corporate death consumer machine” (2008c). By boycotting consumerism, one is also seen as boycotting privilege. While this certainly may be true, it is unfortunately not that simple either, as indicated above. As I have attempted to show, freegans are not a unitary group. They are individuals variously located within and through social dynamics, and whatever stigmatization they may encounter cannot be divorced from greater social contexts. Such an assertion will likely seem obvious to those who already appreciate the ways in which people can be positioned simultaneously as both oppressor and oppressed, for example. Recognition of these axes must come to bear in political analyses of freegans and freeganism. What is perhaps less readily apparent is that raccoons are also individuals, and though they are not subject to identical forms of social construction as people, the category “raccoon” cannot adequately represent the diversity of experience and individuality of its members. Additionally, while many are willing to forcefully refute biologically essentialist accounts of human groups, these interpretations remain grossly unchallenged in regard to nonhuman animals (Noske, 1997; Sabloff, 2001). Biological and genetic reductionism of nonhuman life is still overwhelmingly unchecked by those who bristle at similar claims made about people. We might rage against the animalization of various oppressed human groups, and yet fail to recognize how such similar understandings also distort our perceptions of nonhuman animals. We protest dehumanization but often readily accept the “de-animalization” (Noske, 1997, p. 83) of nonhuman animals. The reductionist biobehavioral model is frequently critiqued as an affront to humanity, one that fails to recognize sociocultural forces (Noske, 1997). Too often we do not afford nonhuman animals such complexity, and thus flatten the richness and totality of their lives. In her critique of the social sciences, Noske notes that culture and sociality are generally conceived as exclusive to humanity, as key features that define and differentiate us from other animals. We alone are subjects, while they are interdependently cast as objects. She laments, “[S]ince they began by defining sociality and culturality as exclusively human phenomena they fall victim to the circular argument that animals, not being

human, can in no way be social or cultural beings as this would be a contradiction in terms” (Noske, 1997, pp. 82–83). Nonhuman animals, considered outside of the realm of the social or cultural, are instead studied within the natural sciences. The common “biobehavioural conception of animalness” found within these fields renders animals as objects while it dissects them into their “smallest constituent parts, and [conceives of] animal actions as mechanisms of living matter governed by natural laws” (p. 83). ← 174 | 175 → I raise Noske’s (1997) critique for two primary reasons. First, we are far more accustomed to think about questions of individuality, personality, social construction, and subjectivity in respect to human, rather than nonhuman, animals. Noske’s arguments encourage us to entertain and appreciate nonhuman animals as beings who also have individual experiences and internal worlds. While I noted the complexity of the category “freegan,” the category of “raccoon” should also be recognized as composed of individuals with unique subjectivities. Second, although the main aim of this article is to demonstrate common discourses that malign both freegans and raccoons, and to suggest some broader social dynamics and forces that might explain such negation, I have largely presented “culture” and “society” as human phenomena by default. Given that many within the social sciences and natural sciences unconsciously perpetuate this bias, it seems important to interrupt that assumption here. My hope is this chapter can be read in conjunction with ethological research that explores the subjectivities of nonhuman animals (e.g., Balcombe, 2006; Bekoff & Pierce, 2009; Smuts, 2001), including raccoons. Through a combination of such ethology and critical analyses of the social construction of humans and nonhuman animals, my hope is that we will deepen our sense of humility toward Others and be motivated to engage in different kinds of relationships. As Raymond Williams contends, “We need different ideas because we need different relationships” (Quoted in Sabloff, 2001, p. 11).

Conclusion Much theory now intricately describes the social construction of a variety of Others; unfortunately, similar scholarship dedicated to nonhuman animals is still relatively new. Nonetheless, animality is slowly becoming recognized as an important dynamic in the construction of humanity, and as a key aspect of various Othering processes (Anderson, 2000; Elder, Wolch, & Emel, 1998). The history of human–raccoon relations is interpenetrated with notions of animality and “the animal,” and yet, the texture of raccoon–human relations must be acknowledged as also specific and particular. Further, the human meanings of raccoons’ lives will remain, necessarily, in flux. Of course, raccoons also have their own histories and cultural interpretations. As humans’ cultural perceptions of raccoons vary, raccoons’ cultures are also heterogeneous. How might raccoons’

perceptions of humans differ among disparate groups, for example? Are we pests to them, perhaps? I turn to authors such as naturalist Holmgren (1990) who demonstrates that alternative raccoon–human relationships are possible. Her written accounts draw upon humble and engaged interactions with raccoons, suggesting new ways of being with those who are so frequently considered adversaries. ← 175 | 176 → Perhaps what is most striking about Holmgren’s accounts—based on thirty years of close backyard observation in Portland, Oregon—is the hard earned trust (and the related depth of relationship) that is possible between humans and raccoons when there is genuine commitment to meeting them with equanimity as fellow animals, with unique personalities, preferences, and forms of sociality among themselves and others. When raccoons are approached with humility, openness, true attentiveness to their needs, and careful deciphering of their many nonverbal signals, rich and respectful relationships emerge that can not only delight, but also offer new insight into raccoons’ epistemologies. Holmgren’s argument that we might learn from each other seems heretical when set against a steady stream of rhetoric that casts raccoons as vile vermin. In a radical reinterpretation of human–raccoon relationships, Holmgren’s repeatedly tries to “comply with raccoon ideas of territorial rights” by engaging in small gestures of understanding such as re-spacing water bowls at distances so that “whoever came late could usually claim a private space” (1990, p. 87). Actions that might be dismissed as wanton destruction are regarded with some tenderness, and from a willingness to entertain another’s point of view. The resultant characteristic commentary is intimate without being saccharine: [H]ere they were, and though some of our friends warned us they’d be a nuisance—even outright pests—we couldn’t believe we could ever feel that way. And we haven’t. For the first fifteen years of the nearly thirty they have been daily visitors they did not tear up our lawn, dig up our shrubbery or do any of the other destructive things we were warned about. I must admit that a raccoon mother did re-design the row of tulip bulbs I planted in a curving line that crossed the path she’d established for her kits. When the leaves poked up through the ground as evidence of coming barrier, she rooted them out and swept them aside. Those not in her path remained untouched. I’d left her room for a new path, but she wanted the old one—and she was in the right. In emergency—the sudden appearance of a dog or human stranger, perhaps—each family needs to know exactly which way to go, no one getting in another’s way. (1990, p. 113)

Drawing on Michael’s (2004) theory of “animobilities” (wild or feral animals’ own trajectories) and Douglas’ (1984) scholarship on pollution, Jerolmack explains, “When animal and human trajectories collide in the built environment, to the extent that animals cannot be tamed or controlled there is an existential human experience of social disorder” (2008, p. 18). Holmgren’s relational orientation toward the raccoons as fellow subjects, even when they seemingly destroy aspects of her cultivated and ordered space, demonstrates that what is frequently an “existential human experience of social disorder”

(Jerolmack, 2008, p. 18) is not inevitability. Indeed, Holmgren continually offers a distinct reversal of “pest” discourse, which positions certain animals as useless: ← 176 | 177 → A common theme that emerges out of sociological investigations of problem animals is that more often than not, the worth of the animals is judged largely on their usefulness to humans. Animals are often seen as “pests” when that are thought to be “useless,” especially if they are viewed as scavengers, are not deemed “charismatic” or particularly attractive, and are perceived to wreak havoc on human settlements or property, such as foxes, rats, raccoons, seagulls, deer, geese, and rabbits. (Jerolmack, 2008, p. 4)

Holmgren instead describes raccoons as “visitors,” “friends,” “neighbors,” or directly by individual names related to their unique characteristics (pp. 81–96, 109–123). Additionally, though they bring her joy, raccoons are recognized as valuable in their right. Yet Holmgren does not construe raccoons through some naïve Disney-inspired lens. Her goal is not domestication, and she rails against human efforts to keep raccoons as companion animals. Despite her affection for raccoons, her sentiments are accompanied by an appreciation for their wildness, which engenders a necessary distance between herself and those she observes. From this position, marked by trust and relationship, what Holmgren learns about raccoons equally disrupts popular but also, at times, scientific assessments of their lives. For example, she notices that raccoons are not just active at night (a common claim made in raccoon research): At one point, a raccoon known to Holmgren brings her new kits to the backyard. She remarks, “[H]er look of loving pride left no doubt that she had brought them on purpose to show us” (1990, p. 83). She continues, From then on all our raccoon families have come by day as well as dusk and dark—any hour in the twentyfour during the years in which we had no human neighbors nearby. So it seems clear that their reported status as “strictly nocturnal,” cited in encyclopedias and other reference material, is frequently altered by choice. (1990, p. 83)

While I recognize that few people will welcome raccoons into their lives as readily as Holmgren, her narrative encourages a reevaluation of commonly held prejudices. She begins with the understanding that we have encroached upon their territories. For Holmgren, raccoon–human relationships suggest cohabitation rather than expulsion. In this way, picked-through materials and toppled garbage cans are reminders that we share the city with other beings. Despite many of our best efforts, wildlife does not always adhere to our systems nor subscribe to our world-views. As raccoons are vilified for various reasons, it is worthwhile to contemplate how we have colonized other animals’ territories and created urban spaces that are not only hospitable for humans. We dramatically (re)shape urban ecologies and create the category of “trash animals” in the process; it seems unjust to condemn those who have also adapted to changing environments.

While I do not deny that raccoons can pose valid human health concerns (Clayton, 2009; Patell, 1996), the negative responses to raccoons cannot be ← 177 | 178 → explained away on that basis alone. Raccoons confront an onslaught of scathing characterizations, as these animals and their behaviors are interpreted through broader (human) cultural frames, which are at times interlaced with ideas about disease. Understandings of “race,” class, civility, dirt, and pests (among other dynamics) intersect and inform our cultural renderings of raccoons, which also resonate more broadly with our conceptions of nature. “In the West, as elsewhere,” posits Sabloff, “the relations of ordinary people with the natural world are reflected in their interactions with other animals” (2001, p. 13). Raccoons and freegans share a set of behavioral similarities and experience some parallel prejudices. I have suggested some of the overlaps between the positioning of both groups. Critics may charge that I have overemphasized the negative views of these groups at the expense of the more positive interpretations. In some respects, regard for raccoons is marked by ambivalence and complexity (Clayton, 2009). For comparative purposes, I focused on the negative interpretations because they most strongly represent how raccoons and freegans are culturally aligned within mainstream society. In some instances, freegans are metaphorically debased as nonhuman animals, while discourses fold back and metaphorically render raccoons as socially-deviant humans (i.e., as “thieves” and “bandits,” for example). With that in mind, though, I encourage readers to further explore the varied ways that raccoons and freegans are appreciated within and outside of their own communities. As one sympathetic observer writes: Some closeted raccoon lovers go so far as to call them “vermin” and put them in the same category as rats and cockroaches. It maybe true that they carry disease, attack if cornered, and sometimes scatter garbage around, but this also describes many human Torontonians as well. (Micallef, 2009, p. 50)

Now is an important historical moment to ask questions about the meanings attached to food, waste, and urban foraging. The environment is increasingly seen as a vital political, cultural, and even spiritual issue. The time is ripe not only to reflect on the strategies we use to confront environmental crises in general, but to also seriously ponder our relationships with the nonhuman world in our daily lives and immediate surroundings. Disdain for certain nonhuman animals can obscure the roots of humangenerated problems. Such displacement allows for the continued vilification of entire groups of animals, and for cultural prejudices to remain unchecked. The larger environmental consequences are grim. As Sabloff purports, “The environmental crisis lies…in the very sources of how we think, in the basic and often submerged premises we hold about the world” (Emphasis in original, 2001, p. 10). We literally refuse our refuse and loathe what infringes upon the civility of the city and ourselves. ← 178 | 179 → Trash haunts the urban landscape, as the image of its modern and sanitized surface is perpetually soiled with the concentrated waste of so many North Americans. It settles under streets and behind

buildings. It presses up against biological and cultural aversions. It lingers at the periphery, but always threatens to encroach upon us.18 Freegans and raccoons point to our inability to contain, and thus control, what we cast away in the name of self-preservation and identity. These groups offer radically different ways of understanding and being in the city. They help “make strange” this environment, and when approached with openness, they can teach us possibilities for different types of relationships with waste, Others, and ourselves.

Notes 1.

Toronto disposed of its garbage at landfill sites within the province of Ontario until the closing of the cityowned Keele Valley landfill site at the end of 2002. When the Keele Valley site closed, the city was forced to send its garbage to a Michigan landfill site, where the cost of disposal ballooned from $12 per ton (at the Keele Valley Site) to $52 per ton. In light of such numbers, The Waste Diversion Task Force’s 2010 report emphasized both the economic and environmental benefits of Waste Diversion: “It’s not only about doing the right thing for the environment but also doing the wise thing for our wallets” (City of Toronto, 2010a).


I refer to a number of different materials under the umbrella term “waste.” Firstly, there is non-recyclable waste, which could include certain kinds of packaging, plastics, and other inorganic material. Secondly, there is inedible recyclable waste, which includes tin, plastics, cardboard, and paper. Thirdly, there is organic waste, which is collected by the city of Toronto for the Green Bin Program. While these materials may be processed differently, conventionally they are all considered “waste.”


The term “trash animal” has a number of contemporary usages. For example, the term is sometimes used to define an animal from a non-targeted and/or “nongame” wildlife species that is caught through trapping (Humane Society of the United States, 2009), fishing, etc. In relation, “trash animals” can refer to abundant animals who some people consider worthless and/or vermin, as opposed to desirable game animals. Wolch, Brownlow, and Lassiter point to this latter usage in their summary of Marks’ study of hunting culture in rural North Carolina: “so-called ‘trash’ animals have long been a default form of protein for many local African Americans due to the sequestration of ‘legitimate’ game animals (e.g., deer, partridge, quail, etc.) by local, often wealthy, white hunting clubs. Animals like opossum, ‘coon’, and squirrel are generally considered vermin by the dominant Euro-American ideology, more often recognized as roadkill than as something prepared for dinner” (2000, p. 79).


There are approximately 14,000 raccoons in Toronto, with an average of ten to twenty per square kilometer, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources’ scientist Dr. Rosatte (Clayton, 2009). ← 179 | 180 →


The website gives the following definition: “The word freegan is compounded from ‘free’ and ‘vegan’. Vegans are people who avoid products from animal sources or products tested on animals in an effort to avoid harming animals. Freegans take this a step further by recognizing that in a complex, industrial, mass-production economy driven by profit, abuses of humans, animals, and the earth abound at all levels of production (from acquisition to raw materials to production to transportation) and in just about every product we buy.”


Elaboration on freegans’ tactics can be found at (


Obviously, there are people who are homeless and poor who engage in “waste reclamation” or other such “freegan” activities without any political motivation. Likewise, there may be those for whom urban foraging is a necessity, but who also see it as a political act, though they may be unacquainted with the term “freegan.” For the purposes of this chapter, I consider freegans to be those who explicitly identify themselves as such.


I largely focus on dumpster-diving, as opposed to other common freegan activities (such as wild foraging), because this practice takes a similar form to the garbage rummaging of raccoons. These represent major points of overlap in behaviors between raccoons and freegans, and they inspire comparable revulsion in outsiders.


While (2008a) maintains that freegan is a portmanteau of “vegan” and “freegan,” and an attempt to extend the politics of veganism further, freeganism does not necessarily imply veganism.


For example, in Hayasaki’s article, Deirdre Rennert refused to name her place of employment because of the stigma associated with eating food from dumpsters.


Food Not Bombs is an international network of autonomous collectives that reclaim, prepare, and distribute food for free.


Though Butler and McHenry’s statement may seem to be hyperbole, current food waste statistics in the United States paint a fairly bleak picture. For a brief, recent overview see “Half of US Food Goes to Waste,”, (


Some sources indicate that “coon” stems from the Spanish word “barracoon,” from “barracón,” meaning an enclosure used to temporarily confine convicts or slaves [see (].


A contemporary example of the racist use of “coon” can be found at ( The site claims to feature “Nigger Videos” by “Coon-Hunting Inc.”


Or, in the case of other urban wildlife, food is also foraged but the foraging does not necessarily infringe on human proprietorship, as it sometimes does with raccoons. For example, squirrels are also urban foragers but they are not as readily perceived as a pseudo-criminal menace, “stealing” from people’s garbage and littering the area.


Of course, raccoons who take food from people’s gardens are also commonly met with disdain.


The risks are even greater for raccoons. Although they do not face criminal prosecution, raccoons in cities have been poisoned, beaten, and intentionally killed. For example, baby raccoons were recently beaten (and (cont) some killed) with a shovel by a Toronto man as the kits’ mother attempted to rescue them. “It’s believed the man was frustrated with the damage raccoons were causing in his garden,” reports the CBC News (2011). In another ← 180 | 181 → instance, raccoons in a Toronto park were poisoned to death. One was posed to appear as if holding flowers. Another was placed alongside a squirrel (CBC News, 2008).


See Kristeva’s psychoanalytic text Powers of Horror (1982) for a thorough examination of how the process of abjection is essential to human identity formation. See also Butler’s Bodies that Matter (1993) for in-depth discussion of the role of “abject beings” within the social sphere.

References Adams, M. K. (2006). It’s not that gross! Freeganism and the art of dumpster diving. Retrieved from ( Anderson, K. (2000). ‘The beast within:’ Race, humanity, and animality. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 18(30), 301–302. Arluke, A., & Saunders, S. (1996). Regarding animals. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. (2007, August 26). Are freegans stupid? Blog of the day. Baker, D. L. (2006). To glean or not to glean…. The Expository Times, 117(10), 406–410. Baker, S. (2001). Picturing the beast: Animals, identity, and representation. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. Balcombe, J. (2006). Pleasurable kingdom: Animals and the nature of feeling good. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Bekoff, M., & Pierce, J. (2009). Wild justice: The moral lives of animals. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Billig, M. (2001). Humour and hatred: The racist jokes of the Ku Klux Klan. Discourse and Society, 12(3), 267– 289. Birke, L. (2003). Who—or what—are the rats (and mice) in the laboratory. Society and Animals, 11(3), 207–224. Bone, J. (2005, November 26). Why the middle classes go scavenging in dustbins. Times Online. Brown Lavitt, P. (1999). First of the red hot mamas: ‘Coon shouting’ and the Jewish Ziegfeld Girl. American Jewish History, 87(4), 253–290. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of “sex.” London: Routledge. CBC News. (2008, June 24). ‘Posed’ dead raccoons found in Toronto Park: Police. CBC News. (2011, June 2). Alleged raccoon killing attempt leads to arrest. Retrieved from ( City of Toronto. (2006). Going green in North York. City of Toronto. City of Toronto. (2010a). Waste diversion task force 2010 report. City of Toronto. City of Toronto. (2010b). Green bin program: Frequently asked questions. City of Toronto. Clayton, L. (2009, Winter). They love the city more: Toronto really is uTOpia—for raccoons. Spacing, 51. ← 181 | 182 → Davis, R. (n.d.). Eye witness to Jim Crow: Ronald Davis remembers. The History of Jim Crow. Retrieved from ( Poontang. Retrieved from ( Dion, M., & Rockman, A. (1996). Introduction. In M. Dion & A. Rockman (Eds.), Concrete jungle: A pop media investigation of death and survival in urban ecosystems (pp. 6–9). New York City, NY: Juno Books.

Douglas, M. (1984). Purity and danger: An analysis of the concepts of pollution and taboo. London: Ark Paperbacks. Dowdey, S. (2007, September 13). How freegans work. Retrieved from ( Drake, R. (2008, June 2). Freegans of color? Retrieved from ( Elder, G., Wolch, J., & Emel, J. (1998). La Pratique Sauvage: Race, place and the human-animal divide. In J. Wolch & J. Emel (Eds.), Animal geographies: Place politics and identity in the nature-culture borderlands (pp. 72–90). New York, NY: Verso. Essig, L. (2002, June 10). Fine diving. Retrieved from ( (2008a). What is a freegan? Retrieved from ( (2008b). Are freegans vegan cheaters? (2008c). Why Freegan? Gearey, J. (2007, January 13). Consumed with less: Not buying any food. The Globe and Mail, F6. Goff, P. A., Eberhardt, J. L., Williams, M. J., & Jackson, M. C. (2008). Not yet human: Implicit knowledge, historical dehumanization, and contemporary consequences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(2), 292–306. Griffiths, H., Poulter, I., & Sibley, D. (2000). Feral cats in the city. In C. Philo & C. Wilbert (Eds.), Animal spaces, beastly places: New geographies of human-animal relations (pp. 56–70). London: Routledge. Gross, J. (2009). Capitalism and its discontents: Back-to-the-lander and freegan foodways in rural Oregon,” Food and Foodways, 7(2), 57–79. Hayasaki, E. (2007, September 11). Free lunch foragers. Los Angeles Times. Hibbert, K. (2011, February 15). I eat out of bins too. So what? Retrieved from ( Holmgren, V. C. (1990). Raccoons: In history, folklore & today’s backyards. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press. Humane Society of the United States. (2009). Trapping: The inside story. Humane Society of the United States. Jerolmack, C. (2008). How pigeons became rats: The cultural-spatial logic of problem animals. Social Problems, 55(1), 72–94. Jordan, W. D. (1974). The white man’s burden: Historical origins of racism in the United States. New York, NY: University of North Carolina Press. Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of horror: An essay on abjection. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. ← 182 | 183 → Kurutz, S. (2007, June 21). Not buying it. New York Times. Retrieved from

RC9gNlSq8uD/n2N48vOYPQ&oref=slogin ( _r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1194671440-RC9gNlSq8uD/n2N48vOYPQ&oref=slogin) Kwan, P. (2007, July 29). I dream of freegan chic (or who’s afraid of freeganism?). Retrieved from ( Lawrence Butler, C. T., & McHenry, K. (1992). Food not bombs: How to feed the hungry and build community. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers. McClintock, A. (1995). Imperial leather: Race, gender and sexuality in the colonial conquest. London: Routledge. Metzger, P. (2006, October 5). Raccoon rage. The Torontoist. Retrieved from ( Micallef, S. (2009, Winter). A mascot we know: Our city’s most maligned inhabitants may hold the key to our urban identity. Spacing, 50. Michael, M. (2004). Roadkill: Between humans, nonhuman animals, and technologies. Society and Animals, 12(4), 278–298. Noske, B. (1997). Beyond boundaries: Humans and animals. Montreal, QC: Black Rose Books. Oliver, K. (2009). Animal lessons: How they teach us to be human. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Patell, S. R. K. (1996). The language of pests. In M. Dion & A. Rockman (Eds.), Concrete jungle (pp. 63–64). New York City, NY: Juno Books. Patterson, C. (2002). Eternal treblinka: Our treatment of animals and the Holocaust. New York City, NY: Lantern Books. Pilgrim, D. (2000). The coon caricature. Jim Crow museum of racist memorabilia. Retrieved from ( Post Punk Kitchen. (2010, December 8). Freeganism: Could it be more ethical than veganism? Powell, D. (2011a, March 9). Species privilege and dumpster diving. Powell, D. (2011b, March 10). Species privilege and dumpster diving…reply 2. Ramsey, M. (2007, July 23). Dumpster diving: ‘Freegans’ and others survive on society’s refuse. Riggins, T. (2006, November 7). Debate about ‘coon’ deemed to be as serious as the ‘N’ word. The Hilltop. Sabloff, A. (2001). Reordering the natural world: Humans and animals in the city. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Sadler, C. (n.d.). Green bins improved in raccoon wars. Retrieved from ( Shantz, J. (2005). One person’s garbage… Another person’s treasure: dumpster diving, freeganism, and anarchy. Verb, 3(1), 11. Smuts, B. (2001). Encounters with animal minds. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8(5–7), 293–309. Sorenson, J. (2009). Ape. London: Reaktion Books Ltd.

Southan, R. (2010, April 2). Why vegans don’t join freegan omnivores. Retrieved from ( Tarrant, D. (1960). Greek metaphors for light. The Classical Quarterly, 10(2), 181. ← 183 | 184 → Taylor, S. (2008). Big black penis: Misadventures in race and masculinity. Chicago, IL: Lawrence Hill Books. The Summa Mamas. (2007, October 13). One man’s muck is another man’s meal. Retrieved from ( Twenty Major. (2006, April 11). Freegans – what a pack of cunts. Twenty Major: Still Smoking in Dublin Bars. Van Horn, G. (2006, June 16). Freegan hilarious. Retrieved from ( Vasil, A. (2005, May 26). Spilling the bins: No latch will keep the whiskered bandits from compost munch. Wanagas, D. (2005, October 27). Locked out and starving: I blame green bins for pushing desperate raccoons to dine at my backyard fishpond. Weissman, A. (2006). The revolution in everyday life. In S. Best & A. J. Nocella II (Eds.), Igniting a revolution: Voices in defense of the earth (pp. 127–136). Oakland, CA: AK Press. Weitzenfeld, A. (2009, April 6). Privilege: The U.S. vegan movement, whiteness, and race relations. Retrieved from ( Whitetail Deer Management and Hunting. (n.d.). American hunter feeder review. Retrieved from ( Wolch, J., Brownlow, A., & Lassiter, U. (2000). Constructing the animal worlds of inner-city Los Angeles. In C. Philo & C. Wilbert (Eds.), Animal spaces, beastly places: New geographies of human-animal relations (pp. 71– 97). New York, NY: Routledge. Woloshyn, T. (2011, February 5). Toronto, raccoon capital of the world: Woloshyn.

← 184 | 185 →

Part IV Race ← 185 | 186 →

← 186 | 187 →


The Subhuman as a Cultural Agent of Violence MANEESHA DECKHA

Introduction One of the organizing narratives of Western thought and the institutions it has shaped is humanism and the idea that human beings are at the core of the social and cultural order (Asad, 2003; Wolfe, 2003a). The cultural critique humanism has endured, by way of academic theory and social movements, has focused on the failure of its promise of universal equal treatment and dignity for all human beings. To address this failing, a rehabilitative approach to humanism is usually adopted with advocates seeking to undo humanism’s exclusions by expanding its ambit and transporting vulnerable human groups from subhuman to human status. Law has responded by including more and more humans under the coveted category of personhood (Naffine, 2009). Yet, the logic of the human/subhuman binary typically survives this critique with the dependence of the coveted human status on the subhuman (and the vulnerabilities it enables) going unnoticed (Asad, 2003). This gap in analysis is evident in how most of us think about violence and its related concept of vulnerability. Some would even say that what sets us apart from nonhumans is a capacity for vulnerability (Oliver, 2009). Others who address human–nonhuman relationships more closely might say that what sets human apart from nonhuman animals, if anything, is our capacity for

violence (Kheel, 2008). More particular still, feminists would highlight the masculinist orientation of this ← 187 | 188 → violence against nonhumans, animals and otherwise, noting that primary sites of institutionalized violence against nonhumans occurs in male-dominated industries (Luke, 2007). Yet, the discourse around (hu)man violence against animals is muted in mainstream debates about violence, vulnerability, and exploitation in general. More common is a concern with violence against humans and how to eliminate it and make humans less vulnerable. This theorizing largely proceeds through affirmations of the inviolability or sanctity of human life and human dignity, establishing what it means to be human through articulation of what it means to be animal. The humanist paradigm of anti-violence discourse thus does not typically examine the human/nonhuman boundary, but often fortifies it. The failure to address this boundary and its creation and maintenance of the figure of the subhuman undermines anti-violence agendas. Specifically, a full analysis of the dynamics of violence against humans is precluded when attention is not given to the function of dehumanization and the subhuman figure in facilitating violence against humans. This chapter considers the important role the idea of the subhuman plays in current instantiations of global racialized, gendered, and economic violence and how a corrected humanism (i.e., one that really applies to all human beings) perpetuates this violence-producing category. Specifically, the chapter examines the work that the subhuman figure and practices of dehumanization have played in enabling the violence meted out against human bodies in 1) the militarized and police camps associated with the―war on terror; 2) the various forms of coerced and/or forced labor that many argue are akin or equivalent to slavery; and 3) the laws of war. In analyzing the role of the subhuman figure in current instantiations of violence, the argument does not seek to claim a primacy for its causal stature or to impugn the work that other markers of difference (gender, race, culture, etc.) accomplish. Rather, the chapter hopes to place the subhuman figure into conversation with these other axes of difference and assist in highlighting its impact in contributing to justifications for violence. Given the overwhelming humanist orientation of Western cultures, even Western critical theories, including feminist theories, have not labored to unpack species difference, distinctions, and demarcations in our cultural order (Deckha, 2008).1 This has an obvious impact on those beings who are not human (animals, plants, etc.), but, as this chapter argues, affects issues of human exploitation and violence as well.

Part I—The Humanism of Violence

One of the most violent places imaginable is the modern-day slaughterhouse. The rate of killing inside is swift and of unprecedented proportions. In the United States alone, around 9.5 billion animals are killed per year. To put that in perspective, that amounts to 250 cows per hour and 266 chickens per second (Isaacs-Blundin, 2007). This figure ← 188 | 189 → does not account for all slaughter of animals for food in the United States, merely the extent of killing of land farm animals (Finelli & Mason, 2006). The overwhelming number are born, raised, and killed for consumption making the violence against farm animals the most pervasive form of institutionalized violence against animals (Isaacs- Blundin, 2007). These statistics also fail to capture the suffering animals endure while in the slaughterhouse, where they are raised for slaughter (Finelli & Mason, 2006; Marcus, 2005; Pollan, 2002; Scholsser, 2001). All of this infliction on animal bodies is perceived as legitimate violence because of the nonhuman status of the species involved. The law buttresses this cultural acceptance. Animals are the property of corporate and human owners; theirs is a near universal status in Western legal systems, which facilitates their instrumental use and exploitation for human ends. Due to the humanist parameters of our typical framings of violence, when we do think of violence against animals, it is only certain forms of violence that enter the realm of legal sanction. The protection that animals receive in Western common law systems extends to protection from cruelty. Yet, cruelty only covers a fraction of the violent activities against animals and even then is designed to protect owners’ property interests, rather than recognize any inherent interests of animals themselves (Francione, 2006). In his discussion of the development of human–animal relationships in Western cultures, Richard Bulliet helps to understand this situation (Bulliet, 2008). Bulliet identifies three primary stages in human–animal relationships in Western cultures: predomestic, domestic, and postdomestic (Bulliet, 2008, pp. 34–35). According to Bulliet, part of what characterizes postdomestic society in the United States is the invisibility of violence against animals (Bulliet, 2008). Contrary to the seemingly insatiable appetite for animal blood sports several centuries ago, postdomestic sensibilities against this type of bloodletting have become hegemonic due to an aversion to viewing animal slaughter despite the acceptance of slaughterhouses and the knowledge of the hidden and routinized violence against animals that occurs there (Bulliet, 2008; Griffin, 2007; Shevelow, 2009). Postdomestic societies brutalize animals, but hide the brutality. Thus, anticruelty laws cover these blood sports today, but not much else beyond basic sustenance and shelter (Francione, 1995; Letourneau, 2003). Cruelty typically only extends to

protection from unnecessary suffering and excludes all forms of current or postdomestic institutionalized violence against animals. It is not that postdomestic societies are any less violent than predomestic ones. Rather, only the excessive violence against animals, that is, that which is not related to any culturally mainstream profitable or recreational practice, is outlawed while a multiplicity of institutional violence venues are kept hidden or filtered from full view2 This approach to animal protection is compatible within a legal regime that classifies all nonhumans, except corporations and ships, as property rather than persons and is premised on a species divide that is foundational for Western cultures in general (Kheel, 2008; Wolfe, 2003). Statutes outlawing cruelty co-exist with ← 189 | 190 → the slaughterhouse. It is a mistake though to assume that the slaughterhouse is an animal rights issue of no consequence to humans beyond the working conditions for the slaughterhouse workers (LeDuff, 2003). Rather, according to Giorgio Agamben, it closely relates to the dynamics that sustain violence against humans who are cast into the subhuman category by virtue of their gender, race, class, culture, or other socially constructed difference (Oliver, 2009). Agamben has developed the concept of the anthropological machine to characterize the seemingly indelible extent to which Western knowledges define the human and animal in connection with each other. In particular, as Kelly Oliver notes in discussing Agamben’s influential work, the anthropological machine currently operates to animalize humans and thus subhumanize them. The impact of this (hu)man/animal dichotomy and its effect of animalization and subhumanization are high. As Oliver explains: Who is included in human society, and who is not is a consequence of the politics of humanity, which creates the polis itself. In this regard, politics itself is the product of the anthropological machine, which is inherently lethal to some forms of (human) life…It is the space of the animal or not-quitehuman in the concept of humanity that for Agamben presents the greatest danger. (Oliver, 2009)

Oliver captures the essence of Agamben’s insight that the human is defined through the nonhuman and, in particular, the animal, and that this binary has the contemporary effect of dehumanizing vulnerable human groups and thus exposing them to violence from which humans are meant to be shielded. It is important to emphasize as Oliver does that Agamben states this thesis not to consider violence against animals, but to consider the role of our ideas on the animal and subhuman in generating violence against humans (Oliver, 2009). Animal advocates and posthumanist scholars would wish to acknowledge this type of violence to ameliorate the abject status of nonhumans. While I am sympathetic to this project and count myself within this group, this is not my focus here. Rather, applying Agamben’s thesis, I wish to connect the exclusion of

violence directed at nonhumans in our normal framing of anti-violence discourse, to the role of the subhuman in violence directed at humans.

Part II—The Role of the Subhuman in Current Instantiations of Violence This part illustrates the productive role of the subhuman figure in three contemporary instantiations of violence: (1) detention of individuals in anti-terrorist militarized and police camps; (2) contemporary slavery and/or slavery-like practices; and (3) the laws of war. ← 190 | 191 →

Violence in the Camps In her latest book exploring the intersections of race, gender, culture, and violence, Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law & Politics, postcolonial feminist scholar Sherene Razack discusses the lawlessness that attends the rise of the war on terror (Razack, 2007). In doing so, Razack highlights the phenomenon of the camp spaces where states pass laws or take other measures to create a lawless zone untouched by rule of law principles (Razack, 2007). Camps are not a new phenomenon and may be established for a variety of purposes relating to state control.3 But a notable feature of many camps dispersed throughout the globe today is who primarily lives there—racialized individuals identified as terrorist or migrant threats and thus in need of containment and discipline. Razack dedicates her attention to these camps which involve military anti-terrorist efforts such as those now famously associated with Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib (Razack, 2007). The absence of the rule of law, for Razack, converts these spaces into a state of exception, in the Agamben sense of the term, to mark the boundaries of political citizenship, community and belonging (Razack, 2007). The justification for creating states of exception is crafted through the rule of law itself. Similar to other postcolonial critics, Razack identifies the rule of law as an exclusive category within liberal legalism whose selective application to different conflicts should not be read as surprising (Razack, 2007). The rule of law, as an organizing concept in Western legal systems, suffers from the same flaw as other foundational Western legal principles. It purports to be universal, but instead is exclusive, having been formulated in and through a legal regime that catered to Empire-building and indigenous dispossession (Kapur, 2005). That it can be

so easily manipulated to selectively work its rhetorical influence and apply to protect some groups rather than others should thus not be perceived as peculiar. While Razack is quick to note that the camps and their logic of justified lawlessness pre-date contemporary wars on terror and the like (Razack, 2007), she asserts that the effect of the war on terror has been to discursively normalize these spaces and the violence they inflict. We as a population know about these camps and the suspension of law and protective civil liberties they entail, facilitating the conditions for torture (Razack, 2007). We also know the overwhelming racialized nature of these spaces in terms of who is detained in these camps. Yet they endure. For Razack, the reason for this resides in the camps’ reliance on a type of race thinking-structure of thought that divides up the world between the deserving and undeserving—that sustains the legitimacy of indefinite detention, war, and violence (Razack, 2007). Although race thinking varies, for Muslims and Arabs, it is underpinned by the idea that modern enlightened, secular peoples must protect themselves from pre-modern, religious peoples whose loyalty to tribe and community reigns over their commitment ← 191 | 192 → to the rule of law. The marking of belonging to the realm of culture and religion, as opposed to the realm of law and reason, has devastating consequences…. (T)he West has often defined the benefits of modernity to those it considers to be outside of it. Evicted from the universal, and thus from civilization and progress, the non-West occupiers a zone outside the law. Violence may be directed at it with impunity. (Razack, 2007, p. 221)

Razack connects this concept of race thinking with respect to the camps dispersed throughout the world to Foucault’s argument requiring the presence of racism to justify the state’s sense of legitimate killing and biopower. The war on terror is another instance of the state seeking to purge from its boundaries those racialized Others whose values are cased as in conflict with our own (Razack, 2007). It is because groups are seen as civilizationally different on one sort of cultural register or another, that we accept the culture of exception that underpins the eviction of increasing numbers of people from political community into lawless zones where they may be treated violently (Razack, 2007). Gender frequently figures into this process of racialization, helping Western nations accentuate the purported values on which the West and non-West differ by pointing to the systemic gender violence and oppression as part of the Others’ culture, and never their own (Razack, 2007). The classic colonial argument of the non-West requiring and benefiting from Western imperial invasion to save non-Western women from their misogynistic culture and dangerous men has

clearly been operative in the war on terror. Women and the threats their Muslim culture/religion pose have been prominently featured, for example, in justifications for the war in Afghanistan and preventing sharia law from entering Western legal landscapes (Abu-Lughod, 2002; Bakht, 2005; Howe, 1995; Razack, 1998). While the intersection of race and gender is often acknowledged in understanding the etiology of justificatory narratives for war, the presence of species distinctions and the importance of the subhuman are less appreciated. Yet, the race (and gender) thinking that animates Razack’s argument in normalizing violence for detainees (and others) is also centrally sustained by the subhuman figure. As Charles Patterson notes with respect to multiple forms of exploitation: Throughout the history of our ascent to dominance as the master species, our victimization of animals has served as the model and foundation for our victimization of each other. The study of human history reveals the pattern: first, humans exploit and slaughter animals; then, they treat other people like animas and do the same to them. (Patterson, 2002)

Paterson emphasizes how the human/animal hierarchy and our ideas about animals and animality are foundational for intrahuman hierarchies and the violence ← 192 | 193 → they promote. The routinized violence against beings designated subhuman serves as both a justification and blueprint for violence against humans. For example, in discussing the specific dynamics of the Nazi camps, Patterson further notes how techniques to make the killing of detainees resemble the slaughter of animals were deliberately implemented in order to make the killing seem more palatable and benign. That the detainees were made naked and kept crowded in the gas chambers facilitated their animalization and, in turn, their death at the hands of other humans who were already culturally familiar and comfortable with killing animals in this way (Patterson, 2002). Returning to Razack’s exposition of race thinking in contemporary camps, one can see how subhuman thinking is foundational to race thinking. One of her primary arguments for the book is that race thinking, which she defines as the denial of a common bond of humanity between people of European descent and those who are not, is a defining feature of the world order today as in the past (Razack, 2007). In other words, it is the species thinking that helps to create the racial demarcation. As Razack notes with respect to the specific logic infusing the camps, they are not simply contemporary excesses born of the west’s current quest for security, but instead represent a more ominous, permanent arrangement of who is and is not a part of the human community (Razack, 2007).4 Once placed outside the human zone by race thinking, the detainees may be handled lawlessly and thus with violence that is legitimated at all times. Racialization is not

enough and does not complete their Othering experience. Rather, they must be dehumanized for the larger public to accept the violence against them and the increasing culture of exception which sustains these human bodily exclusions. Although nonhumans are not the focus of Razack’s work, the centrality of the subhuman to the logic of the camps and racial and sexual violence contained therein is also clearly illustrated in her specific examples. It is the subhuman figure that justifies the absence of the rule of law from the racialized geopolitical space of Abu Ghraib. In discussing the now famous pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib, Razack notes that (t)he photos from Abu Ghraib depict acts of intimacy, acts requiring a psychic closeness that endangers the barrier between the human and the subhuman even as it creates and affirms it (Razack, 2007). For the American soldiers, the Iraqis must be contained as the racial Other, as they are constructed through the war on terror discourse surrounding cultural differences. It is the sexualized violence (that) accomplishes the eviction from humanity, and it does so as an eviction from masculinity (Razack, 2007). In the course of her analysis, to determine the import of race thinking in enabling violence, Razack quotes a newspaper story that describes the background mentality of Private Lynndie England, the white female soldier made notorious by images of her holding onto imprisoned ← 193 | 194 → and naked Iraqi men with a leash around their necks (Razack, 2007). The story itself quotes a resident from England’s hometown who says the following about the sensibilities of individuals from their town: To the country boys here, if you’re a different nationality, a different race, you’re sub-human. That’s the way that girls like Lynndie England are raised. Tormenting Iraqis, in her mind, would be no different from shooting a turkey. Every season here you’re hunting something. Over there they’re hunting Iraqis. (Razack, 2007)

Razack extracts this quote to illustrate how race overdetermined what went on, but it may also be observed that species overdetermined what went on (Razack, 2007). Race has a formative function, to be sure, but it works in conjunction with species difference to enable the violence at Abu Ghraib and other camps. Dehumanization promotes racialization, which further entrenches both identities. It is an intertwined logic of race, sex, culture and species that lays the foundation for the violence.5

Present-Day Slavery and/or Slavery-Like Practices

Slavery is often talked about as a racialized vestige from the past. Recent years have seen several treatises arguing that slavery exists today in the form of human trafficking, debt bondage, and/or other forms of forced labor (Bales & Cornell, 2008; Bowe, 2008; Derby, 2009; Scarpa, 2003, 2008). While humans may not legally be property of other humans in any country, many human rights scholars and activists largely argue that non-legal slavery and its trappings still exist in a wide variety of industries where children and adults are kept imprisoned to perform labor of some sort against their will and for little or no remuneration. Kevin Bales is at the foreground of this area of activism and scholarship. He is president of the American-based Free the Slaves organization, a sister organization of the Anti-Slavery International based in the United Kingdom. In his book, Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves, Bales describes the extent of contemporary slavery in a variety of global industries from debt-bondage labor, domestic migrant labor, agricultural migrant labor, sex work, child labor in textiles and cocoa production, and other forms of human trafficking for exploited labor (Bales, 2007). In his introduction to the text, Bales is careful to distinguish this form of generally non-consensual/forced labor from the much more widespread problem of poorly remunerated labor under capitalism in general (Bales, 2007). The distinguishing feature, Bales emphasizes, is the violence involved to control individuals and command their labor for profit (Bales, 2007). He identifies three core components of slavery today: “control through violence, economic ← 194 | 195 → exploitation, and the loss of free will” (Bales, 2007). Based on this definition, Bales estimates that today there are 27 million slaves worldwide for whom violently coerced labor forms the norm of their working conditions (Bales, 2007).6 Again, it is the denial of humanity that is identified as the dynamic that exposes individuals to being perceived and treated violently as slaves. This is not to deny, of course, that the causes of slavery are multiple; poverty, extreme capitalism, international debt policies, greed, state corruption and apathy, and armed conflict are just some of the causes Bales identifies. Yet, the subhuman figure highlights the conceptual vehicle, a denial of equal humanity, which facilitates violence against humans to compel their labor (Bales, 2007). This is not a controversial claim given the importance of the subhuman and dehumanization to more historical forms of slavery (Dua, 2007; Fuss, 1996; Patterson, 2002). The widespread sensibility that slaves were not fully human matches the jurisprudential conceptualization of the subhumanity of slaves.7 Indeed, a recent book published on Darwin’s private motivations to pursue and publicize his then radical theory of evolution highlights his abhorrence of slavery. In it,

the authors argue that Darwin’s concern about slavery greatly influenced his desire to develop and share his views regarding common origins among humans, and among humans, animals, and plants (Sapp, 2008). Darwin’s response was to do away with a rigid sense of species divide on which to establish a social order based on whose lives matter and whose do not in a slave-based economy and society. It is not surprising that current understandings of whose lives matter and whose does not also pivot on the subhuman figure, especially since a stark sense of a species divide between humans and all other beings still remains culturally and legally entrenched.

Laws of War The resonance of the subhuman figure may also be found in Western jurisprudence relating to the conduct of war. As the title of his recent article, Species War: Law, Violence and Animals, intimates, Tarik Kochi argues that a species war is at the root of war and violence generally. He notes that the laws of war that describe how nations may engage each other in combat differentiate between two categories of violence: legitimate and non-legitimate violence. He insists that the human–nonhuman distinction is the primary political distinction organizing the laws on war and not, as many would believe, the dyad of friend–enemy as Carl Schmidt espoused (Kochi, 2009). Building upon the Foucauldian insight that, despite international comity, war continues unabated in the domestic sphere through the prism of racial relations, he locates the war of humans against nonhumans as lying at the crux of race war and Western political and legal theory (Kochi, 2009). ← 195 | 196 → In making this claim, Kochi’s argument joins posthumanist, postcolonial, and feminist theory by locating species difference as intricately connected to the axes of gender, race, and cultural difference (Bailey, 2007; Wolch & Emel, 1998). He moves beyond Razack’s race thinking, which incorporates gender and religious/cultural difference, but misses adverting to species difference. Kochi’s analysis directs our attention to the essential role species differentiation plays in our understanding of the distinction between forms of violence in the laws of war and the nature of violence itself, in terms of valuing different forms of life (Kochi, 2009). From our treatment of nonhumans we learn that only certain deaths are valued in our cultural and legal order as genocide or murder rather than being diminished through representations as slaughter, culling or harvest (Kochi, 2009). Kochi writes: While it may be difficult to empirically verify the claim that species war lies at the foundation of the Law of war, the claim does contain a certain degree of genealogical truth. Both species war and the life-

value distinction between human and nonhuman animals resides within Western legal and political categories and represent a violence that is too often overlooked. If we are to better understand the relationship between law and war it is time to stop overlooking species war—time to re-think some of our dominant legal and political categories with reference to the lives and death of animals. (Kochi, 2009)

Kochi’s emphasis on legitimate violence and life value explains this approach to the human/animal distinction, a binary which goes on to inform what humans may do to other humans in executing war. We can also note in this regard that in the practices of war, the associations of the enemy with animals is often heightened through epithets and images to subhumanize and reinforce the legitimacy of the killing (Patterson, 2002). Whether it is the laws of war on what counts as legitimate violence, the logic of the camps as to which bodies may be subject to violence without legal rights and protection, or the flourishing of contemporary slavery and/or slavery-like practices, the subhuman figure is critical to producing violence against humans.

Part III—Doing Away with the Subhuman The first part of this chapter has established the importance of the subhuman figure in several contemporary manifestations of violence: militarized and police camps, slavery and slavery-like practices, and the laws of war. If this role played by subhumanization is accurate, a pressing question presents itself: should we continue to rely on anti-violence discourses (i.e., human rights or other human justice campaigns) ← 196 | 197 → that entrench the subhuman category? In other words, human rights discourses do not instruct us to purge the subhuman category or the human/nonhuman divide from our critical repertoire. Instead, they seek to convince us that we should see all human beings as definitely human and not subhumanize them. This approach does not effectively achieve its aims of protecting vulnerable human groups from violence because it leaves the subhuman category intact, a category that humanized humans can always assert should convictions sway about the relative moral worth of a particular human group. The subhuman category is then poised to animalize or dehumanize the targeted group and generate corresponding justifications as to why the human group does not deserve better than subhuman treatment. A better strategy would be to eliminate the subhuman category from the onset by impugning the human/nonhuman boundary itself and thus the claim to human superiority. Not everyone agrees with this assessment as a route to secure anti-violence agendas aimed at protecting vulnerable human groups. Many critics wish to hold onto the elevated cultural status (if

not legal) of humans over any other species (Naffine, 2009). Elsewhere I have discussed the potential sources of resistance to such a move in critical theory and political campaigns.8 Obviously, it can be very unsettling for vulnerable human groups to destabilize this boundary and the corollary belief in human specialness that is said to be at the root of Western knowledge systems (Fox, 2004). This is especially so for vulnerable human groups whose humanity has been historically denied. Yet this might be precisely what is required (if insufficient) to alter the dynamics of violence that amplify vulnerabilities. Still, others may disagree and maintain that these instantiations of subhuman violence only demonstrate the incompleteness of humanism and the corresponding need to promote human rights discourse more robustly so that no human beings are thought of as subhuman. This viewpoint assumes that the impediment to humanism is its incomplete application rather than some defect in the category itself. Postcolonial scholars have pointed to the fallacy of holding this view. Citing Western imperial origins and structure, they insist upon the always already exclusive logic that human rights entail (Kapur, 2006). They have argued that the rational and autonomous liberal actor always requires an Other through which to establish himself. In contemporary times, liberalism’s Other are subjects whose perceived lifestyles and values are cast as threats to a liberal order. Ratna Kapur identifies liberalism’s contemporary Others as the Islamic, the homosexual, the sex worker and the migrant subject and highlights the spectacular array of laws, primarily relating to anti-terrorism and antimigration, that produce these legal Others. Kapur goes on to note how this Othering actually creates a class of the nonhuman, delineating some as lesser and some more as super human (Kapur, 2006). I would push this analysis further to investigate the depths of our reliance on the category of the ← 197 | 198 → subhuman. It is not simply the case that liberalism creates Others who then get plugged into a discourse of subhumanity and superhumanity. Rather, the humanist foundations of liberalism ensure that the liberal paradigmatic actor must always differentiate itself from the nonhuman, for the good life articulated within liberal theories is a vision of human life that depends on the nonhuman for its claims to unique value. The subhuman is crucial to the foundations of humanist and liberal theories making their recuperation an implausible task. It is for the same reason that merely extending rights or other legal interests to nonhumans is an insufficient response to their frequently abject legal and cultural condition. While creating a nonproperty status or affording other rights to nonhumans might better protect them from human exploitation, this approach will not disrupt the subhuman/human boundary zones that enable violence in the first place. As feminists know very well, a mere extension of rights with nothing

more does not interrogate the logic of exclusion contained within traditional moral/ethical categories (Adams & Donovan, 1996; Nedelsky, 1993; Oliver, 2009). Oliver explains the inability of merely extending rights without undoing humanism when she writes: …focusing on rights or equality and extending them to animals does not address more essential issues of conceptions of the animal, man, or human. It does not challenge the presumptions of humanism that makes man the measure of all things, including other animals and the earth. Insofar as it leaves intact traditional concepts of man and animal and the traditional values associated with them, it cannot transform our ways of thinking about either. The consequences of Western conceptions of man, human, and animal are deadly for both animals and various groups of people who have been figured as being like them. Without interrogating the man/animal opposition on the symbolic and imaginary levels, we can only scratch the surface in understanding exploitation and genocide of people and animals. (Oliver, 2009)

Oliver proceeds from this insight to note its connection to Agamben’s concern, discussed above, around understanding Western concepts of animal and animality in order to, in turn, understand oppression of those humans we cast as subhuman or even nonhuman (Oliver, 2009). Whether motivated by a focus on human vulnerability, nonhuman vulnerability, or both, pursuing antiviolence projects with the current anthropocentric status quo seriously undercuts those very same projects.

Conclusion—A New Discourse That the human/subhuman binary continues to inhabit so much of Western experience raises the question of the continuing relevance of anthropocentric concepts (such as human rights and human dignity) for effective theories of justice, policy ← 198 | 199 → and social movements. Instead of fighting dehumanization with humanization, a better strategy may be to minimize the human/nonhuman boundary altogether. Discourses of anti-violence and dignity must shift from anthropocentric and hierarchical concepts to non-exclusive conceptual anchors. This will ensure a more stable foundation for anti-violence and justice-seeking projects. The human specialness claim is a hierarchical one and relies on the figure of an Other—the subhuman and nonhuman—to be intelligible. The latter groups are beings, by definition, who do not qualify as human and thus are denied the benefits that being human is meant to compel. More to the point, however, a dignity claim staked on species difference, and reliant on dehumanizing Others to establish the moral worth of human beings, will always be vulnerable to

the subhuman figure it creates. This figure is easily deployed in interhuman violent conflict implicating race, gender and cultural identities as we have seen in the context of military and police camps, contemporary slavery and slavery-like practices, and the laws of war used in these situations to promote violence against marginalized human groups. A new discourse of cultural and legal protections is required to address violence against vulnerable humans in a manner that does not privilege humanity or humans, nor permit a subhuman figure to circulate as the mark of inferior beings on whom the perpetration of violence is legitimate. This chapter has sought to demonstrate the need to find an alternative discourse to theorize and mobilize around vulnerabilities for subhuman humans. This move, in addressing violence and vulnerabilities, should be productive not only for humans made vulnerable by their dehumanization, but nonhumans as well.

Notes 1.

For exceptions to this please see the works of Carol Adams, Josephine Donovan, Donna Haraway, and Cary Wolfe. See Carol J. Adams, Neither Man nor Beast: Feminism and the Defense of Animals (New York: Continuum, 1994); The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (New York: Continuum, 1990); Carol Adams & Josephine Donovan, eds., Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations (Duke University Press, Durham, 1995); Josephine Donovan, “Feminism and the Treatment of Animals: From Care to Dialogue” (2006) 31:2 Signs 305; Carol J. Adams & Josephine Donovan, eds., Beyond Animal Rights: A Feminist Caring Ethic for the Treatment of Animals (Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 1996); Donna Haraway, Primate Visions: Gender, Race and Nature in the World of Modern Science (New York: Routledge, 1988); Donna Haraway, When Species Meet: Posthumanities (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2007); Cary Wolfe, Philosophy and Animal Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008); and Cary Wolfe, Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003). ← 199 | 200 →


When violence against animals is looked at seriously it is primarily for its predictive value regarding violence against humans. This is especially so in the case of domestic violence where it is has been shown that men who abuse their female partners threaten or assault their partners’ companion animals as a tool of terror against the human females. Caroline Forell, Using a Jury of Her Peers to Teach About the Connection Between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse (2008) 15:1 Animal Law 53 at 55; Frank Ascione et al., Battered Pets and Domestic Violence: Animal Abuse Reported by Women Experiencing Intimate Violence and by Nonabused Women in (2007) 13:4 Violence Against Women 354; Volant et al, The Relationship Between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse (2008) 23:9

Journal of Interpersonal Violence 1277. These studies form part of the progression thesis in criminology generally where it is contended that individuals who abuse individual animals are more likely to be violent. For more on this thesis see Piers Beirne, Is There a Progression from Animal Abuse to Interhuman Violence in Confronting Animal Abuse: Law, Criminology, and Human-Animal Relationships (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009) 165. The issue of domestic violence is critically important, especially since violence against women is also a category of violence that has not been taken seriously. Yet, for those law enforcers that do look at the issue seriously, the violence against animals in the home is mainly of interest for what it reveals to us about violence against humans. On its own, independent of human harm, violence against animals is treated as cruelty and treated leniently. See Francione (1995). 3.

As Razack notes, it is useful to recall that before it became an interrogation center for terror suspects in the 1990s, Guantanamo Bay held Haitian refugees who were declared to pose an HIV threat (pp. 11–12).


Emphasis added.


For more detailed explanation of the race-sex-culture and species system in general, please see Deckha (2008, pp. 251–259).


Bales further notes that this figure only represents 0.0043% of the global population and impacts only a fraction of the global economy at $32 billion. This makes the cessation of all human trafficking a goal without wide-reaching economic implications and thus, Bales argues, something that is achievable in the not-so-distant future (Bales, 2007, pp. 3–4).


See, for example, Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1856) at 1–7, 26–38.


(Identifying information removed). Was this removed on purpose?

References Abu-Lughod, L. (2002). Do Muslim women really need saving: Anthropological reflections on cultural relativism and its others? American Anthropologist, 104, 783–790. Adams, C. J., & Donovan, J. (1996). Beyond animal rights: A feminist caring ethic for the treatment of animals. Indianapolis, IN: University of Indiana Press. Asad, T. (2003). Formations of the secular: Christianity, Islam, modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Bailey, C. (2007). We are what we eat: Feminist vegetarianism and the reproduction of racial identity. Hypatia, 22, 39–59. ← 200 | 201 → Bakht, N. (2005, April). Were Muslim barbarians really knocking on the gates of Ontario: The religious arbitration controversy – another perspective. Ottawa Law Review, 67–82. Bales, K. (2007). Ending slavery: How we free today’s slaves. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Bales, K., & Cornell, R. (2008). Slavery today. New York, NY: Groundwork Books. Bowe, J. (2008). Modern American slave labor and the dark side of the new global economy. New York, NY: Random House. Bulliet, R. W. (2008). Hunters, herders, and hamburgers: The past and future of human-animal relationships. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Deckha, M. (2008). Intersectionality and posthumanist vision of equality. Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society, 23, 249–267. Derby, C. N. (2009). Contemporary slavery: Researching child domestic servitude. New York, NY: University Press of America. Dua, E. (2007). Exploring articulations of race and gender: Going beyond singular categories. In S. P. Hier & B. S. Bolaria (Eds.), Race & racism in 21st century Canada: Continuity, complexity, and change (pp. 175– 196). Ontario: Broadview Press. Finelli, M., & Mason, J. (2006). Brave new farm? In P. Singer (Ed.), In defense of animals: The second wave (pp. 104–122). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Fox, M. (2004). Rethinking kinship: Law’s construction of the animal body. Current Legal Problems, 57, 464–486. Francione, G. (1995). Animals, property and the law. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Francione, G. (2006). Taking sentience seriously. Journal of Animal Law and Ethics, 1, 1–18. Fuss, D. (1996). Introduction: Human, all too human. In D. Fuss (Ed.), Human, all too human (pp. 1–8). New York, NY: Routledge. Griffin, E. (2007). Blood sport: Hunting in Britain since 1066. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Howe, A. (1995). White Western feminism meets international law: Challenges/complicity, erasures/encounters. Australian Feminist Law Journal, 4, 63–91. Isaacs-Blundin, C. (2007). Why manure may be the farm animal advocate’s best friend: Using environmental statutes to access factory farms. Journal of Animal Law and Ethics, 2, 173–188. Kapur, R. (2005). Erotic justice: Law and the new politics of postcolonialism. London: Glasshouse Press. Kapur, R. (2006). Human rights in the 21st century: Take a walk on the dark side. Sydney Law Review, 28, 665–688. Kheel, M. (2008). Nature ethics: An ecofeminist perspective. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Kochi, T. (2009). Species war: Law, violence and animals. Law, Culture and the Humanities, 5, 353–369. LeDuff, C. (2003). At a slaughterhouse, some things never die. In C. Wolfe (Ed.), Zoontologies: The question of the animal (pp. 183–198). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Letourneau, L. (2003). Toward animal liberation? The new anti-cruelty provisions in Canada and their impact on the status of animals. Alberta Law Review, 40, 1041–1055. ← 201 | 202 →

Luke, B. (2007). Brutal: Manhood and the exploitation of animals. Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press. Marcus, E. (2005). Meat market animals, ethics & money. Boston, MA: Brio Press. Naffine, N. (2009). Law’s meaning of life: Philosophy, religion, Darwin and the legal person. Portland, OR: Hart Publishing. Nedelsky, J. (1993). Property in potential life? A relational approach to choosing legal categories. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 6, 343–365. Oliver, K. (2009). Animal lessons: How they teach us to be human. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Patterson, C. (2002). Eternal treblinka: Our treatment of animals and the holocaust. New York: Lantern Books. Pollan, M. (2002, November 10). An animal’s place, New York Times Magazine, pp. 58. Razack, S. (1998). Looking white people in the eye: Gender, race and culture in courtrooms and classrooms. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Razack, S. (2007). Casting out: The eviction of Muslims from western law & politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Sapp, G. (2008). Book review of Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin’s sacred cause: How a hatred of slavery shaped Darwin’s views on evolution. Library Journal, 133, 156. Scarpa, M. D. (2003). Incarceration or contemporary slavery. Nashville, TN: Tennessee State University. Scarpa, S. (2008). Trafficking in human beings: Modern slavery. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Scholsser, E. (2001). Fast food nation. New York, NY: Harper Perennial. Shevelow, K. (2009). For the love of animals: The rise of the animal protection movement. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Company. Wolch, J., & Emel, J. (1998). Animal geographies: Place, politics, and identity in the nature-culture borderlands. London: Verso. Wolfe, C. (2003a). Animal rites: American culture, the discourse of species, and posthumanist theory. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Wolfe, C. (2003b). Zoontologies: The question of the animal. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

← 202 | 203 →


Animal Advocates for Prison and Slave Abolition A Transformative Justice Approach to Movement Politics for an End to Racism ANTHONY J. NOCELLA II

Introduction to Racism in the Animal Advocacy Movement Within the animal advocacy movement and critical animal studies, there is frequent discussion of and engagement around concepts and terms such as intersectionality, total liberation, alliance politics, and solidarity. Despite this rhetoric, there is very little actual leadership participation by animal advocacy movements within other movements. I remember the first time I confronted pure deliberate racism in the animal advocacy movement. In early 2000, I had posted an e-mail on a listserve for action in defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political prisoner and journalist in Pennsylvania (Abu-Jamal, 2009). A respondent was shocked and offended that I posted it. However, her issue was not that I was attempting to gather support for a convicted murderer (a murder of which many people think he is not guilty). No, she was offended because he is black. She also made a number of offensive racial comments against Abu-Jamal. Little did I consider that the animal advocacy movement is a microcosm of US society, and that animal advocacy has only recently been accepted as a social justice movement. Similarly, a few years ago on Facebook, I witnessed animal advocates argue that Michael Vick, a professional football player who was

convicted in 2007 of conspiring to engage in competitive dog fighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting, and conducting ← 203 | 204 → the enterprise across state lines, should be tortured just as his abused dogs were tortured. Such suggestions were followed by offensive remarks by white animal advocates. These white advocates stated that the African-American community supports gangs and dog fighting and that hip-hop promotes violence. These sweeping judgments and general maligning of African-Americans alerted me that the racism I had observed in the early 2000s still exists in the animal advocacy movement today. Moreover, just because animal advocates are working toward nonhuman animal liberation, does not mean they advocate for human liberation or a total liberation. Even though Vick easily became the animal advocate’s public enemy number one, the animal liberation/rights movement has a pattern of accepting the leadership of former animal abusers. Former cattle ranchers and vivisectors (former animal abusers) who are white have become leaders of the animal advocacy movement. This is not to say it is inherently wrong for these former abusers to become leaders, but this would hardly happen with Michael Vick, although the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) did try to work with him, albeit with little success. In other words, we as a movement can be forgiving, but we must look at the selectivity of our forgiveness. Of course, it should be noted that Vick was convicted of a crime and the animal-abusers-turned-advocates were not. Further, the latter made a choice to walk away from their professions, while Vick was forced to stop engaging in dog fighting because of the criminal justice system and a lot of bad press. Although he did his time and made an attempt to work with HSUS, people would not accept Vick as an animal advocate. This is somewhat understandable, for people in prison are rarely given the opportunity to personally transform, so the public assumes that the person who goes to incarceration is the same person who will come out, maybe even worse off. Again, prisoners are most often warehoused in the prison industrial complex to be punished, not provided resources, space, and place to transform. Alternatives can exist. Let us not forget Malcolm X. Although jailed for many crimes, he transformed himself in prison, and later became one of the most well respected social justice leaders in history (Haley & X, 1965). However, we must offer transformative resources to all people inside and outside of prisons, but first we, as animal activists and scholars, must accept that people do change. For almost thirty years, the modern animal advocacy movement ignored issues of social justice such as racism, sexism, poverty, homophobia, and disability. Only with the emergence of feminist theory and ecofeminism in the 1970s did animal advocates begin to theorize the linkages between speciesism, sexism and patriarchy (Adams, 1990). Of course, connections between women’s and animal’s oppression were being made as early as the nineteenth century through the work of Anna Kingsford and other suffragettes against vivisection. However, it was not until the latter ← 204 | 205 → part of the next

millennium that these connections were made in a way that would have more lasting influence, which challenged sexism in society and the movement. When animal advocates join other movements merely to convert others to veganism, this does not lead to total liberation, alliance politics, or solidarity; rather, it is a manipulative, coercive, and exploitive strategy that ignores the interconnected nature of oppressions. Simultaneously working to end both racism and speciesism is difficult, but it is essential that social justice activists and organizers do both because to eliminate one without the other, from an intersectional perspective, is impossible. All oppressions are interwoven and entangled in complex systems of domination which must each be eliminated. When one person or nonhuman animal is oppressed, all others are likewise oppressed. It is thus fruitless to engage in oppression Olympics (Martínez, 1993) politics, that is, claiming one oppression more real or worse than other. Doing so simply ends up marginalizing individuals and dividing the very movements that most need unity. Just as speciesism underlies the agriculturalindustrial complex, racism underlies the US criminal justice system and prison–industrial complex. If the animal advocacy movement claims to be a social justice movement, it needs to begin addressing racism along with other forms of oppression. One easy way for animal advocates to challenge racism is to support prison abolition and engage in true total liberation and justice for all. In a recent article entitled The Top 10 Most Startling Facts About People of Color and Criminal Justice in the United States, Sophia Kerby (2012) provides ten details that explain why the current criminal justice system is racist. They include: 1. While people of color make up about 30% of the United States’ population, they account for 60% of those imprisoned. 2. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. 3. Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated. 4. According to recent data by the Department of Education, African-American students are arrested far more often than their white classmates. 5. African-American youth have higher rates of juvenile incarceration and are more likely to be sentenced to adult prison. 6. As the number of women incarcerated has increased by 800% over the last three decades, women of color have been disproportionately represented. 7. The war on drugs has been waged primarily in communities of color where people of color are more likely to receive higher offenses.

8. Once convicted, black offenders receive longer sentences compared to white offenders. ← 205 | 206 → 9. Voter laws that prohibit people with felony convictions from voting disproportionately impact men of color. 10. Studies have shown that people of color face disparities in wage trajectory following release from prison (Kerby, 2012). These ten facts exemplify the reality that discussions about race in the United States must address the criminal justice system. People who do not consider the criminal justice system when analyzing race avoid the topic for two reasons: (1) they are not aware or are not educated about the direct connection between the school system and the criminal justice system, and/or (2) they do not want to offend or cause conflict with their audience or those who fund their work and institutions. Moreover, many reformists do not speak the truth about racism for fear of losing the support of those in power (administrators, bureaucrats, politicians) who control our cultural systems. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against waiting for justice and taking the slow path toward equity in his book Why We Can’t Wait. King wrote, “The bell of man’s inhumanity to man does not toll for any one man. It tolls for you, for me, for all of us. Somehow God gave me the power to transform the resentments, the suspicions, the fears and the misunderstanding I found that week into faith and enthusiasm. I spoke from my heart, and out of each meeting came firm endorsements and pledges of participation and support” (Washington, 1991, p. 540). It has been through my relationships with prisoners and youth in detention that I have gained a true understanding of the reality of the interconnection between prisons and racism. The two issues must be dealt with together, regardless of format: event, lecture, writing project, or organization.

Prison Abolition = Slave Abolition After hundreds of years, de jure slavery officially ended in 1865 with passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. However, de facto slavery still exists because the Thirteenth Amendment allows for institutional slavery if an individual is duly convicted of a crime. The Thirteenth Amendment benefited Northern whites by removing slaves from plantations and putting them into factories. This neo-slavery afforded northern industrialists cheap/free labor within the prison system and allowed for the success of the Industrial Revolution. Thus, to suggest that the slave-free North of the nineteenth century was morally superior to the slavery—supporting South is fallacious. Auburn Prison in Auburn, New York was the first modern prison designed to hold many prisoner-slaves who were forced into factory work. Auburn—part prison, part factory—still exists today, and it was the first prison I worked in as a volunteer ← 206 | 207 → with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP). Although there were well-

meaning slavery abolitionists in the North, the Union military and government wanted to defeat the South forces not to end slavery, but to foster industrial growth. Union leaders understood that free slaves would presumably move North. If their battle had been altruistic, they would have banned all forms of slavery rather than imbricate it into the Thirteenth Amendment. Therefore, individuals imprisoned in the United States have not been only stripped of their right to vote, but of their citizenship, as they are now recognized as slaves and are property of the State. Lest anyone wonder if slavery has really been abolished, they must surely see that it has simply been reframed as the prison–industrial complex. Neo-slavery is profitable for many companies, including the private companies that imprison them. In 21st Century Chain Gangs, Steve Fraser and Joshua B. Freeman (2012) note that today’s prisons are becoming privatized with the aid of the Corrections Corporation of America and G4S (formally Wackenhut), who contract out prisoners for cheap labor (between 0.93 cents and 4.73 dollars per day) (Fraser & Freeman, 2012) to make computers, furniture, and clothing, to secure phone reservations, and run slaughterhouses and dairy farms. Many corporations contract labor with these private prisons including Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM (Fraser & Freeman, 2012). Consequently, any person who supports the current US criminal justice system also supports capitalism and slavery.

Anti-racist Animal Advocates for Prison Abolition With the rise of animal advocacy as an intersectional social justice cause, advocates need to address what should be done with those who illegally abuse nonhuman animals. This question is critical for those anti-racist animal advocates because, as noted above, anyone who opposes racism and slavery must also oppose prisons and the current criminal justice system. Therefore, anti-racist animal advocates should not support the conviction, sentencing, and incarceration of those who abuse nonhuman animals. While many individuals and organizations advocate for harsh prison sentences for animal abusers, this in effect promotes slavery, a social injustice that is inherently connected to mainstream views of nonhuman animals as products and machinery. With so many organizations and individuals supporting the current criminal justice system, the same system that labels animal advocates as terrorists, it must be asked: Why do we support such an oppressive, repressive, violent structure? The answer is simple. Many animal advocates fail to critique the criminal justice system because they do not understand that the criminal justice system and ← 207 | 208 → the oppression of nonhuman animals are interrelated. Just as nonhuman animals are cheap labor and are often property of the State, so too are human prisoners. Beyond just providing free labor to corporations, prisoners are also forced to work in slaughterhouses and on dairy farms. Finally, the criminal justice system protects the very corporations that animal advocates protest and boycott. Animal advocates’ protests and boycotts, once

protected under the First Amendment, are now considered illegal and a domestic terrorist threat under laws such as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) (Best & Nocella, 2006). Those activists who adopt such once-legal tactics now frequently find themselves arrested, charged, and convicted as criminals and sometimes even as terrorists. As a result, many animal advocates have begun to educate themselves about political repression and unjust laws such as the AETA, but many still support the current US justice system via their calls for the imprisonment of nonhuman animal abusers.

Building Alternatives Actively renouncing and resisting racism, slavery, and the criminal justice system does make being an animal advocate that much more complex, but this is what is needed if we are to be effective critical animal studies scholars, social justice activists, and allies with people of color. Any person who is antiracist has a duty to aid in the abolition of all prisons. Therefore, before advocates call for imprisonment of nonhuman animal abusers, they need to think about alternative justice systems rather than punitive retributive punishments. Transformative justice addresses social injustices, while advocates for education, healing, accountability, and responsibility (Nocella, 2011). Anti-racists in the United States must target three major cultural institutions: (1) the criminal justice system, (2) the economic corporate capitalist system, and (3) the academic industrial complex. The social side effects of these two institutions are homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, bankruptcy, hunger, illiteracy, public assistance, elevated high school dropout rates, gangs, and domestic violence. Too often people get caught up in addressing these issues from a reformist approach, while never addressing the larger systems of domination through which reform is instituted. It is important as good organizers to recognize and search for alternatives to these institutions that we critique. Hence, people should promote a transformative justice system rather than the punitive system that is currently in place, offering nothing more than prison sentences, probation, and the death penalty (Nocella, 2011). A transformative justice system is a holistic process that brings people together in a non-adversarial manner in the form of mediation, arbitration, or community circles (Morris, 2000). The process also addresses sociopolitical and ← 208 | 209 → economic injustices, while making sure that all people involved take responsibility and have decision-making power on the final resolution of the conflict. The alternative to the current economic corporate capitalist structure is an economic system that promotes equity, social justice, mutual aid, collaboration, community-based interest, and protection of the individual. One such economic system is anarchist economics, about which I have co-edited The Accumulation of Freedom: Writings on Anarchist Economics (Shannon, Nocella, & Asimakopoulos, 2012). Both alternative institutional models are embedded in a challenge to domination and a promotion

of respect for all living beings. These models are not perfect, nor are they fully developed, but they are enlightened alternatives supported by many people in social justice communities around the world. Thus, when we see offenses such as animal abuse in our community, we should develop an opportunity to transform, heal, take accountability and responsibility, and address injustices, instead of looking to the government to convict, sentence, and punish offenders. Society must begin to look for more just, peaceful, and inclusive justice processes, rather than perpetuating a violent retributive justice system rooted in racism and structured to maintain modern day slavery.

References Abu-Jamal, M. (2009). Jailhouse lawyers. Prisoners defending prisoners v. the U.S.A. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books. Adams, C. (1990). The sexual politics of meat: A feminist-vegetarian critical theory. New York, NY: Continuum. Best, S., & Nocella II, A. J. (2006). Igniting a revolution: Voices in defense of the Earth. Oakland, CA: AK Press. Fraser, S., & Freeman, J. B. (2012). 21st century chain gangs. Retrieved from ( Haley, A., & X. M. (1965). The autobiography of Malcolm X. New York, NY: Grove Press. Kerby, S. (2012). The Top 10 most startling facts about people of color and criminal justice in the United States. Retrieved from ( Martínez, E. (1993). Beyond black/white: The racisms of our times. Social Justice, 20(1/2), 22–34. Morris, R. (2000). Stories of transformative justice. Toronto, CA: Canadian Scholar’s Press. Nocella II, A. J. (2011). An overview of the history and theory of transformative justice. Peace & Conflict Review, 6(1), 1–10. Shannon, D., Nocella II, A. J., & Asimakopoulos, J. (2012). The accumulation of freedom: Writing on anarchist economics. Oakland, CA: AK Press. Washington, J. M. (1991). A testament of hope: The essential writings and speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ← 209 | 210 →

← 210 | 211 →

Part V Gender ← 211 | 212 →

← 212 | 213 →


“Most Farmers Prefer Blondes” The Dynamics of Anthroparchy in Animals Becoming Meat ERIKA CUDWORTH

My visit to the Royal Smithfield Show, one of the largest events in the British farming calendar, reminded me of the gendering of agricultural animals. Upon encountering one particular stand in which there were three pale honey-colored cows (with little room for themselves), some straw, a bucket of water, and Paul, a farmer’s assistant. Two cows were lying down while the one in the middle stood and shuffled. Each cow sported a chain around her neck with her name on it. The one in the middle was named “Erica.” Above the stand was a banner that read, “Most farmers prefer Blondes,” a reference to the name given to this particular breed, the Blonde D’Aquitaine. The Blonde D’Aquitaine has been produced through rigorous selective breeding in order to obtain a “good looking” and easily managed farmed animal. Cows occupy a particular place in a typology of species in which different kinds of animals are assigned to different groups. These groups are distinguished by different formations of human–animal relationships. Drawing on Ted Benton’s (1993) useful categorization, I consider that animals can be construed as “wild” (in conditions of limited incorporation with humans); used as a labor force; used for entertainment or edification; installed as household companions; employed as symbols; and consumed as food (Cudworth, 2003, pp. 165–166). Shifts in forms of “pet keeping” and in representations of animals

have led some to argue for significant change—a postmodernization of human animal relations (Franklin, 1999). By this, they infer ← 213 | 214 → that in “modern,” Western, relatively wealthy regions of the globe “the categorical boundary between humans and animals…has been seriously challenged, if not dismantled in places” (Franklin, 1999, p. 3) and that there is an increase in respect and affection for a wider range of animals. However, for most people in such regions, the main relationship with animals is one of objectification—animals are expendable resources, eaten as meat. The farming of animals has long been, and continues to be, the most significant social formation of human–animal relations. Human animal relations are not postmodernized, and in terms of concrete social practices, humans and animals rarely have close affinities (as suggested in the fantasies of theorists such as Deleuze & Guattari, 1987). Rather, the largest animal populations in the West, those used for “food,” are caught in relations of human dominion that involve their exploitation and oppression. From conception until death, the lives of these animals are shaped by their location as potential food, and billions of animals are transformed into a multiplicity of “meat products” each year. This chapter investigates the processes and practices through which agricultural animals become meat and it will argue that alongside the “naturing” of animal agriculture and meat and dairy production, these processes and practices are socially intersectionalized. In feminism, this term intersectionality (McCall, 2005) has been used to describe the way in which relations between gender and “race” do not just overlap, but are changed by their mutual influence. For example, women who are not white are not necessarily more oppressed or socially excluded, but differently situated, particularly when other factors such as geographic location, class, age, faith, sexuality, etc. are also included. In human–animal studies, there are some well-known attempts to consider the ways in which our relations with nonhuman animals have been shaped by gender, for example, studies which looks at cultures of meat eating (Adams, 1990; Donovan, 2006; Donovan & Adams, 1996). This paper is interested in the political economy of meat production and concentrates on the ways “livestock” farming; slaughtering and butchery are constituted through gender relations. There are three ways in which the gendered process of animals becoming meat might be identified. First, meat animals may be disproportionately female, or bred for specifically gendered attributes which might correspond to patriarchal constructions of masculinities and femininities. Second, animals might be feminized metaphorically by workers within the industry. Third, forms

of human control of animal fertility, sexuality, and reproduction in modern British farming practice may be gendered. I see the political economy of meat production as a key social form in which certain species of nonhuman animal are exploited and oppressed. In turn, it is part of a wider system, the domination of nature. It is here that I will begin, proceeding to show how meat production exemplifies the domination of animals-as-nature and the ways in which this is shaped by patriarchy and capitalism. ← 214 | 215 →

Entanglements: Gender and the Domination of Animals-asNature I have long been interested in the coalescing of different forms of social domination based on inclusive/exclusive social practices such as those around gender, class, and ethnicity. In trying to understand gender relations, I have thought it necessary to defend the use of a concept of patriarchy. While “sexism” refers (albeit critically) to practices of discrimination on the basis of gender, the concept of “gender relations” is politically neutral. The strength of the concept patriarchy is that it refers to a system of complex interrelationships in which women are oppressed by men (Cudworth, 2005, pp. 8–9, also Walby, 1990). Patriarchy contains both a critical politics and enables us to see gender relations as having regular features or patterns. I have also been attracted to complexity theory in order to make sense of the intermeshing of social systems as both distinct and interrelated with others, such as capitalism, ethnocentrism, colonialism, and so forth. I have sought a similar concept to understand human relations with nonhuman animals specifically, and with “nature” more generally. I have developed the term “anthroparchy” to capture the social ordering of human relations to the “environment.” Anthroparchy literally means “human domination,” and I see anthroparchy as a social system, a complex and relatively stable set of relationships in which the “environment” is dominated through formations of social organization which privilege the human (Cudworth, 2005, pp. 63–71, 2007, pp. 351–357). I consider that anthroparchy has certain advantages over other possible terms such as “anthropocentrism” and “speciesism.” The term anthropocentrism has been deployed by deep ecologists (such as Devall, 1999; Naess, 1989) to describe societies which are organized around a principle of “human-centrism.” However, I consider that centrism is too weak a term politically to capture some of the severity of violence and exploitation involved, and a term

implying domination is to be preferred. “Speciesism” has long been used by those concerned with the exploitative treatment of nonhuman animals (Singer, 1990). It has been linked to other forms of discrimination, such as that based on gender, in interesting and complex ways (Dunayer, 2004). However, it suggests a practice, a kind of behavior and is a parallel term to those describing other undesirable practices, such as racism, sexism, and class discrimination. We do not (just) live in societies which discriminate against nonhuman species. Rather, we live in societies which are organized around a species hierarchy, a hierarchy in which the needs, desires, interests, and even whims of human beings shape the kinds of relationships we are likely to have with nonhuman species. What is dominated, in an anthroparchal society, is the “environment” and this can be defined as the nonhuman animate world and its contexts—including ← 215 | 216 → the whole range of multifarious animal and plant species. While there are incredible differences between and among these phenomena, I group them by biological referent—their being both nonhuman and “live” (manifesting properties of metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli; see Capra, 1996). In societies structured around relations of human domination, the complex and highly diversified nonhuman animate lifeworld is homogenized as “nature,” as “Other” to the human. “Nature,” as applied to nonhuman animals, is a socially constituted category with the physical referent of species difference. Human relations with other species are constituted by and through social institutions and processes and these can be seen as sets of relations of power and domination. These interrelate to form a social system of natured domination—anthroparchy. Human domination may assume different forms and operate to a differing extent around the planet. Thus anthroparchy involves different forms and practices of power: oppression, exploitation, and marginalization. I use these terms to indicate distinct degrees (extent) and levels (amount) at which social domination operates, and also the different formations it assumes within which only some species and spaces may be implicated. For example, animals closer to humans in biology and sentiency can experience oppression, such as nonhuman great apes used for “research” in laboratories or for exhibited for human entertainment in zoos. Other species may not be implicated in anthroparchal relations, but exist in symbiosis, such as the biota in the human gut, for example. Different oppressive forms apply to different species due to their specific characteristics and normative behaviors such as the presence of sociality and the ways in which this presents itself. Exploitation refers to the use of some being, space or entity as a resource for human ends, and one might speak of the exploitation of the properties of soils, woodland or the

labor power of domesticated animals in agriculture, for example. Marginalization is most broadly applicable, referring to human centrism. In addition, nonhuman “nature” has its own properties and powers which can be exercised in specific situations, which operate within/across/alongside anthroparchal networks of relations. In turn, the structure of human social organization, involving the exploitation of the environment, implicates human communities, practices, and institutions within ecological systems. However, natural systems, for example, tidal flows and a host of weather patterns may have considerable impacts on the ability of people to dominate their environments (see Latour, 2001). Some may feel the term “human domination” is strong, but as it is an intersected system it does not mean that all humans, in all places are in a position to dominate their environments, nor that all humans engage in exploitative and oppressive practices all of the time. The existence of other systems of social domination, of colonialism, patriarchy, and capitalism, for example, means that ← 216 | 217 → some groups of us are positioned in more potentially exploitative relations than others. In addition, individuals and collectivities choose not to exercise potential powers of domination and exclusion and also to contest them. I suggest that five arenas network to form a social system of anthroparchy. First, production relations, that is, the sets of relations emergent as we interact with nature in order to produce the things we need (food, fuel, etc.). The industrialization of production and market distribution associated with modernity in Europe significantly increased the ecological footprints of certain groups of humans, and the globalizing tendencies of modernity has led to industrialized production being an important formation across much of the globe. The second arena is domestication. Certainly, innovation has characterized human engagements with the environment for millennia, through the breeding of plants and animals. The last two centuries have seen intensification of such processes, especially in the West, for example, reproductive interventions in animal food production. Domestication also operates at the symbolic level, for example, in the distinctions between species that are safely domesticated and those dangerous beings that are not. The third arena is political. Institutions and practices of governance may re/produce or contest and change relations of systemic domination. States and state-like formations, can act as direct or indirect agents of anthroparchy. Examples include subsidizing intensive animal farming or making certain practices unlawful (such as the use of battery cages for laying hens or the hunting of certain non-domestic species such as foxes, dolphins, or eagles). Fourthly, we have systemic violence. For some species, violence can be seen to operate in ways similar to violences affecting

humans. For example, food animals may be terrorized, beaten, raped and killed. Finally, anthroparchal social relations are characterized by cultures of exclusive humanism that construct notions of animality and humanity and other such dichotomies, which encourage certain practices such as animal food consumption. The following sections of this chapter seek to exemplify the notion of anthroparchy as both a system of relations and one which is cross cut by other kinds of relations—those of patriarchy and capitalism. An empirical study of the British meat industry illustrates a specific site in which anthroparchal institutions, processes, and practices may be evidenced and these can also be understood as co-constituted through those of gender and capital.

The Practices and Processes of Animals “Becoming-Meat” This study of the British meat industry included interviews, observation, and textual analysis. Written material produced by the meat industry took the form ← 217 | 218 → of journals, reports, magazines, legislation, government directives, and circulars. Pressure groups campaigning for animal welfare provided information which was utilized where it could be corroborated by my own observation on farms and in abattoirs, or by material from interviews that I undertook with meat inspectors, butchers, meat packers, slaughterhouse staff, farmers, farm animal breeders, and representatives of firms making products and equipment for animal agriculture. This account draws largely on best practices. The farms I visited and farmers I interviewed were largely beef and dairy, and all allowed their animals to graze (i.e., a “free range” system), supplemented by a predominantly vegetarian diet. I declined the opportunity to visit an intensive pig farm and to observe the slaughter of pigs and birds, but according to animal welfare groups and those I spoke to in slaughterhouses and farms, these involve some of the worst practice in animal farming. Here, I have relied on accounts provided by animal welfare groups corroborated by comments from those working in the industry, and reports from Government appointed bodies such as the Farm Animal Welfare Council. My access to abattoirs was facilitated by the Local Authority Meat Inspectorate. A Senior Inspector admitted that what I observed was more considerate and careful work than would usually be the case: There shouldn’t be that number of animals in the lairage. They’ll do thirty nice and slow while we’re here then whack another thirty through when we’ve gone.

“Just Machines Really”: Animals as Natured Objects Farm animals are constituted as entities which become meat through a discourse of natured objectification. European Union countries adopt the same legal definition of a domesticated agricultural animal as outlined in the Treaty of Rome wherein they are “agricultural products.” For example, in regulatory narratives, animals constitute standard units of “parity”: “1 bovine, horse or deer, 0.33 swine and 0.15 sheep or goat will be equivalent to one livestock unit” (Statutory Instruments, 1991). However, farm animals are also capable of experiencing physical pain and mental anguish. They may demonstrate “stereotyped” (pointless, repetitive) and violent behaviors (killing young, attacking peers) when denied opportunity to engage in activities biologically normative to their species: caring for young, company of adults of the same species, adequate diet, exercise, play, sex, and various species specific behavior (dust-bathing for hens, foraging for pigs). In intensive agriculture, lives are particularly “nasty, brutish and short.” Most chickens are reared in large numbers (40,000–80,000 birds per unit) in windowless sheds called broilers. They live less than seven weeks, fed on a high protein diet that ← 218 | 219 → rapidly increases their weight, putting strain on limbs and organs and leading to 60,000 dying daily from disease, deformity, and stress. Toward the end of their lives they are packed tightly, unable to move around on their contaminated litter, which burns them when they rest and in which rats, flies and maggots thrive. Laying hens in battery systems (used by 75% of egg producers within the European Union) are kept five to a cage measuring eighteen by twenty inches. They cannot spread their wings, their feet grow deformed from standing on wire mesh floors and lack of exercise means they suffer brittle bones and a fatty liver. The frustration associated with this environment may lead hens to pecking cage mates and to prevent this, many are “debeaked.” “Free range” describes a variety of systems and practices where hens have access to outside runs. These may allow limited exercise, involve large groups and offer chickens no protective cover from the predators they fear, or at the other end of the spectrum may be smaller scale and on a woodland pastoral model. Free range chickens are slaughtered between three and four months. In nonintensive systems, where farmers may see the animals over some months, there may be some element of human compassion. My interviews with dairy farmers found some genuinely troubled that the animals they maintained had such “boring lives.” This was a minority view among farmers as a whole, they suggested, and absent from factory production. When I asked an ex-battery farmer what he felt about chickens, he said he found them “stupid and noisy. Can’t have a relationship with them

—they’re just egg-producing machines really. Anyway, they’re not worth much and they don’t last very long.” Pig farming is around 80% highly intensive. British sows are confined in farrowing crates prior to and after birthing, unlike those in intensive farms in other European Union countries, who spend most of their time in metal crates with boars kept in small pens. In all cases, piglets are fattened in pens and small runs with no bedding and nothing to do. The day after birth, piglets have teeth and tails “clipped” to prevent “vices,” such as knawing the mother’s teats and biting off tails of penmates, caused by the stress of living in a barren, overcrowded environment. After two weeks the piglets are separated from their mothers, packed into flat deck cages and hot rooms with slatted floors and they are graded according to sex and size. Once grown a little, the pigs are moved to overcrowded fattening pens. In their short lives (18–24 weeks) these animals will see nothing outside the factory, have been deprived of exercise, and had no opportunity to play. This small, dull, stressful existence can only be understood as such if pigs are accepted as sentient animals with species requirements, rather than as becoming-meat. Animals in less intensive systems still have radically foreshortened and difficult lives. Beef cattle are fattened quickly and slaughtered below the age of eighteen months; dairy cattle are usually slaughtered by six or seven years of age when ← 219 | 220 → their productivity reduces. The cows’ natural lifespan is thirty years. Most beef and dairy cattle are reared on a free range system, but some farmers are turning to semi-intensive housing and keep cattle inside over winter. Although there are battery lamb farms in Britain, most sheep live outside. This creates different problems, with three million lambs dying each year from cold or starvation due to what even the industry will admit is inadequate stockmanship. Most are five months old when slaughtered, although breeding females may be kept for up to five years, which is still significantly less than the potential twelve or fourteen year lifespan. Systems of social domination do shift and change. There have, for example, been moves to remove some of the cruel practices associated with intensive farming, such as the removal of sow stalls, allowing sows to socialize until heavily pregnant, and a pending ban on the use of battery cages by 2012 in Western European Union countries. However, these changes only ameliorate some severely oppressive instances of a system which is based on the exploitation of animals as food. Whether intensively farmed or not, all “meat” animals are transported to slaughter in conditions of extreme discomfort for long periods—tightly packed, and subject to overheating, suffocation and crushing. Sheep are easily alarmed, and heart attacks resulting in death or

paralysis are common. Such moribund animals are sent to the knackers’ yard, those already dead are thrown in pet food bins. As a lower price is paid per animal if it is not killed in the usual manner, farmers have a vested interest in getting as many of the animals “who can still walk” to slaughter as possible. Physical violence permeates the processes of slaughter and animals are regularly treated in an aggressive manner, but the most obvious violences in meat production are endemic rather than incidental: the stunning and killing (“sticking”) of animals. Cattle are stunned by a captive bolt pistol administering a bullet which penetrates the brain. If the animal moves its head, or the bolt is placed incorrectly, a second shot is used. Cattle are inquisitive, used to being handled and most enter the stunning pen willingly. While no unease could be found in the slaughtermen, meat inspectors often do not like to see animals killed. The farmers I spoke with preferred not to talk about slaughter, but a number seemed to take heart from contemporary stunning techniques. These techniques however, are not as effective for pigs, sheep, and goats, whom are stunned by electrical tongs that are regularly applied for a few seconds rather than the required seven. According to both animal welfare groups and the Official Veterinary Service, many animals are immobilized but remain sensitive to pain and may recover full consciousness. Pigs, for example, may reach the scalding tank conscious, and die from drowning (Tyler, 1990, p. 4), despite having had an electric shock and their throat slit. Similarly, birds often rise in the shackles by which they are confined, “flying” over the electrified water bath and reaching the automatic knife conscious. ← 220 | 221 →

Good Mothers and Stroppy Cows: Animals as Gendered Objects Agricultural animals are gendered in two ways. First, farm animals tend to be female—being the most useful profit maximizers as they produce feminized protein (eggs and dairy products) and reproduce young, as well as becoming meat themselves. Egg production is the clearest example of this as male chicks are destroyed soon after birth and female birds are transformed into super eggproducers by genetic interference which ensures their eggs are infertile and frequent. Second, farm animals are constructed in ways resembling human gender dichotomies. Breed journals, for instance, indicate that genetics are manipulated to produce attractive, docile “good mothers,” and “virile,” strong, “promiscuous” males. The dairy industry is also based on reproductive manipulation of female animals. Male offspring, along with most female calves (i.e., those not selected as dairy replacements), will be

sold for beef or veal production so that “If you get a bull, it’s not a complete disaster,” but many male calves are simply shot when days old. Not only is there an attempt to gender farm animals by reproducing females, cattle are also bred for characteristics which conform to patriarchal discourses of domesticated femininity. My dairy farmers noted that cattle are inquisitive, following people for amusement, investigating unfamiliar places, but on farms “their lives are so boring,” and placid breeds are sought because they are disinclined to be difficult (“the last thing you need is a stroppy cow”). The ideal cow has “a friendly personality” is “affectionate,” not “independent or willful,” and is “a good mother.” Cattle are selected via trade exhibitions or through breed catalogues. In beef cattle, there are three considerations. All breeds are monitored according to weight gain, mothering instinct, reproductive ease and meat value and are marketed accordingly. Breeders map family trees of certain herds and determine the hereditability of each desirable trait. The Blonde d’Aquitaine, is held to have particularly docile cows and “promiscuous” bulls, as well as “good fleshing,” and breeders argue they are also popular for their “pleasing” appearance. The natured and gendered evaluation of cattle as potential meat is reflected at agricultural shows, where “best of breeds” are groomed, paraded around a ring and judged on their appearance. The final part of the evaluation, however, comes when a number of the best of a breed are selected and slaughtered to enable butchers to select the “winning” carcass. The lamb industry is similarly premised on the manipulation of reproduction. Although male sheep are useful for both wool and meat, females are also useful as reproductive machines, and farms require few males. Female sheep selected for breeding must produce as many offspring as possible, and in the last twenty years reproductive technology has enabled two lambing periods. On farms in South ← 221 | 222 → East England, ewes now have reproduction synchronized via use of chemicals and vaginal sponges to concentrate lambing periods, and fertilization takes place by artificial insemination with pedigree selection (The Sheep Farmer, 1994, p. 12). As with cattle, breeding is gendered and natured, with animals selected according to natured characteristics of good meat and gendered characteristics of temperament and good mothering/birthing. Pork is one of the cheapest meats due to the “efficiency” of the industry, premised on absolute control of reproduction. In the predominantly intensive system, breeding sows are kept in stalls in which they are unable to turn round or exercise throughout their sixteen and a half week pregnancies and often lapse into stereotyped behavior, trying repeatedly to build a nest from nothing. They give birth in farrowing crates (with a concrete, plastic or perforated metal floor and

no bedding). Once piglets are born, the mother cannot see them properly and this often results in sows becoming frightened of their young or aggressive due to their biting. Piglets would properly be weaned at two months, but are taken away at two weeks, so good mothering is not an overwhelming breed requirement. Fast growth is the essential characteristic. In the case of freerange pig farming, criteria differ for pigs that are bred for gendered as well as natured characteristics. When pigs are raised outdoors, the gendering of breed selection is stronger, as the “Pig Improvement Company” argues, piglets need to be more “durable,” boars more highly sexed and gilts (young sows) docile and motherly, as unlike in the factory farm, mothering on a freerange system is not fully deconstructed. The major agricultural animals in Britain, chickens, cattle, sheep and pigs, are natured Other, bred for meat, eggs, or milk for human consumption. This Other is also gendered, for agricultural animals have a strong tendency to be female—the proportion of females is higher than males because females are more profitable. Gendering can further be seen in the human manipulation of female animals’ fertility and reproduction, wherein animals are forced into constant reproduction. Finally, gendering may be seen in the criteria for the breeding of cattle, sheep, and pigs, in which the different sexes are constructed as having clearly gendered desirable characteristics. It is also worth noting that animals, regardless of sex, are feminized metaphorically by slaughterhouse staff in terms of the use of gendered terms of abuse which are applied to animals (cunt, slag, bitch, dozy cow) used often to hurry them. The animals most likely to be injured in transit to slaughter are breeding females because of damages or weaknesses resultant from continuous reproduction. The ill-health of the “older” breeder animals and their often appalling treatment is corroborated by leading figures in the meat inspectorate (as evidenced in The Meat Hygienist). This suggests that such examples are not exceptional and extreme cases. ← 222 | 223 → Thus while all animals are likely to experience overcrowding, overheating, and fear, it is likely that in the process of slaughter, the most heavily feminized animals—breeders—suffer most.

“It’s a Really Manly Job”: The Gendering of Human Dominance Farming is a male dominated form of employment. In factory farms, labor is almost exclusively male, bar office staff. In farms based on family production, I found that women tend to be involved in subsidiary activities such as running farm shops and “pick-your-own” enterprises. There is a gendered division of labor that prevents women engaging in the heavier manual work, the use of heavy machinery, and certain tasks involving larger animals.

The slaughter industry exhibits patriarchal closure in terms of both the gender segregation of employment and the masculinization of its work culture. According to those who teach the skill at Smithfield market, the largest meat market in London, it takes a “certain kind of person” to slaughter—one who has “disregard for the lives of animals” and who has “got to be callous.” Slaughterhouses operate piece-rate systems, paying staff by output (animals killed), which encourages time saving measures which contribute to animal suffering. Sheep, goats, and pigs are inadequately stunned, aggressive language is used to urge fellow workers to quicken pace, and animals are hurried with goads and sticks. Where women are present, they are segregated into particular areas such as in lightweight meat packing or as local government inspectors in quality control and hygiene. Smithfield is described by men who work there as “a bastion of male dominance.” Slaughtering and cutting at Smithfield is carried out by men, with a few women present as office staff and buyers for catering firms. The market is run by a number of families but no woman has ever been a partner. Constraints on women’s participation in the industry are not solely based on male networking but on the heavily masculinized employment culture. Others suggested that the decline of family business structures may lead to an aggressively masculinized work culture. Animals are killed by men who, in addition to being poorly paid and overwhelmingly white working-class men, are something of a caricature of masculinity. Most slaughtermen have a muscular physique, revealed by sleeveless tee-shirts and vests or often a bare chest. Most carry scabbards of knives. After the first “line” of the day, they are all covered with blood, not just on hands and arms, but splattered over clothing, faces, hair, and eyelashes. My interviews with butchers and meat ← 223 | 224 → packers suggest that despite the low status of butchering and slaughtering, killing and fragmenting animals may be a means of enhancing machismo. Butchering is also overwhelmingly male employment. Women may have an historic presence, often as wives assisting “traditional” butchers in their shops with some processing, such as making sausages, yet they are largely absent from modern meat processing plants and male workers tend to see the work as unsuitable for women. Certainly some meat packers undertake strenuous physical labor, unloading heavy frozen carcasses from container lorries in limited time. Like the slaughtermen, the meat packers were mostly muscular in physique and highly masculine in appearance. The meat packers had a dichotomous conception of gender roles and felt an all-male work environment which required heavy manual labor enhanced their own sense of masculine identity. Thus the institutions and

processes of animals becoming meat are those in which men predominate, a rigid gender segregation of tasks is apparent, and particularly in the case of slaughter and butchery, a highly masculinized work culture can be found.

Sexualization, or “You Can Do It Best with a Sheep” Animal agriculture is premised on the manipulation and exploitation of the reproductive powers of animals. This is constituted through gendered and natured processes involving tight human control of animal fertility, sex and reproduction. For example, to produce milk, cows give birth every year from two years of age. Should they not “come into calf” they will be slaughtered. They are usually impregnated artificially and separated from their calf after a few days, from whence the calf is fed via a tank with rubber teats. In intensive pig farming, men intervene in the reproductive process by determining which boar will be made to have sex with which sow and by inserting the pigs’ penises into the sows with their hands or by obtaining sperm with artificial vaginas and inserting this into sows. Animals’ sexuality and reproductive capacity is appropriated in order to ensure continuity, efficiency, and consistency in the production of milk and meat. The actual killing of cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats is via the slitting of the animal’s throat, followed by a process known as “sticking” wherein a large “boning” knife is “stuck” with some force down into the animal’s chest cavity in order to ensure fast blood loss through the main arteries and full brain death. Slitting and sticking are the crux of slaughter—the point at which animals die. Sticking could be understood as a metaphorically sexualized practice. In sexual slang for example, “boning” is a term for heterosex —the actual physical practice is redolent of machismo, and in the abattoir itself, the task described with heavy sexual connotations. ← 224 | 225 → The sexualization of labor in butchering is also strongly gendered and natured. Butchers work with “products” which are selected on the basis of species membership, are disproportionately female, and are feminized as male workers have a tendency to relieve the monotony of their labor via sexualization of animal carcasses. Sexualized practices can be seen as escapism for men engaged in low status and repetitive work. Yet butchering is an extreme example of a gendered and sexualized form of production. In this heavily masculinized and sexualized employment culture, the natured animal carcass is represented and sometimes treated as a female sexual body.

Conclusion—The Gendered Nature of Becoming-Meat The case of British meat production can be seen to exemplify all three levels at which anthroparchal relations operate. First, marginalization is involved in the definition of certain species of animal as a resource and as a human food. This is a form of human-centrism. Second, the becoming-meat of animals involves material (i.e., physical and economic) oppression and exploitation. Animals can be seen to be oppressed to the extent that they are denied species specific behaviors (such as play and socializing) and are incarcerated or physically harmed. Animals are exploited as a set of resources in the process of their becoming-meat, as exemplified by the utilization, modification and magnification of their reproductive capacity. There is some diversity in the levels of operation of anthroparchal practice. Intensive animal agriculture can be seen as an extreme or strongly oppressive form whereas some kinds of nonintensive production are concerned with animal welfare, albeit within the frame of becoming-meat. Meat production demonstrates a range of anthroparchal arenas and processes. First, it constitutes a specific set of production relations. Second, it is a strong example of the practices of domestication as a means of dominating nonhuman natures. Third, the institutions and practices of governance both reproduce and shift the processes of animals’ becoming-meat. Finally, different forms of violence against animals as nonhuman natures can be seen in the killing and dismemberment of animal bodies, and in some practices associated with reproductive control. As a complex social system, anthroparchy is intersectionalized. In the case of the British meat industry as a site of anthroparchal relations, the intersection of capitalist and patriarchal relations is particularly marked, the latter of which has been the focus of this discussion. The object of domination in the manufacture of meat is patriarchally constituted. As such animals are largely female and are usually feminized in terms of their treatment. Farmers disproportionately breed female animals so they can maximize profit via the manipulation of reproduction. ← 225 | 226 → Female animals that have been used for breeding can be seen to incur the most severe physical violences within the system, particularly at slaughter. Female and feminized animals are bred, incarcerated, raped, killed and cut into pieces, and this tale of becoming-meat is very much a story of commodification. Yet while the production of meat is shaped by relations of capital and patriarchy, it is most clearly a site in which anthroparchal relations cohere as certain kinds of animals are (re)constructed as a range of objects for human consumption.

References Adams, C. J. (1990). The sexual politics of meat: A feminist-vegetarian critical theory. Cambridge: Polity. Benton, T. (1993). Natural relations: Ecology, animal rights and social justice. London: Verso. Capra, F. (1996). The web of life: A new synthesis of mind and matter. London: Harper Collins. Cudworth, E. (2003). Environment and society. London: Routledge. Cudworth, E. (2005). Developing ecofeminist theory: The complexity of difference (pp. 63–70). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Cudworth, E. (2007). Complexity theory and the sociology of natures. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 2(3), 351–358. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). 1730: Becoming-intense, becoming-animal, becoming- imperceptible … A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia (Brian Massumi, Trans., pp. 232–309). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Devall, B. (1999). Simple in means, rich in ends. London: Greenprint. Donovan, J. (2006). Feminism and the treatment of animals: From care to dialogue. Signs, 31(2), 305–329. Donovan, J., & Adams, C. J. (1996). (Eds.). Beyond animal rights: A feminist ethic for the treatment of animals. New York, NY: Continuum. Dunayer, J. (2004). Speciesism. Derwood, MD: Ryce Publishing. Franklin, A. (1999). Animals and modern cultures: A sociology of human-animal relations in modernity. London: Sage. Latour, B. (2001). When things strike back. British Journal of Sociology, 51, 107–123. McCall, L. (2005). The complexity of intersectionality. Signs, 30(3), 171–180. Naess, A. (1989). Ecology, community and lifestyle: Outline of an ecosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. National Sheep Association. (1994, November/December). The Sheep Farmer, 14(3). Singer, P. (1990). Animal liberation (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Avon Books. Statutory Instruments. (1991). No. 984 FOOD: The slaughterhouse (hygiene) and meat inspection (amendment) regulations 1991. London: HMSO. Tyler, A. (1990). Don’t look now: An everyday story of pig slaughter (report for) Animal Aid: Tonbridge, First published in edited form in The Independent, 13th March, 1989. Walby, S. (1990). Theorizing patriarchy. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

← 226 | 227 →


Home Is Where the Food Is Barriers to Vegetarianism and Veganism in the Domestic Sphere KATHRYN ASHER AND ELIZABETH CHERRY

Food is essential to survival, yet there is much more to our consumption than merely meeting physiological needs (Germov & Williams, 2008). Our food choices stem from the complex interplay between biological, nutritional, sociological, and psychological factors (Blades, 2001). Food has a central importance in social life, with social gatherings often organized around eating (Germov & Williams, 2008). Food is also imbued with meanings and symbolism, and is thought to shape our sense of identity (Beardsworth & Keil, 1997). The food system, some argue, may be envisioned as a foundational aspect of human social organization (Beardsworth & Keil, 1997). Indeed, it is hard to point to many other consumer products that influence our social lives to the same extent as food (Cronin, McCarthy, & Collins, 2012). It rings true, then, that humans “eat with the mind as much as with the mouth” (Beardsworth & Keil, 1997, p. 52). Our food habits are social constructions rather than natural phenomena, which makes them amenable to change. While historically food preferences have been viewed as largely impervious to modification, today the speed with which food consumption is shifting is striking (Mennell, 2008). Moving away from a time when vegetarians were seen as mentally ill (Taylor, 2012), modern Western societies with their “menu pluralism” offer especially hospitable conditions for

change, including a move toward limiting animal products (Beardsworth & Keil, 1997). As Beardsworth and Keil (1997) have noted: “[I]n modern and modernizing societies, with ← 227 | 228 → more rapid rates of social change, the exercise of choice between a whole range of contrasting and competing menu principles becomes increasingly possible” (p. 68). Many animal advocacy groups focus their attention on dietary change. High profile U.S. organizations that promote reductions or eliminations of animal products include Compassion Over Killing, Farm Animal Rights Movement, Farm Sanctuary, the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, The Humane League, and Vegan Outreach. Approaches are diverse, ranging from leafleting, food sampling, and video outreach, to undercover investigations, food service campaigns, and humane education. Primarily driven by animal protection concerns, advocates for farmed animals also make the case for a move towards an animal-free diet for health, environmental, and social justice reasons, among others. While the proportion of US adults who adhere to a meat-free diet is small, around 2% (Asher et al., 2014), the animal protection movement also has an interest in supporting the increasing trend toward meat reduction (Cooney, 2014). In this paper, when possible, we differentiate between vegetarian and vegan diets, though the research we review seldom distinguishes between the two. We understand a vegetarian diet to mean avoiding meat, and a vegan diet to be one that precludes meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal products. Throughout, we use the terms vegetarianism and veganism in reference to dietary choices, though we acknowledge that they also have meaning for non-dietary lifestyle decisions. Using data that largely focuses on advocates and their supporters, social movement researchers have tended to concentrate on the paths that facilitate conversion and long-term adherence to vegetarian and vegan diets. For example, initial introductions to vegetarianism or veganism for animal advocacy purposes might come in the form of moral shocks (Jasper & Poulsen, 1995) that result from seeing images or footage of violence toward animals. Once converted, vegetarianism and veganism may be maintained by adopting the diet as part of one’s collective identity (Maurer, 2002), by developing cultural strategies and social support (Cherry, 2006), and/or by having social networks that support it (Cherry, 2015), etc. To complement these perspectives, we seek to better understand the barriers to vegetarianism and veganism. In this paper, we ask: which factors in the domestic sphere serve as barriers to the successful promotion and maintenance of vegetarian and vegan diets? To be effective, a dietary intervention must be designed with an awareness that the consumption of food is used to satisfy a host of

socially determined needs (Charles & Kerr, 1988). One important aspect is the social forces at play in the private sphere, which is why an understanding of the workings of food consumption in domestic life holds potential for informing the work of animal advocates. ← 228 | 229 → We seek to provide a fuller exploration of the domestic roadblocks to vegetarian and vegan conversion in order to complement existing sociological research on vegetarianism, veganism, and animal advocacy. To accomplish this, we engaged in a review of literature on food and domestic life, including literature from sociology of the family, sociology of gender, the sociology of food, and other disciplines. This included reviewing key journals for articles relating to food and domestic life, such as Appetite; Food and Foodways; Food, Culture & Society; and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. We expanded our literature review based on citations found in these journal articles to provide a fuller sense of the literature in this area and to consider other disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. The content of the articles largely limits our findings to the U.S., UK, Australia, and other Western countries where the studies we review were conducted, and also over-represents white, middle-class families led by two parents of the opposite sex. We address these limitations throughout the paper, and we call for more research in this area. We approached our review of the literature through a structuration theory perspective. We view social structures as both constraining and enabling human agency (Bourdieu, 1977; Giddens, 1984), and we follow contemporary sociologists who also consider culture as a constraining and enabling structure (Emirbayer & Goodwin, 1994; Hays, 1994). Thus, in our review of the literature, we attempt to uncover the constraining aspects of the culture and social structure of domestic life to find the roadblocks to vegetarianism and veganism. Social movement studies have largely focused on the agentic, enabling aspects of social networks and subcultures, and in this review, we seek to expand our understanding of the constraints acting upon these dietary practices. Our findings of the barriers to converting to vegetarianism and veganism focuses on family reactions to dietary change, mothers’ roles in providing food for young children, the subordination of women’s food preferences, women’s food provisioning as a form of power, the dynamics of food choice between spouses and significant others, the role of meat in the domestic hierarchy of meals, and race and social class. In reviewing the literature on food sociology in the private sphere and considering implications for future research, this paper will contribute to sociological studies of vegetarianism and veganism, as well as to the work of animal advocates.

Family Members Given that eating is a social activity rather than a solely individual phenomenon (Paisley, Beanlands, Goldman, Evers, & Chappell, 2008), it is no surprise that social influences play a significant role in dietary change (Haverstock & Forgays, ← 229 | 230 → 2012). Researchers have shown that family members serve as such social influences and impact the success (or failure) of dietary modifications (Paisley et al., 2008). In addition to several advocacy books on the subject, sociologists and other academics have written about how to deal with negative reactions from family members (Adams, 2008; Torres & Torres, 2006). Studies have shown families to be particularly unwelcoming of a family member’s adoption of a vegetarian or vegan diet. One qualitative study from the U.S. showed opposition to vegetarianism came most frequently from nuclear family members (Jabs, Sobal, & Devine, 2000). Parents often attempted to dissuade their children from embracing the diet (Jabs et al., 2000)— perhaps perceiving it as a form of rejection—and were at times antagonistic and confrontational, with fathers being particularly put off by the change (Jabs et al., 2000). In a more recent qualitative study, North American vegans reported that the most trying social challenges were negative views about their diet from family members, particularly parents (Hirschler, 2011). Such tensions can ultimately lead to the weakening of a relationship, or even its eventual breakdown (Beardsworth & Keil, 1997; Hirschler, 2011). Likewise, Richard Twine’s (2014) interviews with 40 vegans in the UK uncovered a majority who reported negative responses to their newfound veganism from family and friends. For his participants, “the relationship dimensions of becoming vegan constituted the most difficult part of transition” (p. 624). This, Twine says, requires vegans to have “additional competency that involves skills of emotional and social negotiation” (p. 631). He connects these difficulties to the way omnivores categorize vegans as “killjoys,” a term borrowed from Sara Ahmend’s feminist work, which he uses to conceive of vegans as threatening the dominant happiness order by contesting—whether actively or merely through their very presence—the use of animals for food. According to LuAnne Roth’s (2005) qualitative research in the U.S., family members often perceive the adoption of a vegetarian diet as “deviant, strange, or crazy—a threat to the family’s ‘homeostasis,’ its traditions, and its group identity” (p. 183). Such a strong response, Roth suspects, may stem from a belief that the change in diet was “unpatriotic, un-American, and even downright un-family like” (pp. 187–188). Perceptions that the rejection of animal products is

unpatriotic have also been observed elsewhere (Potts & White, 2008). Roth’s research revealed some overarching patterns of response to a family member’s vegetarianism, including families dismissing the change as temporary, coaxing the family member to eat meat, disputing the rationale for the change, and condemning them for threatening family values. Roth believes a family member’s new food ideology is perceived as a threat to family functioning at its core: established food traditions. As a result, some of the ensuing reactions appear to be aimed at restoring the family to its “homeostatic condition” by dissuading the individual from continuing the diet (Roth, 2005). ← 230 | 231 → This unsettling time, Roth (2005) found, is not likely to continue indefinitely however, for “either the family or the vegetarian (or both) eventually adapt, family members make accommodating gestures, and the frequency and intensity of conflicts decreases” (p. 196). To avoid such conflicts, Barbara McDonald’s interviews with U.S. vegans showed that arguments with family eventually led to a decision to avoid the topic altogether, unless the family member was vegetarian or vegan themselves or at minimum sympathetic to the position. Similarly, Greenebaum’s interview-based study found that vegans in the U.S. engaged in four “face-saving” strategies as a way of presenting veganism in a positive light to combative or critical family members, one of which was simply avoiding confrontation. They also waited for the right time to discuss veganism (i.e., not during a meal), focused on the health benefits of veganism, and attempted to lead by example. Twine also found that tensions in some interviewees’ relationships with family and friends diminished over time. He attributes this to two phenomenon: the rise of “non-practicing practitioners” (i.e., non-vegans who begin to unintentionally promote the diet by engaging in some aspects of the practice such as preparing vegan food), and vegans’ performance of veganism in a joyous and “demonstrative manner” that serves to improve its reputation among non-vegans and in turn restores “a sense of commensality and social connection with food” (Twine, 2014, p. 637). It is not only parents who exhibit resistance. In Jennifer Jabs, Jeffery Sobal, and Carol Devine’s qualitative research in the U.S., adult children were shown to respond negatively when a parent adopted a vegetarian diet later in life. This may be related to the impact this can have on childhood memories (Jabs, Devine, & Sobal, 1998). There is also evidence that the level of disapproval of a family member’s new vegetarian or vegan diet may differ along gender lines. A qualitative study of U.S. college-aged vegetarians showed that while family members perceived men’s vegetarianism in a neutral or positive light, female vegetarians were met with disapproval

(Merriman, 2010). While mothers tended to be somewhat ambiguous, fathers, brothers, and other male family members exhibited negative reactions, even hostility, and at times made efforts to interfere with the woman’s diet (Merriman, 2010). Such upsets can weigh heavily on both male and female vegetarians (McDonald, 2000) and may in the end cause some to forego their diet (Hecht, 2011). Certainly not all families respond in a negative manner. Hirschler’s study showed that reactions spanned a continuum from antagonism, disapproval, and rejection, to acceptance, accommodation, and encouragement. Roth’s interviewees also noted that their families were not always adversarial; likewise, Beardsworth and Keil’s qualitative work in the UK showed notable differences in familial responses, ranging from severe disapproval to supportive and approving. Further, Twine’s research offered examples where omnivores’ responses to a family member or friend’s transition to veganism were more open. There may also be ways to ease ← 231 | 232 → families into the change, which could in turn improve their response. Katie Haverstock and Deborah Kirby Forgays’ online survey of current and former vegetarians, vegans, and pescetarians suggests that a gradual as opposed to an abrupt transition may make it easier for families to adjust. Because women are the primary food providers, the amount of time they have for this task may also have bearing on whether they are able to implement changes such as meat-free or vegan meals. A study by Joyce Slater, Gustaaf Sevenhuysen, Barry Edginton, and John O’Neil showed that while middle-income employed mothers of school-age children in Canada wanted to provide what they saw as healthy homemade foods, external factors such as time scarcity (notably work and children’s extracurricular activities) and children’s increasing food autonomy limited their ability to do so. As a concession, they often opted instead for processed, convenience, or fast foods (Slater, Sevenhuysen, Edginton, & O’neil, 2012). The changing attitude toward the importance of children’s food preferences also affects mothers’ ability to alter the dietary practices of their families. Over the last 60 years, proper parenting has come to mean a style that privileges children’s independence and prioritizes their enjoyment of meals (Coveney, 2008). Opting for food that children will take pleasure in and that will allow them to display autonomy can create incompatibilities with parents’ desire to provide nutritious meals (Coveney, 2008). This indicates that as families give more credence to children’s food choices, vegetarian and vegan advocates might find it useful to consider the role children play in setting the family food agenda.

Subordination of Women’s Food Preferences and Food Provisioning as a Form of Power Some of the animal protection movement’s vegetarian and vegan outreach is purposefully designed to appeal to females. There are several justifications for this including that research has confirmed females are more willing to adopt meat-free diets than their male counterparts (Cooney, 2014), and because females are more likely to be their family’s primary food provider (DeVault, 1991). On the latter point, given that domestic food labor remains a largely female enterprise (Slater et al., 2012), animal advocates suspect a change in a female partner’s and/or mother’s food habits will have a ripple effect in the family (Cooney, 2014). The literature demonstrates, however, that the outcome may be less straightforward in practice. Before presenting the results of the review of the literature in this area, it should be noted that these studies primarily focus on traditional nuclear families rather than queer or extended families, and they seem to assume a white, largely middle-class perspective. Expanding the literature in this area is another avenue for future research, as critiqued by A. Breeze Harper and others. ← 232 | 233 → While women are far more likely than men to engage in foodwork (Harnack, Story, Martinson, Neumark-Sztainer, & Stang, 1998), the idea that women control family food choice has been challenged (McIntosh, Zey, & Zey, 1989). A qualitative study by Nickie Charles and Marion Kerr of women in the UK with school-aged children showed that women’s food preferences were almost entirely subordinated to those of their male partner, and secondarily to those of their children. Indeed, the food preferences of family members were given more weight than the “goodness” or even the cost of food (Charles & Kerr, 1988). Despite the fact that the women in the study were largely responsible for family food provisioning, this responsibility did not confer power or control over what the family consumed (Charles & Kerr, 1988). Others have uncovered a similar phenomenon, showing that women based food decisions on their male partner’s likes and dislikes (Bove, Sobal, & Rauschenbach, 2003; Murcott, 1983). This phenomenon could be due, in part, to gender scholars’ findings that equality in families and household labor remains “more of an ideological commitment than a documentable reality” (Risman, 1998, p. 94). Some research has suggested that the profile of the nutritional gatekeeper is changing. While women were traditionally conceived of as gatekeepers, Wansink, Sonka, Goldsmith, Chiriboga, and Eren (2005), explain that there is a new trend where “children and young teenagers are assuming the

role of gatekeepers” and the reason children are the primary influencers of purchases is because they “tend to be attuned to consumer issues, as they enjoy more discretionary time” (pp. 37–38). Despite the constrained nature of their food provisioning, the women Charles and Kerr spoke with appeared interested in a change of diet. The majority said they would eat differently if they lived alone, primarily by reducing their meat consumption (Charles & Kerr, 1988). However, to the extent that men “exert a conservative influence over families’ diets and prevent their partners from experimenting with food or introducing changes into the diet” (Charles & Kerr, 1988, p. 71), the workings of the family’s food life may be a very real limitation on women’s ability to reduce their personal meat consumption, let alone that of the family as a whole. Yet there is research that may support the women as gatekeeper concept. Early work envisioned women as gatekeepers who were “controlling the flow of goods (food in particular) into the household and controlling the channels through which food reaches the table” (Beardsworth et al., 2002, p. 86). This gatekeeper model became so widespread that nutritionists and others concerned with nutritional policy adopted it (Beardsworth, et al., 2002). Indeed research conducted in the U.S. during World War II suggests that while women perceived that they had limited control over family food choice, other family members were of the opposite view. As Wansink (2006) explains: ← 233 | 234 → Wives conservatively believed their husbands and children had de facto gatekeeping control based on their approval or disapproval of what food was served. To avoid disapproval, she was often hesitant to stray too far from conventional recipes. The twist was that husbands and children did not share this perception. They instead indicated that they would eat most anything she served. They also believed most if not all of the food they ate was either knowingly or unknowingly controlled by the wife. (p. 1324)

Likewise, a mixed methods study in the UK found that 77% of women (as compared to 15% of men) “bore the main responsibility for deciding what foods are purchased” (Beardsworth et al., 2002, p. 482). The study does not, however, make clear the extent of the decision-making power as there would, for instance, be a notable difference between deciding what type of meat to buy versus whether meat should be purchased at all. Certainly not all literature points to the subordinating role that food provisioning has on women. Some scholars wonder whether assuming the role of gatekeeper for food purchases and domestic consumption may actually confer power and control (Belasco, 2008). Belasco finds it curious that “so many husbands remain dependent on wives for sustenance, for why would anyone

cede so much hegemony over basic biological needs to someone else?” (p. 43). He also estimates that many women may hold on to this role because “they like the control it gives them” (Belasco, 2008, p. 44). In this view, even some women may see their role as conferring authority. However, Belasco also points to the complexity of the issue, noting that women’s role as food providers can also be oppressive—it is at once “empowerment and enslavement” (Belasco, 2008, p. 53). (This effect resembles that of the mechanization of housework in the United States, which ironically created more work for women and mothers [Cowan, 1983]). Carole Counihan too envisions it as a relationship that may both bestow and limit power. While men may exercise control through the financial means of food purchases, insist on specific meals, harshly judge their female partner’s cooking, or refuse to eat what is served, women may exert their power by “refusing to cook, cooking food men dislike, forcing them to eat, or manipulating the status and meaning systems embodied in foods” (Counihan, 1999, p. 11). However, this view of women’s power and agency in household labor and unpaid carework only offers a limited version of such power (DeVault, 1991).

Spouses and Significant Others Apart from its importance to the nuclear family, food also plays a significant role in the functioning of romantic relationships. Food is used to reinforce the bond between partners (Charles & Kerr, 1988), though not typically in a reciprocal fashion ← 234 | 235 → in that food, according to Susan Bordo (1998), is mostly used as a way for women to convey their affection to a male spouse thereby satisfying their “desire to bestow love” (p. 27). Food is also something that couples frequently share. Married couples in the West generally consume the same types of foods, sharing almost two-thirds of meals, particularly breakfast, dinners, and meals on weekends (Sobal, 2005). Food can be a significant source of friction among intimate partners, and meat is one of the most contentious aspects with concerns emerging about “whether, what types, when, and how much meat is consumed” (Sobal, 2005, p. 142). It is interesting to note that vegetarians are less apt to be married than the general population (Hecht, 2011), while married individuals consume more meat than their unmarried peers (Sobal, 2005). Some couples look for a middle ground between each partner’s food preferences, settling on meals that are neither distinctly “masculine” nor “feminine” (Bove et al., 2005). The view that men prefer meat, even at the cost of their female partner’s choices, may be narrow in its depiction of masculinity. Jeffery Sobal outlines a variety of “scripts” used by men to navigate food choice.

While a tendency to prioritize their own food preferences might best fit the “strong men” script, a “sensitive men” script may offer “a model of masculine emotion and empathy, where men are supportive and considerate of others, such as their spouses” (Sobal, 2005, pp. 146–147). The sensitive man, thus, may opt to consume less meat once married in an effort to align with the food priorities of his spouse (Bove et al., 2003). Men call on these diverse scripts depending on the context they find themselves in, which could result in, for example “a man lunching on hamburgers at work with his pals and sharing salad for dinner with his wife” (Bove et al., 2003, p. 147). Outside of securing a compromise from either side, Lynne Brown and Daisy Miller’s interviews conducted in the U.S. found relationships where partners do not readily share meals, including some women who cooked vegetable dishes for themselves while their husbands ate meat. One couple in which the woman cooked meatless meals for the family said: “[I]f he wanted more red meat he could have it. […] If he wants to go buy it he can have it” (Brown & Miller, 2002, p. 221). Brown and Miller found that couples with more egalitarian gender roles more easily compromised on food choices, whereas in couples with more traditional gender roles, the women tended to conform to the men’s desires. They note that, “fairness, accommodation, and respect underlie the food choices used for family meals” for egalitarian families in their study (Brown & Miller, 2002, p. 221). These findings could indicate that couples who espouse egalitarian gender roles may be more apt to try vegetarian or vegan food because they are likely to communicate better with their partners and can come to an agreement about how and why they make their food choices. For animal advocates seeking to promote plant-based ← 235 | 236 → diets, these findings suggest that using sexist images in advertising (Deckha, 2008; Glasser, 2011) may be counterintuitive as they likely have limited appeal to couples who embrace egalitarian gender roles and avoid making food choices solely based on male priorities. More research is needed on this front, however. If a much needed settlement on a couple’s approach to food cannot be reached, there is the possibility that serious tensions or even the breakdown of the relationship can ensue. Indeed, some vegans in Twine’s 2014 study expressed an interest in finding a vegan partner in an effort to foster a safe space (called vegansexuality by Potts & Parry, 2010). Qualitative research in the UK by Jacqueline Burgoyne and David Clarke with individuals who had remarried demonstrated that strains in the previous marriage could be connected to aspects of food consumption and

preparation. In some cases, conflicts over a couple’s food life can even lead to domestic violence (Ellis, 1983). If one partner decides to change their diet, the role the other plays can have a notable impact. A Canadian study by Paisley et al. that explored the effect that dietary change (including vegetarianism) had on the experiences of a significant other found emotional responses to vary from none at all to cooperation, encouragement, skepticism, and even anger. They showed that the role that significant others played in their partner’s ability to succeed in the new diet stretches along a continuum from negative to neutral to positive, though positive manifestations were more typical (Paisley et al., 2008). Based on their findings, Paisley et al., conclude: “Changes in food purchasing and food preparation will affect the shared eating experiences of people making dietary changes and their significant others. The impact of a partner or family member’s dietary change on the experiences of his or her significant other varies considerably” (p. 87).

Meal and Food Hierarchies Family meals in contemporary Western cultures often take the form of “proper meals,” which include meat along with some form of vegetable sides (Marshall & Anderson, 2002; Bove et al., 2005). In addition to the daily proper meal, the Sunday dinner (a more elaborate version of the proper meal), Christmas dinner, and food served in celebration of birthdays (especially children’s) are also important aspects of “proper” family life (Charles & Kerr, 1988). In this way, it is possible to see how a hierarchical structure of meals can form whereby snacks and lunch-time meals are given less weight than proper meals or holiday feasts involving family presence. Traditionally, one key element in these meals has been meat, which is seen as particularly useful in facilitating special gatherings (White, Uzzell, Gatersleben, ← 236 | 237 → & Räthzel, 2011). Indeed, meat-based holiday meals can be a particular point of conflict between vegetarians and their family members (Jabs et al., 1998), and an effort to satisfy family during holidays can sometimes lead vegetarians and vegans to eat foods that run counter to their dietary convictions (Hecht, 2011). While it is easy to anticipate the difficulty of changing the meat-based focus of meals that rank higher in the meal hierarchy, it may also be that such difficulties persist even where snacks and lunch-time consumption is concerned. Charles and Kerr’s work suggests that in traditional nuclear families, meals lower on the hierarchy may be just as impenetrable given that their female interviewees said their preferences came second even outside of proper meals.

Some studies have shown that women see proper meals—involving the provision of presumed healthy, cooked dinners typically composed of meat, potatoes, and vegetables—as an integral aspect of their role as spouse and mother (Charles & Kerr, 1988; DeVault, 1991). Male partners have also been shown to assert their preference for proper meals of this type (Charles & Kerr, 1988; DeVault, 1991). Other research has also pointed to the preference for proper meals in family life (Bove et al., 2003), including a study by Anne Murcott where young female informants emphasized the importance of a “cooked dinner,” particularly to suit their male spouse’s desires. While women are typically tasked with providing meat-focused proper meals for their family, Marjorie DeVault (1991) found that men take on “occasional cooking defined as appropriate for fathers,” such as outdoor barbecuing of meat (p. 102). Though, even when men cook, they may not take on the responsibility of coordinating aspects of “feeding the family” beyond meal preparation (DeVault, 2008). A possible reason why meat is valued so highly in the domestic sphere is its position in the hierarchy of foods within the dominant culture as outlined by Julia Twigg. Under this framework, meat is the most highly valued food, and thus fully able to serve as a meal’s centerpiece (Twigg, 1983). Red meat is the most highly regarded of the meats followed by chicken and fish, which are then followed by animal byproducts (eggs and cheese) that are thought to be “sufficiently high in the hierarchy to support a meal’s being formed around them, though they are confined to the low status events” (Twigg, 1983, p. 22). Vegetables are situated below these foods in the hierarchy, and are considered feminine and thus “insufficient for the formation of a meal” (Twigg, 1983, pp. 21– 22). Vegetarian and vegan diets overturn this structure by encouraging elimination of the most highly valued foods while placing those that once occupied the lower rungs (fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, etc.) at the center of the plate, creating what Roth refers to as a “symbolic inversion.” In this way, leaving meat off the menu challenges its very purpose (Roth, 2005)—efforts aimed at promoting vegetarianism or veganism threaten ← 237 | 238 → the core of the meal. Based on their examination of the subordination of women’s food preferences, Charles and Kerr (1988) conclude: exhortations to eat more beans and pulses, even if women are willing to listen, are likely to produce meagre results because beans and pulses neither fit into the structure of the proper meal, nor are they highly socially valued within the dominant food ideology. Their lowly social status means their high nutritional status is likely to go unappreciated and untried. The centrality of the proper meal to family eating is therefore a significant constraint limiting the types of changes that can be made to the diet. (p. 237)

Race and Social Class The focus of this review is barriers to vegetarian and vegan diets in the domestic sphere. However, we also consider outside forces that can enable or constrain food choice within the home, including those connected to race and class. Structural influences on diet can create a gulf between intentions around food and actual dietary behavior and so may have the potential to negatively impact the adoption and/or maintenance of a vegetarian or vegan diet, even given a strong motivation to embark on such a change. In terms of income, quantitative research in the U.S. by Glanz, Basil, Maibach, Goldberg, and Synder (1998) found that those with lower incomes identified cost and convenience as being more important than taste and nutrition. These constraints are exacerbated for families living in food deserts, or “grocery gaps” (Gottlieb & Joshi, 2013) that exist in areas with little to no access to full-service supermarkets or fresh foods. A study by Project CAFE (Community Action on Food Environments) found that in three neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the predominant food establishments were fast food (29.6%) or convenience and liquor stores (21.6%). Less than 2% of food establishments were full-scale supermarkets (Azuma, Gilliland, Vallianatos, & Gottlieb, 2010). Outside of access, there is also the issue of affordability. Research has shown that individuals living in low income may be averse to experimenting with novel foods—which seemingly could include many specialized vegetarian and vegan products—because of the risk of waste if family members find them unappetizing (Charles & Kerr, 1988; DeVault, 1991). There are, however, efforts aimed at limiting class-based obstacles to eating a plant-based diet, including a vegan soup kitchen (the People’s Potato) at Concordia University as well as a new effort to establish a vegetarian food panty (Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank). Groups like the Food Empowerment Project, A Well-Fed World, and Food Not Bombs also ← 238 | 239 → work at the intersection of vegetarianism/veganism and income inequality, and may vegetarian/vegan proponents argue that a plant-based diet is not inherently more costly. Like those living in low income, people of color are also disproportionally affected by poor access to affordable healthy food. A 2002 study by Kimberly Morland, Steve Wing, Ana Diez Roux, and Charles Poole revealed that white neighborhoods in Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, and North Carolina had quadruple the number of supermarkets as black neighborhoods. As the personal narratives in Harper’s Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity,

Health, and Society attest, many black women described receiving pushback from their black families and friends when becoming vegan. Working together, sociologists and animal advocates can engage in studies to explore ways to help the movement foster diet change among a diverse and ever-changing population while acknowledging that decisions around food consumption are “central to preserving racial identity” (Slocum, 2011).

Discussion and Conclusions In this paper, we have explored the roadblocks to conversion and maintenance of vegetarianism and veganism in the domestic sphere. In this final section, we will make recommendations for future research in these areas and ways that advocates can use this research to help limit barriers to vegetarianism and veganism within domestic life. As we have shown, sociological literature on family, gender, and food shows that family members play a role in the success or failure of dietary modifications, yet it also tells us that individuals are often unwelcoming of another family member’s adoption of a vegetarian or vegan diet. For sociologists, this points to the need for research with long-time vegetarians and vegans whose families were able to restore their “homeostatic condition” (Roth, 2005) without the vegan or vegetarian abandoning his or her diet, in order to uncover key aspects of this process that can inform animal advocacy. A further area in need of study is whether and how the shortage of time (time famine) experienced by mothers and an increasing attention to children’s food preferences serves as a barrier to the adoption of a vegetarian or vegan diet. For sociologists aiming to conduct research that would be directly of use to animal advocacy organizations, it would be helpful to have research on whether the animal protection movement would be best served by increasing the focus on men—by overcoming notions that “meat is male” (Fiddes, 1991; Germov & ← 239 | 240 → Williams, 2008; Rozin, Hormes, Faith, & Wansink, 2012)—or prioritizing outreach to females while presenting information on how they can navigate life with an omnivorous partner and/or children. Some of our findings point to areas where animal advocacy organizations could examine their current efforts to determine to what extent they are in line with research conclusions. Studies suggest that it might be useful for advocates to promote meat substitutes as stand-ins for meat in proper meals. Historically, “transitions in food consumption patterns usually happen by way of substitution with a food that can take over the function of the foodstuff that fell away” (Schösler,

de Boer, & Boersema, 2012, p. 40). Recent quantitative research in the Netherlands examined preferences for meal formats, which showed pathways for transition to be particularly difficult if they challenged established formats and hierarchies that required consumers to “break away from existing conventions” (Schösler et al. 2012, p. 46). Research into meat substitutes (Elzerman, Hoek, Martinus, van Boekel, & Luning, 2011; Hoek et al., 2011) is gaining popularity and, given our review, sociologists and other researchers should further investigate whether men and children in particular are open to meat, dairy, and egg substitutes as part of a reformulated “proper” meal, given the work that has already been done on women and soy foods (Wansink, Shimizu, & Brumberg, 2014). Animal advocates suspect a change in a female partner’s and/or mother’s food habits will have a domino effect in the family, as food labor remains a largely female enterprise. However, our review suggests that women’s food preferences (particularly in “traditional” family units) could be subordinated to those of their male partner—which usually center on meat—as well as to those of their children. As a result, aiming nutrition education at women may take its toll on women who already carry guilt about their food provisioning work (Charles & Kerr, 1988). The degree to which Charles and Kerr’s findings are applicable more than three decades later is uncertain. The research was conducted in the early 1980s in the UK, nearly all of the women were married and living with the father of their children, and over half were not engaged in paid work outside of the home (Charles & Kerr, 1988). Further, much existing research in this area has heretofore focused on Western, white, middle-class families led by two parents of the opposite sex. An important area for future research will be an update to this study (as well as other subjects addressed in this review) to see how they survive the test of time with a more diverse sample that includes same-sex unions, single parent families, blended families, families with less traditional gender roles, a greater proportion of women who work outside the home, as well as low income families and more racially diverse families. Such studies would help the animal protection movement determine if the gatekeeper model should be informing their advocacy. While ← 240 | 241 → many animal advocacy organizations espouse messages designed to resonate with children and men, there have been recent efforts to redesign key vegetarian and vegan campaign materials to appeal primarily to women. Such a shift may have benefits for a host of other reasons (Cooney, 2014), but if Charles and Kerr’s work is shown to be replicable today, the nutritional gatekeeper concept may not be chief among them, at least not when universally applied.

References Adams, C. J. (2008). Living among meat-eaters: The vegetarian’s survival handbook. New York, NY: Lantern Books. Asher, K., Green, C., Gutbrod, H., Jewell, M., Hale, G., & Bastian, B. (2014). Study of current and former vegetarians and vegans: Initial findings. Olympia: Humane Research Council. Azuma, A. M., Gilliland, S., Vallianatos, M., & Gottlieb, R. (2010). Food access, availability, and affordability in 3 Los Angeles communities, Project CAFE, 2004–2006. Preventing Chronic Disease, 7(2), A27. Beardsworth, A., Bryman, A., Keil, T., Goode, J., Haslam, C., & Lancashire, E. (2002). Women, men and food: The significance of gender for nutritional attitudes and choices. British Food Journal, 104(7), 470– 491. Beardsworth, A., & Keil, T. (1997). Sociology on the menu: An invitation to the study of food and society. London: Routledge. Belasco, W. (2008). Food: The key concepts. Oxford: Berg. Blades, M. (2001). Factors affecting what we eat. Nutrition & Food Science, 31(2), 71–74. Bordo, S. (1998). Hunger as ideology. In E. Scapp & B. Seitz (Eds.), Eating culture (pp. 11–35). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bove, C. F., Sobal, J., & Rauschenbach, B. (2003). Food choices among newly married couples: Convergence, conflict, individualism, and projects. Appetite, 40(1), 25–41. Brown, J. L., & Miller, D. (2002). Couples’ gender role preferences and management of family food preferences. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 34(4), 215–223. Burgoyne, J., & Clarke, D. (1983). You are what you eat: Food and family reconstitution. In A. Murcott (Ed.), The sociology of food and eating (pp. 152–163). Hants: Gower Publishing Company Limited. Charles, N., & Kerr, M. (1988). Women, food and families. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Cherry, E. (2006). Veganism as a cultural movement: A relational approach. Social Movement Studies, 5(2), 155–170. Cherry, E. (2015). I was a teenage vegan: Motivation and maintenance of lifestyle movements. Sociological Inquiry, 85(1), 55–74. Cooney, N. (2014). Veganomics: The surprising science on what motivates vegetarians, from the breakfast table to the bedroom. Brooklyn, NY: Lantern Books. ← 241 | 242 → Counihan, C. (1999). The anthropology of food and body: Gender, meaning, and power. New York, NY: Routledge.

Coveney, J. (2008). The government of the table: Nutrition expertise and the social organization of family food habits. In J. Germov & L. Williams (Eds.), A sociology of food & nutrition: The social appetite (pp. 224–241). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Cowan, R. S. (1983). More work for mother: The ironies of household technology from the open hearth to the microwave. New York, NY: Basic Books. Cronin, J. M., McCarthy, M., & Collins, A. M. (2012). Covert distinction: How hipsters practice food-based resistance strategies in the production of identity. Consumption Markets & Culture, 17(1), 2–28. Deckha, M. (2008). Disturbing images: PETA and the feminist ethics of animal advocacy. Ethics and the Environment, 13(2), 35–76. DeVault, M. L. (1991). Feeding the family: The social organization of caring as gendered work. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. DeVault, M. L. (2008). Conflict and deference. In C. Counihan & P. Van Esterik (Eds.), Food and culture: A reader (pp. 240–258). New York, NY: Routledge. Ellis, R. (1983). The way to a man’s heart: Food in the violent home. In A. Murcott (Ed.), The sociology of food and eating (pp. 164–171). Hants: Gower Publishing Company Limited. Elzerman, J. E., Hoek, A., Martinus, A., van Boekel, J. S., & Luning, P. A. (2011). Consumer acceptance and appropriateness of meat substitutes in a meal context. Food Quality and Preference, 22(3), 233–240. Emirbayer, M., & Goodwin, J. (1994). Network analysis, culture, and the problem of agency. The American Journal of Sociology, 99(6), 1411–1454. Fiddes, N. (1991). Meat: A natural symbol. London: Routledge. Germov, J., & Williams, L. (2008). Exploring the social appetite: A sociology of food and nutrition. In J. Germov & L. Williams (Eds.), A sociology of food & nutrition: The social appetite (pp. 3–26). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Glanz, K., Basil, M, Maibach, E., Goldberg, J., & Synder, D. (1998). Why Americans eat what they do: Taste, nutrition, cost, convenience, and weight control concerns as influences on food consumption. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 98(10), 1118–1126. Glasser, C. L. (2011). Tied oppressions: An analysis of how sexist imagery reinforces speciesist sentiment. The Brock Review, 12(1), 51–68. Gottlieb, R., & Joshi, A. (2013). Food justice. Boston, MA: MIT Press. Greenebaum, J. B. (2012). Managing impressions: ‘Face-saving’ strategies of vegetarians and vegans. Humanity & Society, 36(4), 309–325. Harnack, L., Story, M., Martinson, B., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Stang, J. (1998). Guess who’s cooking? The role of men in meal planning, shopping, and preparation in US families. Journal of the American Dietetic

Association, 98(9), 995–1000. Harper, A. B. (Ed.). (2010). Sistah vegan: Black female vegans speak on food, identity, health, and society. New York, NY: Lantern Books. ← 242 | 243 → Haverstock, K., & Forgays, D. K. (2012). To eat or not to eat. A comparison of current and former animal product limiters. Appetite, 58(3), 1030–1036. Hays, S. (1994). Structure and agency and the sticky problem of culture. Sociological Theory, 12(1), 57–72. Hecht, J. D. (2011). The vegetarian social movement: An analysis of withdrawal and backsliding (Unpublished Master’s thesis). Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida. Hirschler, C. A. (2011). ‘What pushed me over the edge was a deer hunter’: Being vegan in North America. Society & Animals, 19(2), 156–174. Hoek, A. C., Luning, P. A., Weijzen, P., Engels, W., Kok, F., & de Graaf, C. (2011). Replacement of meat by meat substitutes: A survey on person- and product-related factors in consumer acceptance. Appetite, 56(3), 662–673. Jabs, J., Devine, C. M., & Sobal, J. (1998). Maintaining vegetarian diets: Personal factors, social networks and environmental resources. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 59(4), 183–189. Jabs, J., Sobal, J., & Devine, C. M. (2000). Managing vegetarianism: Identities, norms and interactions. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 39(5), 375–394. Jasper, J. M., & Poulsen, J. D. (1995). Recruiting strangers and friends: Moral shocks and social networks in animal rights and anti-nuclear protests. Social Problems, 42(4), 493–512. Marshall, D. W., & Anderson, S. (2002). Proper meals in transition: Young married couples on the nature of eating together. Appetite, 39(3), 193–206. Maurer, D. (2002). Vegetarianism: Movement or moment? Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. McDonald, B. (2000). ‘Once you know something, you can’t not know it’: An empirical look at becoming vegan. Society & Animals, 8(1), 1–23. McIntosh, W., Zey, A., & Zey, M. (1989). Women as gatekeepers of food consumption: A sociological critique. Food and Foodways, 3(4), 317–332. Mennell, S. (2008). Culinary cultures of Europe: Food, history, health and identity. In J. Germov & L. Williams (Eds.), A sociology of food & nutrition: The social appetite (pp. 245–263). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Merriman, B. (2010). Gender differences in family and peer reaction to the adoption of a vegetarian diet. Feminism & Psychology, 20(3), 420–427. Morland, K., Wing, S., Roux, A. D., & Poole, C. (2002). Neighborhood characteristics associated with the location of food stores and food service places. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 22(1), 23–29.

Murcott, A. (1983). Cooking and the cooked: A note on the domestic preparation of meals. In A. Murcott (Ed.), The sociology of food and eating (pp. 178–185). Hants: Gower Publishing Company Limited. Paisley, J., Beanlands, H., Goldman, J., Evers, S., & Chappell, J. (2008). Dietary change: What are the responses and roles of significant others? Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 40(2), 80–88. Potts, A., & Parry, J. (2010). Vegan sexuality: Challenging heteronormative masculinity through meat-free sex. Feminism & Psychology, 20(1), 53–72. ← 243 | 244 → Potts, A., & White, M. (2008). New Zealand vegetarians: At odds with their nation. Society & Animals, 16(4), 336–353. Risman, B. (1998). Gender vertigo: American families in transition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Roth, L. K. (2005). ‘Beef. It’s what’s for dinner’: Vegetarians, meat-eaters and the negotiation of familial relationships. Food, Culture & Society, 8(2), 181–200. Rozin, P., Hormes, J. M., Faith, M. S., & Wansink, B. (2012). Is meat male? A quantitative multimethod framework to establish metaphoric relationships. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(3), 629–643. Schösler, H., de Boer, J., & Boersema, J. J. (2012). Can we cut out the meat of the dish? Constructing consumer-oriented pathways towards meat substitution. Appetite, 58(1), 39–47. Slater, J., Sevenhuysen, G., Edginton, B., & O’neil, J. (2012). ‘Trying to make it all come together’: Structuration and employed mothers’ experience of family food provisioning in Canada. Health Promotion International, 27(3), 405–415. Slocum, R. (2011). Race in the study of food. Progress in Human Geography, 35(3), 303–327. Sobal, J. (2005). Men, meat, and marriage: Models of masculinity. Food & Foodways, 13(1–2), 135–158. Taylor, C. (2012). Abnormal appetites: Foucault, Atwood, and the normalization of an animal-based diet. Journal for Critical Animal Studies, 10(4), 130–148. Torres, B., & Torres, J. (2006). Vegan freak: Being vegan in a non-vegan world. Colton, NY: Tofu Hound Press. Twigg, J. (1983). Vegetarianism and the meanings of meat. In A. Murcott (Ed.), The sociology of food and eating (pp. 18–30). Hants: Gower Publishing Company Limited. Twine, R. (2014). Vegan killjoys at the table—contesting happiness and negotiating relationships with food practices. Societies, 4(4), 623–639. Wansink, B. (2006). Nutritional gatekeepers and the 72% solution. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106(9), 1324–1327. Wansink, B., Shimizu, M., & Brumberg, A. (2014). Dispelling myths about a new healthful food can be more motivating than promoting nutritional benefits: The case of tofu. Eating Behaviors, 14(2), 318–320. Wansink, B., Sonka, S., Goldsmith, P., Chiriboga, J., & Eren, N. (2005). Increasing the acceptance of soybased foods. Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing, 17(1), 35–55.

White, E., Uzzell, D., Gatersleben, B., & Räthzel, N. (2011). Changing tastes: Meat in our life histories. RESOLVE Working Paper 05–11. ESRC Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment.

← 244 | 245 →


Feminism and Husbandry Drawing the Fine Line between Mine and Bovine CARMEN M. CUSACK

Introduction Many supposed feminists have been seduced by patriarchal privilege. These “feminists” behave as if they are superior to other female animals because they were born human. Feminists who consume dairy support a patriarchal industry that subjugates femaleness. Instead, feminists should acknowledge dairy as sexual cruelty and sexual exploitation and consider it to be a feminist issue. Female cows’ suffering ought to be a feminist issue because cows suffer gender-based atrocities due to their sex, fertility, and status as mothers. The culturally normative consumption of dairy products among Europeans and European Americans led to the acceptance and legalization of current animal husbandry practices in the United States, practices which are rooted in patriarchy. In consuming dairy products and disconnecting the patriarchal oppression of women and animals in favor of normative values, feminists fail to see animal husbandry for what it is: rape and sexual slavery/trafficking. In the past, ecofeminists, who have made connections between the abuse of animals and the abuse of women, have tended either to criticize meat more than dairy or focus on nonfeminists’ abuse of animals. I will discuss why the sexual oppression of female cows, which is unavoidable in the dairy industry, ought to be a feminist issue. This article offers unique insight, however, not simply in its critical view of feminists’ consumption of dairy, but in its consideration of the legal ← 245 | 246 → terminology of rape, husbandry, and bestiality. I argue that such a consideration can provide a basis through which feminist

resistance to dairy can begin. In the first section, I will give a detailed explanation of what cows experience on dairy farms. In second section, “Queen Dairy,” I will consider why feminists do not embrace female animal abuse as a feminist issue. Next, in “Rape and Slavery,” I will discuss the terms “rape” and “sex trafficking”/“sexual slavery” and how they apply to cows in the dairy industry. In the fourth section, “Feminist View of Rape: ‘Other’ Animals,” I will argue that, because the law differentiates animal husbandry from bestiality, many feminists ignore the rape and sexual enslavement of female animals, contrary to the general tenets of the feminist movement. In the fifth section, “Feminist Concerns,” I assert how human rape and sex trafficking/slavery are feminist issues in order to establish a connection between a cow’s suffering and what feminists believe and practice. Sixth, in “Praxis,” I suggest that feminists ought to abstain from dairy and incorporate into their praxes their awareness of the established connection between human and animal abuse.

Queen Dairy The dairy industry is directly responsible for the rape and murder of cattle (Matthews, 2009). Veal is the culinary term for the meat of male calves, who are the by-products of the dairy industry (Matthews, 2009). Ninety-nine percent of male cows born on a dairy farm will be starved, intentionally atrophied, then killed and sold as veal (Sargeant, Blackwell, Martin, & Tremblay, 1994). Of an incredibly small percentage of all male calves, half will be bred to be used as bulls, from whom semen will be forcibly extracted through masturbation by a farmer. The other half of this tiny group of male calves will have their genitals mutilated, that is, be castrated, and used as oxen (AIPL, 2011). Natural, healthy calves typically nurse for several months after birth. However, 99% of the male calves born on dairy farms experience one of two fates: they are either separated from their mothers instantly and killed within a few days, depriving the mother and calf of any bonding experience; or they are placed into an isolated and closed crate 3–5 days after birth to restrict movement and induce atrophy, later to be killed and sold as veal. During their short lives, male calves are fed a milk-powder by-product in lieu of their mothers’ milk, even though this formula, coupled with their intense anxiety and social confusion, typically gives the young animals severe ulcers (Delft Blue, n.d.). On a dairy farm, milk is not for those who can claim it as a natural birthright (Welchmen & Baust, 1987). Milk is for adult humans who demand dairy products (FTC, 2013). Because of milk depravation, many male calves starve ← 246 | 247 → to death in the first 2–4 hours of their lives (Philip, 2005). Their corpses, as veal, still make it to the market, along with their mothers’ milk, and into the bellies of human children and adults who have long since been weaned off their own mothers’ milk (PETA, 2013a).

Most people in the United States recognize the cruelty of veal, and the domestic demand for veal has significantly decreased in recent years (PETA, 2013b). Yet Americans continue to consume just as much milk, which is why there has been no decrease in the supply of male calves (PETA, 2013b). It seems that people have yet to understand the relationship between dairy and veal. There has also been a lag in the empathy felt for female calves as compared to male calves. Unfortunately, the suffering of the female calf literally breeds the suffering of the male calf. America’s empathy for male calves will not prevent the mass exportation of the calves’ atrophied, anemic corpses to the global market if Americans continue to demand and supply more dairy than most other nations combined (PETA, 2013b). Like male calves, female calves on factory farms are separated from their mothers immediately, just like male calves (PETA, 2013a). Female calves are mostly fed a low-cost milk-replacer formula (PETA, 2013a). A female cow is identical to a female human in that she will not produce milk unless she is pregnant (PETA, 2013a). Because female calves are useless to the dairy farmer before they can produce milk, dairy farmers will reproductively coerce a dairy cow when she is about a year or two old (Vandermark, Salisbury, & Boley, 1951). Every dairy cow will be repeatedly and forcibly raped (a term I will discuss in more detail in a moment) by humans using inanimate objects. The dairy farmer aims to impregnate her so that he or she may later steal her calves and sell her lactations. Almost every cow goes through traumatic recto-vaginal rape (Vandermark et al., 1951). During rectovaginal rape, the farmer inserts his or her hand inside the cow’s anus and pushes into the cow’s rectum until the farmer’s entire forearm and elbow are inside the cow’s rectum (Vandermark et al., 1951). To an outsider, it looks as if the farmer is attempting to climb inside the cow through her rectum. The farmer then spreads his or her fingers wide to palpate the cow’s vagina and uterus (through the rectal wall) until the cow’s cervix is located (Saeng, 2013). The farmer grabs the cow’s cervix through the wall of the cow’s rectum and holds it tightly (Saeng, 2013). The farmer then inserts the artificial inseminator into the cow’s vagina (Saeng, 2013). The farmer feels with both hands until the farmer can plug the inseminator into the cow’s cervix, which is being held by the hand that is lodged inside the cow’s rectum (Saeng, 2013). Farmers artificially inseminate their cows because they do not have nearly enough bulls since the majority of male calves, deemed genetically unfit for breeding, will become veal (NBC News, 2006). Because artificial insemination ← 247 | 248 → is a standard breeding practice and the farmer does not receive sexual pleasure from the act, this nonconsensual penetration and insemination is legally defensible against allegations of animal cruelty; in fact, it is not cruelty against animals, as far as the law is concerned, that is the actual issue here, but the possibility of an erotic encounter for the human. If the farmer uses his hands to inseminate the cow, but does not experience pleasure, then the actions are legal (and deemed a necessary aspect of “husbandry”); but, for example, if the farmer receives pleasure while

inseminating the cow using his hands or penis, then the defense fails and the farmer has committed the crime of bestiality. The defense may stand even though the cow may be more harmed during the process of husbandry than by coitus with the farmer (Vandermark et al., 1951). Of course, the law does not currently consider cows to be the in the class of victims identified by the term “rape” (Beirne, 2009). The word rape identifies unwanted penetration of humans, not animals: humans are the only species allowed sexual inviolability under the law. The legal distinctions that criminalize bestiality as cruelty are drawn to proscribe the farmer’s actions, not to protect the cow’s vagina from unwanted sexual contact. When humans are penetrated without consent, the law serves to reinforce the sexual inviolability of the human body, but when animals are penetrated without consent, the law considers the context, commerce, and quasi-property status of the victims. The farmer’s awareness of the cow’s displeasure during the process does not legally need to signal to the farmer that the penetration should end even if the unwanted penetration and insemination seem cruel. The quasiproperty status of the cow dictates that the cow’s suffering is secondary to the farmer’s control of her reproductive organs. Farmers, in fact, know that female cows suffer (Matthews, 2009; Youroffsky, 2009). There are bodies of literature and schools of ritual revolving around the best time to remove a calf from a mother cow in order to minimize her sorrowful bellowing for her lost calf, which is annoying to the dairy farmer (Apley & Hilton, 2003; Chai Online, 2013; “Cow Psychology,” 2009; Pirelli & Zollinger, 1993; Self Sufficiency in Style, n.d.). Numerous scientific studies have shown that the female cow is literally drained of her vitality on the dairy farm, suffers from depression, and dies prematurely in most instances (“Get the Facts,” 2013). Female cows used for dairy die within one-eighth of their natural lifespan for reasons relating to disease and exhaustion (“Get the Facts,” 2013). The female cow is constantly subjected to the removal of the milk that she knows should be given to her missing calf (“Get the Facts,” 2013). It is unknown if, after the first year, the cow, who is maternal by nature, can predict that the calf she is carrying will be stolen (and in every case either starved and murdered, or raped and murdered), and whether this stress adds to her degeneration. ← 248 | 249 → Most farmers milk cows twice each day, 365 days of the year (“AG 101: Milking Parlors,” 2012). Some milk cows three or four times per day in order to increase milk production by 10% (“AG 101: Milking Parlors,” 2012). Milking machines are routinely used, allowing about 16 times more milking per hour than hand milking. Four rubber-lined cups are used to pump milk from the cow’s teats (“AG 101: Milking Parlors,” 2012). The warm milk flows into a collecting bin and travels by a vacuum pipeline into a cool storage tank (“AG 101: Milking Parlors,” 2012). The process of milking takes around five minutes (“AG 101: Milking Parlors,” 2012). When the cow is not being milked, she is waiting around to be milked (“AG 101: Milking Parlors,” 2012). Because cows suffer anxiety, farmers

milk cows in the same order during each milking in order to routinize the process (“AG 101: Milking Parlors,” 2012). The routinization further mechanizes the cow. As each awaits her turn, she not only witnesses abuse inflicted on her relatives and cohort, she anticipates the discomfort that will be inflicted on her. She waits to be groped, tugged, latched onto, pumped, and voided. Cows are prone to infections like mastitis, which they physically experience as a woman would (Natterson-Horowit & Bowers, 2012). Cows infected by mastitis experience hot, reddened, swollen, infected udders, and will also experience congestion (“Cow’s Milk: A Natural Choice?: Stress, Antibiotics, Mastitis, and Pus,” 2005; “How Much Pus Is There in Milk?” 2013; PETA, 2013a). Mastitis, which is present at any given point in millions of dairy cows worldwide, causes the cows’ teats to excrete pus into the milk, which will be sold on the general market (“Cow’s Milk: A Natural Choice?: Stress, Antibiotics, Mastitis, and Pus,” 2005; “How Much Pus Is There in Milk?” 2013; PETA, 2013a). Over one billion pus cells are allowed in every USDA-approved gallon of milk, and one million or less per teaspoon (“Cow’s Milk: A Natural Choice?: Stress, Antibiotics, Mastitis, and Pus,” 2005; “How Much Pus Is There in Milk?” 2013; PETA, 2013a). A normal cow living a healthy life might be able to overcome early symptoms of mastitis through her own immune system (“Cow’s Milk: A Natural Choice?: Stress, Antibiotics, Mastitis, and Pus,” 2005; “How Much Pus Is There in Milk?” 2013; PETA, 2013a). However, the use of growth hormone to increase milk production causes the cow to develop larger infections, since the cow’s mammary glands are unnaturally large (“Cow’s Milk: A Natural Choice?: Stress, Antibiotics, Mastitis, and Pus,” 2005; “How Much Pus Is There in Milk?” 2013; PETA, 2013a). The cow’s natural immune system is unable to handle these sizeable infections (“Dairy Cow Lameness,” 2013; Grandin, 2012; “Our Perspective of Lameness in Dairy Cows has to Change,” 2005; Shearer, 2010). A cow will flinch or kick when an infected udder is touched (“Dairy Cow Lameness,” 2013; Grandin, 2012; “Our Perspective of Lameness in Dairy Cows ← 249 | 250 → has to Change,” 2005; PETA, 2013a; Shearer, 2010). The cow’s natural milk production is reduced, but the dairy farm’s demands do not lessen despite her natural protestations to the abuse inflicted by milking (“Dairy Cow Lameness,” 2013; Grandin, 2012; “Our Perspective of Lameness in Dairy Cows has to Change,” 2005; PETA, 2013a; Shearer, 2010). Just like humans, cows living under this stress often bellow, eat excessive carbohydrates, and become noticeably depressed; along with depression, a general fever may be present with mastitis, as well as shivering, rapid weight loss, and appetite loss (“Dairy Cow Lameness,” 2013; Grandin, 2012; “Our Perspective of Lameness in Dairy Cows has to Change,” 2005; PETA, 2013a; Shearer, 2010). It has become common knowledge that dairy farmers will administer high doses of antibiotics to cows in order to reduce the pus cell content in milk (“Dairy Cow Lameness,” 2013;

Grandin, 2012; “Our Perspective of Lameness in Dairy Cows has to Change,” 2005; PETA, 2013a; Shearer, 2010). It is not uncommon for a cow in a natural environment to give birth to several calves over her 20–25 year lifespan (“The Destructive Dairy Industry,” n.d.; “Meet the Animals,” 2013). But as a dairy cow, she will typically become worn down and spent between the ages of 3 and 5 years old (“The Destructive Dairy Industry,” n.d.; “Meet the Animals,” 2013). As a commodity, she will totally depreciate and will be sent to slaughter.

Rape and Slavery The conceptual and legal restriction of the term “rape” to a class of human victims is speciesist because the term describes and is applicable to the experience of cows on factory farms. Though a clean parallel need not be drawn between human and bovine victims, an analysis of the definition of rape can be undertaken on behalf of cows because their vaginas and anuses are nonconsensually penetrated by humans. Crucially, however, humans may be the class of victims contemplated by the law, but humans are also the class of perpetrators who appropriate nonconsenting humans’ vaginas. Similarly, humans appropriate nonconsenting cows’ vaginas. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines rape as “[t]he penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim” (FBI, 2012). Because the terms for rape can vary widely, for example, sexual assault, battery, sexual imposition, etc., the FBI relies on a general definition for research purposes (FBI, 2012). Plain readings of statutes can vary from their case law interpretations. For example, South Dakota’s rape statute §22-22-1 limits the crime of rape to scenarios in which penetration occurs by force, coercion, or threats of ← 250 | 251 → immediate and great bodily harm. Yet, in South Dakota, case law indicates that the definition of rape can include psychological coercion (State v. Klaudt, 2009). This is true in Oklahoma as well, where the statute requires force or threats, but the case law indicates that coercion rises to the level of force (Okl. St. § 1114). A general definition, supplied by the FBI, is relied on to demonstrate that, in its most general terms, the abuse discussed in this chapter qualifies as rape, by definition, because of the class of perpetrator and the penetration of a vagina and anus, despite the species distinctions between the class of victims. The law is not merely designed to protect human victims. It is designed to punish human perpetrators who, without consent, penetrate anuses or vaginas using an object. According to the FBI’s definition of rape, when cows are penetrated by hands and objects, they are raped. They are also nonconsensually inseminated by farmers (Cusack, 2012b). Nonconsensual

insemination is, quite simply, a species/gender/sex neutral term that identifies insemination that occurs without the victim’s consent (Cusack, 2012b). Under the law, animals cannot consent to interspecies sex, which is one reason why bestiality is always illegal. Theoretically, even if animals enjoy sexual activity with humans, they cannot consent to it. Like teenagers, who cannot legally consent to otherwise enjoyable sex with adults, animals cannot consent to having sex with humans under the law. There is no legal recognition of an animal’s sexual consent. Thus, animals can never legally consent to being penetrated or inseminated by humans (Cusack, 2012b). One reason often cited for why animals and children, under many circumstances, are foreclosed from consenting to sex is because our society ostensibly protects vulnerable populations from power disparities involving sexual relations. Control and domination negate the authority required to consent. Rape laws typically explain that any force— whether physical, psychological, or situational—used to obtain consent or achieve penetration constitutes rape. Force is a dynamic of power. Rape can be linked causally to patriarchy. Literature explaining the relationship between patriarchy and rape is plentiful, but one succinct summary might state that patriarchy, which is defined by unequal and unjust power dynamics, plays out in overt displays of control that result in vulnerable populations’ submitting to sexual activity at the discretion and exclusive desire of the dominant party (Laura & Buchanan, 2001). Despite the fact that the subservience of women and animals to men has been documented in history, in the study of language, empirical data, conceptual models, and economic realities, people generally refuse to analogize the rape of female humans and animals (Laura & Buchanan, 2001). As Laura and Buchanan explain, “[t]o suggest that the rape of nature and the rape of women reflect as peers of the same dominant patriarchal socio-cultural tradition of the West is indeed a provocative claim” (Laura & Buchanan, 2001, p. 57). It may be important for feminists to ← 251 | 252 → recognize the literal similarity as well as use the term “rape” to describe the nonconsensual penetration of cows even if some feminists do not believe that human rape and animal rape are identical (Cusack, 2012b). The importance exists not only in vetting feminist ideology and fortifying praxis; the recognition of a broadened definition of female suffering aids in unifying the feminist agenda and strengthening the front against patriarchal tactics. Feminists should argue for the inviolability of all female bodies, rather than condone the government’s authority to dispense with a consent requirement in commercial contexts. If the rule were broadly written and feminists had to choose the side of protection for all vaginas or conditional and contextual governmental regulation of consent for some vaginas, then one would hope that feminists would choose the former. Rape, as an act of control, serves as a metaphor to connect the subjugation of femininity in patriarchy. The use of the term “rape” can move beyond the literal into the metaphorical and philosophical. The metaphorical use of the word does not lighten the literal use. The metaphor can add depth to the use of

the term and another level of complexity to the feminist understanding of how the control of nature connects to patriarchy. In “An Ecofeminist Cassandra,” Francesca Reynolds writes, “[Women’s] capacity for childbearing, our menstrual cycles mirroring the lunar cycle, our patterns of caring for our homes, children and surroundings give us intimate connections with the earth and an instinctive urge to protect it …[A] ‘superiority complex’ has led man to exploit nature believing it belongs to him” (1989). Until recently, men have taken women and the earth because they believed that they were the possessors and everything else was a possession. Humans still take animals’ bodies and sexual by-products because they believe that they can and do own them, and women who participate in this are participating in patriarchy. Lisa Tyler further explains the relationship between dominion of animals and patriarchal violence (2008): Feminists can begin to develop analyses of violence and non-violence which show the connections among kinds of violence: violence against the self…violence against others…violence against the earth…perhaps even global, systemic, economic violence…. This would involve showing ways in which patriarchalism underlies all such kinds of violence and itself breeds violence. (Tyler, 2008)

Since the use of the term “husbandry” is euphemistic language designed by the oppressor to express an acceptable context for nonconsensual penetration and insemination, the use of the word “rape” may serve as a constructive device to counter the word “husbandry.” Where husbandry romanticizes and softens the brutality, the word rape conjures an image of forced sexual penetration. Even so, the term rape fails to identify all of the acts of defilement, deprivation, and objectification ← 252 | 253 → present in husbandry, such as milking, starving, and killing. When feminists do not acknowledge the connections between the dominations and exploitations of female bodies and continue to use the word husbandry, which serves to distance them from their own role in rape and other atrocities and from other female bodies, they “alleviate their guilt” (Laura & Buchanan, 2001). Even though these actions symbolically and literally objectify the female anatomy and motherhood, feminists ignore such damage by classifying animals as “tools” for human pleasure. The acceptability of the linking, the acceptability of the objectification, and the acceptability of ignoring “exist[] because they fall within cultural norms that have been defined by patriarchal values” (Laura & Buchanan, 2001, p. 63). Ecofeminists, who connect feminism and ecological wellness, have long discussed rape of the land or of “mother earth,” which is a universal metaphor (Phillips, 2004). The metaphor and the physicality of rape converge when ecofeminists discuss the rape of animals on dairy farms, and not just the rape of the land. Ecofeminists and feminists may use rape as a literary device and/or as a literal term. As Brittany Shoot insists, “[E]cofeminism is not a rigid belief system but instead incorporates many aspects of feminist activism under one environmentally conscious umbrella” (Shoot, 2010). Though ecofeminists ought to be wary of hypersexual metaphors that restrict women to the role of flowers, fruits, or other

overly sexualized depictions of nature, in this context, the sexual metaphor is purposive, and thus appropriate (Kolodny, 1975). The metaphor can serve to fortify rather than disempower the ecofeminist agenda. Ecofeminists can use the term “rape” to metaphorically describe the destruction of the land. Pollution and the misappropriation of resources no doubt create subsequent trauma for the earth, animals, and people as well (Cusack, 2012a). This would be a second, broader metaphorical context. But the rape of cows and women are distinct from the rape of the earth, and closely resemble each other, in that a vagina/anus is penetrated without the female victim’s consent (Laura & Buchanan, 2001). During animal husbandry, a victim’s vagina and anus are repeatedly penetrated by hands and objects without the victim’s consent, and the victim is routinely nonconsensually inseminated for the purpose of achieving what results from the rape—a living offspring who can be sold, raped, and enslaved (Laura & Buchanan, 2001). Thus, the metaphorical use of the word rape by ecofeminists can help to connect the abuse of the earth, animals, and humans, and simultaneously bolster the literal use of the term, especially insofar as it defines a rapist. Though the victims may change, the general infliction of domination by the “rapist” remains constant between the metaphorical and the literal female and across species of female animals. Irrespective of whether feminists use rape as a metaphor or as a literal description, they ought to contemplate dairy as a feminist issue because it involves the ← 253 | 254 → intentional objectification of femaleness. If feminists recognize the rape of cows and the rape of nature as being similar to the rape of women, then feminists stand to gain. Feminists who recognize the patriarchal abuse inflicted on animals and nature will have an easier time recognizing those same arguments that have been used to subjugate women (Laura & Buchanan, 2001). Arguing that feminists should focus on humans instead of on animals only weakens feminism because this line of logic must concede that a vagina and anus can be appropriated for a commercial purpose without consent (Laura & Buchanan, 2001). Focusing exclusively on humans requires feminists to tacitly accept patriarchal institutions and settle for the victimization of an alternative vagina—the cow’s vagina. Any permissiveness toward the objectification of the vagina whatsoever can potentially weaken feminism. Feminists may argue that feminism is about women, not vaginas, but in the eyes of the oppressor, no doubt, women are oppressed, in part, because of the oppressor’s desire to control vaginas.

Feminist View of Rape: “Other” Animals Most feminists accept animal husbandry and do not see it as rape. The vast majority of feminists, however, do not accept bestiality. Bestiality and husbandry, however, are analogous for many reasons discussed below. The main reason that feminists accept husbandry and not bestiality is that husbandry is legal and normative in that it approaches animal sexuality and reproduction clinically and scientifically,

exploiting it as commodity and emptying out any possibility of erotic encounter. The logic behind this is analyzed infra, and I conclude that the logic is an insufficient justification for feminists’ participation in the dairy industry. Bestiality is prohibited in every state either directly or under cruelty statutes. More than 60% of states specifically outlaw bestiality, but “[e]ven if a state does not specifically proscribe the activity, it may be covered under other aspects of a state’s sex crimes code or even the animal cruelty law” (Wisch, 2008). Since, legally, animals can never consent to sexual activity (as discussed earlier) with a human, sexual contact with an animal can be considered to be cruelty (AS Sec. 11.61.140(a)(6)-(7); Gormally, 2006; Hall, 2005; H.R. 5566, 2010; Muessig, 2009; Sheridan, 2011; Singer, 2001). This overlap between the quasi-property status of animals and the protective role that the government plays in both facilitating sexually exploitive activities that, as I have argued, constitute rape, and shielding both animals and humans from the possibility of erotic relations further calls into question how society draws lines between husbandry, rape, and bestial sex. ← 254 | 255 → Utilitarian scholars, like Peter Singer, have argued that the act of pleasuring an animal ought not to be considered in terms of right or wrong (Singer, 2001). Singer’s philosophical argument lines up with that of the law in the sense that morality is not the underlying rationale for cruelty or bestiality statutes (Singer, 2001). Following Lawrence v. Texas, morality seems to no longer be a legitimate state interest, or if it is, then this interest is weak (2003). Bestiality, which was specifically raised in the dissent by Scalia in comparison to human sodomy, is no longer regulated on a morality basis (Singer, 2001; Wilkins, Christensen, & Selden, 2005): State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding. (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003, pp. 563–564)

Bestiality is largely regulated by cruelty statutes. The state draws a bright line—humans and animals cannot engage in sexual pleasure together. Irrespective of whether it is an immoral “crime against nature” to give an animal pleasure, bestiality is forbidden. Despite what Singer may assert, an animal’s apparent enjoyment, for example, an animal’s affection, turgidity, humping, or orgasm, could not equate with consent (Singer, 2001). A domesticated animal or an animal in captivity could be coaxed, trained, or subtly forced by the need to please the hand that feeds. This dilemma is eliminated by the law, which is clear: even if animals desired to provide or receive pleasure, humans are not to conflate our relationship with animals with the erotic (AS Sec. 11.61.140(a)(6)-(7), 2013). The quasi-property status brings with it a custodial responsibility (one that, contradictorily, of course enables killing), which strictly proscribes sexual partnership between humans and animals. Questions have been raised about

where the strict line begins. Ingrid Newkirk once discussed “making out” with a dog. Anecdotally, humans “kissing” animals does not seem to be where the line begins. Frequently some statutes discuss touching or penetrating genitals, but other cruelty statutes are silent. At any rate, the insertion of an object inside of an animal’s vagina or anus for human or animal pleasure would undoubtedly constitute cruelty. Admittedly, bestiality is distinguishable from husbandry in a number of ways, yet bestiality and animal husbandry nonetheless involve highly similar activities, for example, nonconsensual penetration of the cow’s anus and vagina for the purpose of creating a sexual reaction in the animal, that is, orgasm by the bull, or reproductive reaction by the cow. A crucial difference between bestiality and husbandry is that in bestiality, the effect is to conjure eroticism, and in husbandry, the intended reaction is ← 255 | 256 → mainly procreative. The law cannot outlaw feelings of interspecies eros, only actions. The law permits animal husbandry as an exception/defense to sexual contact with and hence abuse of animals (AS Sec. 11.61.140(a)(6)-(7), 2013). This exception/defense recognizes that animal husbandry violates animals sexually, for example, requires cows to be raped, which is penetration without consent. However, husbandry is treated as exception/defense because it is “accepted” by the farming industry (AS Sec. 11.61.140(a)(6)-(7), 2013). In jurisdictions where bestiality is specifically prohibited or where it is prosecuted under cruelty statutes, statutes frequently state to some effect that “[i]t is a defense to a prosecution under this section that the conduct of the defendant…conformed to accepted veterinary or animal husbandry practices” (AS Sec. 11.61.140(a)(6)-(7), 2013). The government’s implementation of this exception/defense seems like bootstrapping. The government permits the exception/defense simply because the farmers who want to penetrate cows to cause a procreative reaction find it to be an acceptable practice. Another crucial difference, which is intent, appears to be ambiguous, at best. If a man or woman contacts a cow’s vagina with the intent to experience pleasure or cause the cow to experience pleasure, then the contact is considered abusive. But masturbating a bull or fisting a cow, as described above, is entirely legal as long as the farmer does not intend to cause pleasure for pleasure’s sake and is attempting to turn a profit from the by-products that result. In other words, any resulting pleasure on the part of the animal or human must be unintentional, while any displeasure on the part of the animals may be disregarded, that is, would not constitute cruelty, as long as the contact that caused the displeasure is “accepted” by the industry (“A Report on the Accuracy of Net Content Labeling of Milk,” 2013). This logic fails to rationalize the government’s muddy line between cruel, nonconsensual penetration of a cow’s genitals and accepted nonconsensual penetration of a cow’s genitals. Many feminists, like farmers, believe that the treatment of cows in this manner is acceptable¸ which is to say that it is not legitimately rape. Many feminists may feel that the rape of cows is not a feminist

issue because it is not analogous to the rape of humans, even though the widespread rape of millions of animals for their sexual by-products’ commercial benefit is not a reality that feminists should simply accept, ignore, or treat at an arm’s length (Brownmiller, 1975). Feminists may want to ignore the analogy precisely because they believe that comparing female animals to humans damages the feminist movement. But so much literature on the subject of patriarchy stands for the proposition that all subordinates are unified to some extent by their oppressed status. At the very least, feminists need to explore how this tenet includes animals. There may be feminists who outright do not sympathize with cows and will never abandon dairy for any reason, ← 256 | 257 → including selfish reasons (Griffin, 2011). This essay cannot convince them to do so, and may infuriate them. Yet, sooner rather than later, these feminists may want to familiarize themselves with the work of Carol J. Adams and other ecofeminists before finalizing their opinions in order to clear their consciences of the possibility that they are participating in the widespread implementation of patriarchy. There are feminists, who may otherwise be sympathetic to the suffering of animals, who choose to accept this widespread form of sexual enslavement because it is legal and it is “accepted” by their communities, the dairy industry, and the government. Perhaps those who are inclined to be sympathetic toward animal suffering just do not have the gumption to apply feminist philosophy to dairy and swim upstream against convention. Since the law and Western culture accept husbandry, and animals’ commodification and exploitation is so widely unseen, it might be that feminists are not ignoring cows’ suffering as much as they are not making the connection or resisting the privilege and products that are connected to the abuse (Jones, 2011). The reason why each individual feminist (and some ecofeminists) choose to distinguish between the experience of a female cow and a female human in practice is unknown. What is known is that feminists are aware of what milk is, and they are generally aware of how the milk in their yogurt, cheesecakes, and lattes is produced (Jones, 2011). Because they do not know the reality of what exactly happens to cows, they cannot or do not make the connection between feminist platforms and bovine suffering. Since the law enforces female human’s superiority to female cows, and mainstream society encourages feminists to accept the privilege, then some feminists may not only fail to seek out information, but are content to accept the privilege. They may a priori denounce theoretical connections between humans and cows. Generally speaking, vaginal rape, anal rape, and nonconsensual insemination are practices that run contrary to feminist values about the inviolability of the body, female liberation and equality, and treatment of the body (Cusack, 2011). Typically, feminists also may denounce business dealings that involve duress or oppression. It certainly cannot be said that the dairy industry has been cleared by the feminist movement as acceptable and lauded as a feminist mechanism. There is no popular feminist theory stating that dairy is feminist.

Feminist Concerns/Feminist Movement Against Rape and Sexual Slavery in a Nutshell Since the 1970s feminists have studied, protested, and rebelled against sexual oppression that ranged from domestic sexual assault to the international sex trade. Marital rape rates have lowered, and the UN now pressures nations to conform ← 257 | 258 → to standard definitions and measures in the fight against sexual slavery (Alabaster, 2011; “Sexual Trafficking Facts,” n.d.; “Spousal Rape Laws: 20 Years Later,” 2000). Nonetheless, the list of abuse is endless: the average age of females who enter pornography and prostitution is 12 years; about 150 million women have been the victims of female genital mutilation; the trafficking of women and children generates 19 billion dollars annually; about 75% of the 500,000 sexual assaults annually reported in the United States are committed by someone that the victim knows; 90% of child victims of sexual assault know their attackers, who are mostly married or committed men (“Female Genital Mutilation,” 2010; “Informational Resources, Statistics,” n.d.; “Megan’s Law—Facts about Sex Offenders,” n.d.; “Rape and Sexual Assault,” n.d.; “Sexual Trafficking Facts,” n.d.). While these facts paint a sad picture of our world and the struggle that still lies ahead for feminists, the picture of the life of a dairy cow, as described in second section, portrays the general problem that feminists fight against and many of the same problems presented by these statistics. Yet feminists still pay for dairy, still serve it at women’s studies conferences, and continue to ignore the sexual abuse of cows. Using the FBI’s definition of rape, cows and women both suffer rape. Technically speaking, any being with orifices can be raped. If the word “woman” would be substituted with “female” in many feminist sound bites, then statements about the hostile treatment of the female’s vagina and forced sexual labor would still compel feminists to react and fight on behalf of women. If the concept of femaleness, sexual penetration of orifices, and reproductive rights were broadened a bit, then opposition to husbandry might easily fit into mainstream feminism. Such a broadened concept could also elucidate the reality that cows, who are mothers, daughters, and mammalian females, deserve the attention of the feminist movement because they are exploited in a fashion that compares to some of the gravest atrocities committed against humans. There are those feminists who are so strongly speciesist that they would oppose the creation of any interspecies parallel (Hall, 2005). Lee Hall argues why that parallel is drawn by the patriarchy and why it should actually be employed by those ecofeminists who support the notion that the treatment of cows is a feminist issue: In an essay written at the dawn of the modern women’s movement, Alice Walker described pornography depicting African-American women as resembling nonhuman animals and even excrement

—connecting all three. Readers might have found that Walker’s observations cast a disturbing pall over their personal lives as they began to awaken to the everyday distortions of human relations within a patriarchal society. In light of the connections Alice Walker makes, Catharine Mackinnon’s comment that the human–animal dichotomy is only one step removed from the animate-inanimate division becomes especially stark. In our ← 258 | 259 → society, in which animals are widely considered food products, to see the sexual object as nonhuman is one step removed from the consumption and elimination of that object (Hall, 2005). In the context of husbandry, where a vagina is used as an object because it is a vagina, where a teat is abused for profit because it is a teat, and where a baby is starved and slaughtered because it is its mother’s baby, the parallel is both literal and philosophical.

Praxis Feminists, who have, most basically, challenged patriarchal notions of proprietorship of sexual organs, should not only eliminate dairy from their own lifestyles and practice strict veganism, they should actively encourage feminist groups to eliminate dairy from feminist events, and strive to incorporate ecofeminist attitudes and perspectives into their feminist activism, praxis, and analysis. The connection between the abuse of animals and humans is so well established in ecofeminist, feminist, and criminal justice literature that an educated and eco-conscious feminist would almost have to intentionally avoid studying or discussing the connection. Feminist scholars gain little, if anything, by depriving themselves or their audiences of insight into the connection. Feminists should take professional, personal, and professional responsibility for demonstrating the global importance of abstaining from all harm to any animal. Discussion of gender differences in attitudes toward animals requires much more study in the context of factory farming and systemic abuse of the bovine species. Feminists ought to get their hands dirty with the literature and analyze how patriarchy correlates with sexual abuse of animals and consider how greater awareness, activism, education, and praxis among the general population—and not just among feminists—can lead to the elimination of sexual abuse among cows and bulls.

Conclusion The dairy industry is nothing short of the organized, large-scale rape of cows. The majority of mainstream feminists have failed to recognize this, as well as the connection that exists between women and cows. Feminists must not remain disconnected from the truths about “otherness” and patriarchy, but must boycott dairy as a part of their feminist praxis and politics. Failing to do so would ignore the

ground covered by feminists that clearly demonstrates that patriarchal oppression is not unidirectional or solely existent in male-on-female crime. ← 259 | 260 →

References Alabaster, O. (2011, November 24). Rights group slams removal of marital rape clause from law. The Daily Star. Retrieved from Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory (AIPL). (2011, December 5). Facts about cows. AIPL: “Kid’s Corner.” Retrieved from ( Apley, M., & Hilton, M. W. (2003, August 1). Stress-relieving weaning strategies. Beef Magazine. Retrieved from ( Beirne, P. (2009). Confronting animal abuse: Law, criminology, and human-animal relationships. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield. Born Free USA. (n.d.). Get the facts: The destructive dairy industry. Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our will: Men, women, and rape. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 8. Chai Online. (2013). Dairy cows. Retrieved from ( CowDoc. (2005). Our perspective of lameness in dairy cows has to change. Retrieved from ( Cusack, C. M. (2011). Consensual insemination, an analysis of social deviance within gender, family, or the home (Etudes 6). Journal of Law & Social Deviance, 2, 158–190. Cusack, C. M. (2012a). Death revolution: Eating the dead to save our world. Journal of Environmental & Animal Law, 2, 37–72. Cusack, C. M. (2012b). Nonconsensual insemination: Battery. Journal of Law & Social Deviance, 3, 78–141. Delft Blue: A Passion for Excellence. (n.d.). Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2012, January 6). Attorney general Eric Holder announces revisions to the uniform crime report’s definition of rape. Data reported on rape will better reflect state criminal codes, victim experiences. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from ( Federal Trade Commission (FTC). (2013). A report on the accuracy of net content labeling of milk. Retrieved from (

Gormally, L. (2006). The crisis over the institution of marriage and contemporary bioethics. Ave Maria Law Review, 4, 547. Grandin, T. (2012). Recommended captive bolt stunning techniques for cattle. Retrieved from ( Griffin, K. (2011, September 20). Pants off. Shout! Factory, 29, 30–33:30 min. Hall, L. (2005). Interwoven threads: Some thoughts on professor Mackinnon’s essay of mice and men. University of California Los Angeles Women’s Law Journal, 14, 163. H.R. 5566 (2010). Humane Facts. (2013). Meet the animals. Retrieved from ( ← 260 | 261 → Initiative against Sexual Trafficking. (n.d.). Sexual trafficking facts. Jones, P. (2011). Sister species: Women, animals and social justice (L.A. Kemmerer, Ed.) Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. Kolodny, A. (1975). The lay of the land: Metaphor as experience and history in American life and letters. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Laura, R. S., & Buchanan, R. (2001). Towards an epistemology of ecofeminism. Education Research and Perspectives, 28, 57. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 563–564 (2003). Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives. (2013). Dairy cow lameness. Retrieved from ( Matthews, D. (2009, April 2). Challenging the law on behalf of animals. Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Muessig, B. (2009, December 19). Teen arrested for having sex with horses at race track. Gothamist. Retrieved from ( Natterson-Horowit, B., & Bowers, K. (2012). Zoobiquity: What animals can teach us about health and the science of healing. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopff. NBC News. (2006, July 20). Dairy farmers drive bull market in cattle semen: Artificial insemination grows as industry focuses on safety, production. Retrieved from ( No safe place: Violence against women. (n.d.). Rape and sexual assault. Retrieved from ( Nutrition Facts. (2013). How much pus is there in milk? Retrieved from (

Office of the Attorney General. (n.d.). Megan’s Law—facts about sex offenders. Retrieved from ( St. §1114. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. (2011). Inside the Indian dairy industry: A report on the abuse of cows and buffaloes exploited for milk. Retrieved from ( People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). (2013a). The Dairy Industry. Retrieved from ( People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). (2013b). Veal: A byproduct of the cruel dairy industry. Retrieved from ( Philip, L. (2005). Feeding pre-weaned veal calves during winter months: Understanding calf metabolism and milk replacers. Queen’s Printer. Retrieved from ( Phillips, B. (2004). The rape of mother earth in seventeenth century English poetry: An ecofeminist interpretation. Atlantis, 26, 49–60. Pirelli, G., & Zollinger, W. A. (1993). Weaning management for calves. Oregon State University. Retrieved from ( ← 261 | 262 → Reynolds, F. (1989). An ecofeminist Cassandra -- Rape of the wild By Andree Collard with Joyce Contrucci. Women and Environments, 11, 24. Saeng, C. (2013). Chapter 17. Gyeongsang National University. Sargeant, J. M., Blackwell, T. E., Martin, S. W., & Tremblay, R. R. (1994). Production practices, calf health and mortality on six white veal farms in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, 58(3), 188–195. Self Sufficiency in Style. (n.d.). Animal farm: Cattle for milk. Shearer, J. K. (2010). Lameness in dairy cattle: Consequences and causes. University of Minnesota. Retrieved from ( Sheridan, M. (2011, February 21). Florida man Tomas Bautista busted for sexually assaulting Chihuahua: Police. NY Daily News. Retrieved from ( Shoot, B. (2010, January 25). The biotic woman: Intro to ecofeminism. DigiBitch. Retrieved from (

Singer, P. (2001). Heavy petting. Nerve. Retrieved from ( State of South Dakota v. Klaudt. (2009). SD 71; 772 N.W.2d 117; 2009 S.D. LEXIS 139 (2009). Toronto Vegetarian Association. (2005, March 16). Cow’s milk: A natural choice? Stress, antibiotics, mastitis, and pus. Retrieved from Tyler, L. (2008). How beautiful the virgin forests were before the loggers came: An ecofeminist reading of Hemingway’s ‘The End of Something.’ The Hemingway Review, 27(2), 60–73. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2012). AG 101: Milking parlors. Retrieved from ( Vandermark, N. L., Salisbury, G. W., & Boley, L. E. (1951). Pregnancy interruption and breeding techniques in the artificial insemination of cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 35(3), 219–223. Veronica’s Voice. (n.d.). Informational resources, statistics. Retrieved from ( Victim Policy Pipeline. (2000). Spousal rape laws: 20 years later. Retrieved from ( Welchmen, D. D., & Baust, G. N. (1987). A survey of abomasal ulceration in veal calves. The Veterinary Record, 121(25–26), 586–590. Wilkins, R. G., Christensen, T., & Selden, E. (2005). Adult sexual desire and the best interests of the child. Saint Thomas Law Review, 18(543), 547–549, n. 19. Wilmoth Farms. (2009, March 7). Cow psychology. Retrieved from ( Wisch, R. F. (2008). Overview of state bestiality laws. Animal legal and historical center. Retrieved from ( World Health Organization. (2010). Female genital mutilation. Retrieved from ( Youroffsky, G. (2009, February 11). Food connections to social issues. Florida International University. Retrieved from (

← 262 | 263 →

Part VI Decolonizing ← 263 | 264 →

← 262 | 263 →

Part VI Decolonizing ← 263 | 264 →

← 264 | 265 →


Ecological Indigenous Foodways and the Healing of All Our Relations CLAUDIA SERRATO

In discussing critical animal liberties, food and health an ecological indigenous justice framework or lens is crucial, for it provides a practical community-determined pathway, liberating living species and earth-centered eco-cosmologies particularly the human body from food-related diseases. As an academic I have been trained to report research findings using a linear nonrelational method which is viewed as the proper way of presenting research which is inextricably linked to European imperialism and coloniality (Smith, 1999). Therefore, as a Xicana Indigena accountable to all my relations (land, water, animals, seeds, and human bodies) this chapter is written through an indigenous research paradigm, which places indigena beliefs and principles or epistemology in the frontline by implementing a decolonial methodology of storytelling (Smith, 1999; Wilson, 2008). Did you know that prior to the arrival of those on floating boats in the lands today we call Mexico geographic foodways or gastronomias were fruitfully diverse and abundant with hundreds of colorful fruits, vegetables, legumes, flora, and slithering, winged and small two- and fourlegged creatures? Human bodies were physically fit and ate sustainably, for calpullis or working

communities’ gathered, cultivated, harvested, grinded, and preserved foods such as maize, beans, calavasitas, jitomates, aguacates, chiles, semolina, pumpkin, amaranto y chia seeds. Land, sky, and water animals including insect flesh were eaten sparingly, seasonally, and ceremonially like wild turkeys, ducks, birds, rabbit, armadillos, turtles, snakes, lake fish, ← 265 | 266 → frogs, bees, and larvae de maguey (Coe, 1994; Super, 1988). Nonetheless, the daily comidas were predominantly plant and maize based. Some popular meals we enjoy today such as tamales, pozole, caldo, tacos, and atole did not have heavy flesh in them. Tamales were stuffed with tomates, tadpoles, fruits, toasted grasshoppers, cactus, and algae. Pozole was made with fresh chiles, mushrooms, and hominy. Soups were floating gardens tasteful, delicious, and highly nutritious. Caldos were of papa, chayote, roots, corn, frijoles, and chilmolli. Tacos were not only made by hand but were stuffed with huitlacoche, nopales, and ahuatli. Heavy flesh foods were not a large or major part of the daily peoples’ diets. It was foods grown from the land. Then one day, a man appeared wearing a white button up coat with a funny long white mushroom top hat. He gathered the cocineras, healers of the plant- and maize-based ecological eating communities and told them that their foods were tasteless, inferior, and at the bottom of the patriarchal food hierarchy (Adams, 1999). Apparently, this man was a culinary imperialist chef from the European nation bound to the survival of the white skinned self-proclaimed nobility who were scheduled to attend la comida ceremony of the day (Pilcher, 1998). He infiltrated the cultural foods by adding his peoples’ desired daily meats or corpse such as beef, pig, lamb, chicken, milk, cheese, and eggs along with sugar, high salts, and processed grains to accommodate the uninvited guests appetites, egos, macho and feminizing pleasures, white superior complexities, and nonaccountable mentalities to earth-centered cosmologies (Flandrin & Montanari, 1999; Ochoa, 2000; Pilcher, 1998). This invasion was a catastrophe. Fields of Tonanztin’s seasonal, organic, wild, natural, non-pesticidic, floating gardens and milpas, along with the comidas, indigena bodies y cocinas were infiltrated and occupied by colonial foods, taste, and disease. Luckily, the ancestors of this time, women and their families, revolted and protested by not eating the invasive mass-produced foods by re-membering their kitchen tools such as the molcajete, el metate, el comal y ollas de barro, and of course their plant- and maize-based ecofoodways. Connected to the land many people took a stance despite the encomienda, hacienda y feudal plans that forcefully enslaved the indigena: physically, mentally, spiritually, and gastronomically, meaning that the panaderias, carnicerias, lecherias, and sugar and wheat mills had no competition against comidas in rebeldia.

Masculinist food paradigms and industries responsible for neoliberal policies such as CONASUPO, The Green Revolution, Monocultures of modernity, NAFTA and Corporate entities continue disrupting nutritious Indigenous intercropping farming and accessibility in living harmoniously with Tonanztin, a feminine food principle of cooperation and nurturing relations (Barndt, 2008; Ochoa, 2000; Shiva, 1989). This attempted feminization of the land, the idea that she is for the taking, has flourished to some degree but the people and their comidas throughout pueblos ← 266 | 267 → and rural geographies in Mexico, Central, South and North America continue to consume an indigenized way of eating which is one that does not include heavy meats, milk, cheese, eggs, sugar, salt and market shelf foods as a daily ritual, in other words, rejecting colonial nutritional rules (Aldrich & Variyam, 2000). These foods have been idealized as food for the rich yet masculinized to feminize the other, la otra comida consisting of beans, rice and tortillas de maize. These simple yet nutritious comidas are not foods for the oppressed but of the free bodily gastronomies, for comida[s] cannot be removed, displaced, or replaced (Esteva & Suri Prakash, 1998). As a result, these bodies, as countless medical studies release, do not become prone or occupied with colonial dis-ease: cardiovascular, obesity, cancer and diabetes. Ecological food justice occurs by re-membering Tonanztin and staying away from globalized, mass-producing, food servicing industries that market a heavily based diet full of grease creating a gluttonous, eco-terrorist society, which annihilates traditional plant- and maize-based gastronomies. Concurrently, pulled out of the ecosystem, a self-organized complexity of interconnected living and breathing species, animals are brutally slaughtered in the millions each week, are infested with hormones and full of dis-ease (Torres, 2007). Domesticated and oppressed by confinement, they are grown and raised unnaturally by not following the seasons nor the ecology of the land. As a result, wild species that roam freely like the mountain lion and coyote are violated as their lives are ended for trespassing unto private industry property (Torres, 2007). Thousands of gallons of fresh water resources are being depleted to grow Monsanto genetically modified corn and wheat seeds which is then force fed to turkeys, cows, pigs, and geese (Shiva, 2007). Supersized and artificially colored butchered packaged meats sold with subsidies makes purchasing these foods easy to eat, creating a cultural ignorance or carnism of the violent domination, exploitation and environmental degradation of the real costs involved in assembly line, industrialized commodified food chains (Nestle, 2007; Torres, 2007). Aqua-creatures no longer grow to maturity, for they are abundantly overfished and instead are harvested in polluted bacteria ridden, man-made rounded

puddles of streams, for ground, fresh and salt waters are not only mercury ridden but are chemically unsanitary or completely depleted (Torres, 2007). And guess who is working in these animal slaughter factories and fish farms? Overexploited people of indigena ancestry who were pushed off their homelands, forced to join the market economy all due to the increase of the privatization of lands by corporate entities, global tourism, restaurants, and hospitality (Gonzalez, 2004). Now these foods are bought and sold to global fast food chains, like Mickey Dees and international markets which are provided all year long including foodstuff like dairy. Since when do female cows, wet-nurses, or any females at that provide milk so consistently? They are connected to machines all day long ← 267 | 268 → and forced to give and not receive not even a day with their younglings. Industrialized, animalized, and feminized proteins’ mass production followed by mass consumption is not an indigenous way of eating in solidarity with the ecological communities (Adams, 1999). Eating to survive means eating for the next seven generations to live and in order for this to manifest food habits need to be addressed through an ecological indigenous food justice lens which is accountable to all of our relations and not through ecological imperialist beliefs which do not respect and protect the sovereignty, integrity and ecological spaces of other species…[for] capitalist patriarchy thus defines creation and nature as raw material, and acts of domination, destruction and exploitation (Shiva, 2005). Luckily, people from below and to the left, those who migrate from one end of one world to another have maintained the balance of eating, for the body itself and its everyday habits, such as eating beans and chiles…become the mobile country and the embodied memory bank that is, in traditional cultures, accessed through the natural landscape (Perez, 2006). At food distribution centers, fresh produce and fruits are sold abundantly to immigrant communities (Alvarez, 2005). Eating staple foods sustain peace and ecological order, strengthens cultural identity and shortens health gap disparities. Transnational migrant communities are living longer, are healthier, and suffer less of dis-ease all due to re-membering a traditional way of eating (Hayes-Bautista, 2004). At the kitchen table, a nepantla battle-ground, I observed wombyn wholistic ways of cooking and through charlas culinarias compartimos recipes and enjoyed plant-based cultural comidas like mole de papas, enchiladas de espinacas, caldo de habas y tacos de flor de calabaza (Abarca, 2006). Borderless boundary zones I came to see exist in their places turned into spaces of liberation, power, and bodily sensory ways of knowing (Abarca, 2006). Feminized senses or subjective measuring has been determined to mean not a thing cause objective perspectives, the

eyes and hearing is a masculinized concept rejecting truthful bodies, la mujer cocinera, a living theory in the flesh. Preparing comidas by cutting: touch, smelling: scent, and tasting: knowing. Relational accountability, a dance with the elements: land, water, fire, and air prepared with foods from Tonanztin’s jardin. Herbas buenas y sazon: metamorphosis of the raw edible foods into gastronomic culinary artes. Sustainable foodways reindigenize our Aztlan, a temple, land and a dis-membered coyolxauqui brown moon body—a sovereign entity. Acculturation and assimilation is inclusive of a marketed Westernized food strategy, which is no different than a blanket full of small pox dis-ease. Let me reiterate: cardiovascular, obesity, cancer, and diabetes are not natural and neither is eating three full size meals daily. Gastronomias during the precolonial days consisted of la comida and sustenance drinks, like xocolate, atole, and maize. ← 268 | 269 → Ecological and healing foodways exist and not only in domestic spaces but in urban regional locations. Mexican Plant-Based Restaurants, Proyectos Jardines and even blogs such as Decolonial Food for Thought are spreading seeds of knowledge by advocating and putting into action the practice of the full autonomy in the organic chain of life by eating to survive, cultivating the land with indigenous holistic perspectives, maintaining earth’s skin, soil fertility, protecting bio-crop diversity, participating in community-supported agriculture, preserving seeds, cooking and dispensing critical cultural food her-stories and not just for today but for the next seven generations of our families (Esteva & Suri Prakash, 1998). As a caracol that swirls metaphysically into higher vibrations, dimensions, and oppositional consciousness, it is time to complete a full circle in sharing this story not of green capitalism or of lifestyle classism but of decolonization, restoration, detoxification, culinary healing pedagogy, and community relational accountability. It is possible to eat and live without dis-ease and speciesism by re-membering ancestral ecological, cosmological earth-centered gastronomies which are natural ways of healing. To all of our relations.

References Abarca, M. (2006). Voices in the kitchen: Views of food and the world from press, working-class Mexican and Mexican American women. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press Consortium. Adams, C. (1999). The sexual politics of meat: A feminist-vegetarian critical theory. New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing.

Aldrich, L., & Variyam, J. (2000). Acculturation erodes the diet quality of U.S. Hispanics. Food Review, 23, 51–55. Alvarez, R. (2005). Mangos, chiles and truckers: The business of transnationalism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Barndt, D. (2008). Tangled routes: Women, work and globalization on the tomato trail. New York, NY: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. Coe, S. (1994). America’s first cuisines. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Esteva, G., & Suri Prakash, M. (1998). Grassroots post-modernism: Remaking the soil of cultures. New York, NY: Zed Books. Flandrin, J., & Montanari, M. (1999). Food: A culinary history. New York, NY: Penguin Group. Gonzalez, G. (2004). Culture of empire. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Hayes-Bautista, D. (2004). La nueva California: Latinos in the golden state. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. ← 269 | 270 → Nestle, M. (2007). Food politics: How the food industry influences nutrition and health. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Ochoa, E. (2000). Feeding Mexico: The political uses of food since 1910. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources. Pilcher, J. (1998). Que vivan los tamales! Food and the making of Mexican identity. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. Shiva, V. (1989). Staying alive: Women, ecology and development. London: Zed Books. Shiva, V. (2005). Earth democracy. Cambridge, MA South End Press. Shiva, V. (2007). Manifestos on the future of food and seed. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. Smith, L. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous studies. New York, NY: Zed Books. Super, J. (1988). Food, conquest, and colonization in sixteenth-century Spanish America. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. Torres, B. (2007). Making a killing: The political economy of animal rights. Oakland, CA: AK Press. Wilson, S. (2008). Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing.

← 270 | 271 →


“Where Is the Seat for the Buffalo?” Placing Nonhuman Animals in the Idle No More Movement ADAM J. FIX

Introduction Within a social movement like Idle No More, which represents a great diversity of people, dominant narratives inevitably form. These narratives both guide the expectations of the movement and its members as well as simplify the movement’s message for external consumption. The great confluence of disparate elements that emerges, though necessary for communication and cooperation, can be seen as a kind of stereotype. The simplified narrative, carried within a cultural vehicle, is used to drive the adoption of shared goals across groups. Yet the narrative exists tenuously, subject to internal tension as much as agreement. “The reality is that [the Idle No More founders] are not qualified to speak out on behalf of people living in the tar sands, or the First Nation in B.C. […] or the people from Barriere Lake Algonquin Nation,” says Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “You can’t say any one group represents all First Nations in this country” (Plecash, 2013).

Just as the founders of the movement are not qualified to represent all other groups in an overarching Idle No More narrative, so too am I unqualified to present the ideology of Idle No More in such a fashion. Neither they nor I are aware of but a small percentage of the myriad intricacies of culture at play within the movement. Approaching that realization with humility, honesty, and curiosity is, accordingly, ← 271 | 272 → the first step toward an inquiry that seeks to examine both the tension and cohesion of a movement—an inquiry that digs deeper than the stereotype, but will ultimately and inevitably fall short of a comprehensive or universal explanation. Of course, this chapter can only hope to scratch the surface of the deep cultural roots of the movement and its relationship with nonhuman animals. As such, the methods chosen to begin this conversation are varied, and include: a speciesist critique of the movement, case studies of nonhuman animal imagery, a look at nonhuman animals threatened by oil sands development, an examination of the links between ecological and spiritual degradation, and an attempt to build connections between a very few of the many different “ways of knowing” that are present within Idle No More. These methods have led me to rely heavily on the words of individuals involved on the ground with Idle No More. To even begin to gather information on the worldviews expressed by a particular group of people, it makes sense to use the words of the people themselves. Too often, critics remark, scholarship on the native experience declines to quote native people (Deloria, 1997). In an effort to frame these remarks in a holistic way, I work to build comparative frameworks with the ideas of past native and non-native thinkers.

What Is Idle No More? “The thread of differences that unites indigenous perspectives provides further elaboration of what Thomas Berry calls a ‘communion of subjects,’” writes John Grim (2006, p. 377). Indeed, the following survey of the words of Idle No More activists yields multiple perspectives under the banner of one movement. The movement’s mission statement reads, “Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water” ( Gyasi Ross (2013a) writes, “the Indigenous resistance to the raping and pillaging of the Earth is not new … the #IdleNoMore movement is simply the latest chapter in that resistance.” According to Ross (2013), this suggests the movement is about protecting the earth “from the carnivorous and capitalistic spirit that wants to exploit … the land.”

He sums up the movement in a few sentences: “It’s about clean water. It’s about clean air. It’s about safety for all women. It’s about making a positive change in our communities” (Ross, 2013). Wab Kinew (2012), director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg and Idle No More organizer, writes that Idle No More was, at its inception “a loosely knit political movement encompassing rallies drawing thousands of people across dozens of cities, road blocks, a shoving match on Parliament Hill between chiefs and mounties and one high profile hunger strike [held by Chief ← 272 | 273 → Theresa Spence].” Idle No More has now expanded, Kinew (2012) says, to include ideals such as “engaging youth,” “finding meaning,” “aboriginal rights,” “the environment,” and “democracy.” Niganwewidam Sinclair notes that “[Idle No More] has really been a refining of leadership, and a focus on local communities and those communities sharing with one another amongst social media but also around conversation” (Sinclair, 2013). The issues remain, according to Sinclair (2013), “land and resource management.” Pam Palmater (2013), a Mi’kmaq lawyer, professor, and director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, writes that Idle No More “represent[s] Canadians’ last best hope of stopping Canada from mass destruction of our shared lands, waters, plants and animals.” It is a responsibility of the First Nations people, she claims, arguing that “Idle No More arises from our responsibility to live up to the sacrifices of our ancestors and to the duty we have as guardians of the earth and to the expectations [that] our children and grandchildren have of us to protect them” (Palmater, 2013). The movement was born out of a Saskatoon rally against Bill C-45, the Canadian government’s 2012 fall budget implementation act (Plecash, 2013). It began quietly in early October with rallies and teach-ins, and quickly spread across the country (Sheedy, 2013). The movement describes its beginning succinctly: Idle No More began with 4 ladies; Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon & Sheelah McLean who felt it was urgent to act on current and upcoming legislation that not only affects our First Nations people but the rest of Canada’s citizens, lands and waters… All 4 women knew that this was a time to act, as [Bill C-45] and other proposed legislation would affect not only Indigenous people but also the lands, water and the rest of Canada. (

Bill C-45, which passed on December 14, 2012, amends the Fisheries Act, the Canada Labour Code, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Indian Act, and the Navigation Protection Act (formerly Navigable Waters Protection Act) (CBC News, 2013). Idle No More activists are

most concerned about amendments of the latter three acts, as they say they will drastically reduce protection of the land and water, as well as allowing native land, formerly community-owned, to be individually parceled and leased or surrendered. The passing of Bill C-45 results in “the removal of all waterways protections in Canada, leaving only 1% protected,” says Idle No More co-founder Nina Wilson. CBC News reports that under the Navigation Protection Act, “major pipeline and power line project advocates aren’t required to prove their project won’t damage or destroy a navigable waterway it crosses, unless the waterway is on a list” (CBC News, 2013). Movement co-founder Sheelah McLean adds, “It’s so clear what the government is doing: the bill opens the land for resource ← 273 | 274 → development, and for oil pipelines” (van Gelder, 2013). McLean and others in Idle No More point to the development of the Alberta oil sands region as the specific impetus for the passage of Bill C-45. On December 11, 2012, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence launched a hunger strike in Ottawa, near Parliament Hill. She demanded a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a representative of the Queen of England to discuss First Nations treaty agreements (Madondo, 2012). The hunger strike brought international media attention to the Idle No More movement, as Chief Spence subsisted on water, tea, and fish broth until ending the strike on January 24 because of the signing of a declaration of commitment, which partially addressed her concerns. During Spence’s hunger strike and subsequent hospitalization, the Idle No More movement swept across North America, resulting in a string of flash mob-style round dances and protests (Bogado, 2013). During this formative period, the media focused on indigenous rights, women’s rights—due to the prominent female leaders—and environmental protection. Much less notice, however, was paid to the place of nonhuman animals within the movement. The attention that has been given to sensitive issues such as race, gender, and the environment indicates the potential for including the animal, but the topic has been largely ignored. A poem appearing in the journal Decolonization provided early evidence that nonhuman animals could play an important role in Idle No More (Wong, 2013). In it, Rita Wong names influential indigenous leaders and activists in the same sentence as various other species, as beings that “we need to align ourselves with”: “Wab and Harsha and Clayton and Eriel and eider ducks and water bears/ Takaiya and Roxanna and Glen and David and wolves and whales” (Wong, 2013). The poem indicates that Idle No More is a unique and powerful lens from which nonhuman animal issues may be critically examined, but also begs the question: do other animals really play a leadership role in the movement?

Reading comments from Onondaga faithkeeper Oren Lyons (2003), it becomes apparent that many indigenous cultures believe that other animals matter on a political level. Invited to speak before the United Nations in 1977, Lyons (2003) recalls his message: For a short time we stood as equal among the people and the nations of the world. And what was the message that we gave? There is a hue and cry for human rights—human rights, they said, for all people. And the indigenous people said: What of the rights of the natural world? Where is the seat for the buffalo or the eagle? Who is representing them here in this forum? […] We said: Given this opportunity to speak in this international forum, then it is our duty to say that we must stand for these people, and the natural world and its rights; and also for the generations to come. We would not fulfill our duty if we did not say that. ← 274 | 275 →

Lyons’ query was meant as a wakeup call to the United Nations, an organization that he clearly viewed as anthropocentric. Three and a half decades later, what does the most prominent indigenous social movement have to say about our relationships with other animals? Ultimately, in that conversation, is there a seat for the buffalo or the eagle?

Speciesism Idle No More adopts overtly anti-racist and anti-sexist positions, as seen in the writings of prominent activists within the movement, but an anti-speciesist position has yet to be explicated. Speciesism is a complex term, and has been interpreted differently in various contexts, leading to a somewhat nebulous sense of the word. In The Specter of Speciesism: Buddhist and Christian Views of Animals, Paul Waldau provides a “working definition” of the term: “Speciesism is the inclusion of all human animals within, and the exclusion of all other animals from, the moral circle” (Waldau, 2002, p. 38). The “moral circle” can be analogous to one’s community. As S. R. L. Clark notes, “The commonest moral distinction, historically speaking, is between those creatures that are part of our own community (whether strictly human or not) and those that are outsiders” (Waldau, 2002, p. 51). The term “speciesism” has of course been criticized by various philosophers, providing what Waldau calls “an important corrective to excessive reliance on the analogies to racism and sexism,” but the criticisms often “fail to focus on the usefulness of the anti-speciesism critique as a descriptive tool for what has happened in history” (Waldau, 2002, p. 55). Taken as such, the practice of examining speciesist actions allows us to closely analyze the makeup of our moral community.

Waldau outlines three “essential concerns” that define whether one can be considered to be inside or outside of a moral circle, paraphrased as: (1) an obligation not to kill (qualified to exclude immediate and unreasonable danger to others), (2) freedom from interruption of life by harmful instrumental use, and (3) freedom from direct, intentional infliction of (unnecessary) harm, pain, or suffering (Waldau, 2002, p. 39). An analysis of these concerns in the context of the Idle No More movement reveals that we may, in a limited sense, regard Idle No More as speciesist. This statement centers on the holistic view of nonhuman animals present in many of the worldviews that undergird Idle No More, in which other animals may be killed for the benefit of humans—a violation of the first essential concern. Chief Theresa Spence’s widely publicized reliance on fish broth during her hunger strike is an example of a speciesist action by Idle No More activists. In addition, arguments by activists that glorify subsistence fishing traditions in order to condemn environmental degradation could be labeled speciesist. ← 275 | 276 → But a focus on the acceptance of killing some animals within indigenous worldviews as speciesist distracts from the “usefulness of the anti-speciesism critique as a descriptive tool for what has happened in history” that Waldau emphasizes (Waldau, 2002, p. 55). When used in a comparative critique, we may be less inclined to label the movement speciesist, since it opposes a Western civilization that is much more prone to violating the three “essential concerns” of speciesism as presented above. Haudenosaunee scholar John Mohawk, for example, views the commodification of the natural world as an assault on his moral community: The Western culture has been horribly exploitative and destructive of the Natural World. Over one hundred forty species of birds and animals were utterly destroyed since the European arrival in the Americas, largely because they were unusable in the eyes of the invaders… The vast herds of herbivores were reduced to mere handfuls; the buffalo nearly became extinct. (Akwesasne Notes, 2005, p. 89)

Mohawk continues: “Our essential message to the world is a basic call to consciousness … The technologies and social systems that have destroyed the animals and the plant life are also destroying the Native people” (Akwesasne Notes, 2005, p. 90). Mohawk’s statements point toward a holistic sense of the term “moral circle,” in which the term “circle” could be understood as equally as important as “moral.” The ethic at play here views the world as a circular, naturallyreplenishing entity which provides equally for all species; from this standpoint, human subsistence on fish broth is seen as natural in the same sense as the wolf hunting the deer. “The soil is rich from the bones of thousands of our generations,” Mohawk writes. “We deeply understand our

relationship to all living things” (Akwesasne Notes, 2005, p. 86). In Black Elk Speaks, John Neihardt (1988) summarizes Nicholas Black Elk’s discussion of “the sacred hoop”: “Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in a circle, for theirs is the same religion as ours” (p. 156). Perhaps it is this holistic outlook that is responsible for the lack of an overt nonhuman animalfocused message in the Idle No More movement. If one regards other sentient beings as part of the land, and also regards parts of the land as sentient, distinctions between “animal” and “environment” quickly blur. Further, by viewing one’s “moral circle” as, literally, circular, moral focus on the individual is de-emphasized in favor of moral attention to relationships. Thus we see moral consideration as a “triangulated” affair between humans, natural forces, and other animals (Grim, 2006, p. 381). “Understanding the world through a relationship framework… we don’t see ourselves, our communities, or our species as inherently superior to any other,” says BlackCherokee writer Zainab Amadahy, “but rather see our roles and ← 276 | 277 → responsibilities to each other as inherent to enjoying our life experience” (Walia, 2012). The difficulty of communicating this worldview to a Western culture focused on a hierarchy of individuals, and not on relationships, may be another reason for the underrepresentation of nonhuman animals in Idle No More. Sheelah McLean, one of Idle No More’s four founders, believes Idle No More can contribute to the struggle against speciesism. Clearly, the Idle No More movement has the potential to adopt an anti-speciesist position, despite the continued reliance on some traditions that would presently be viewed as speciesist. The tension at play here is not due to a lack of compassion for the morethan-human world; rather, the tension results from a fundamental clash between indigenous subsistence traditions and Western culture. We may therefore wish to overlook any speciesist predilections of the movement in favor of an emphasis on the common ground between Idle No More and the animal rights/liberation movement. The next section, which examines nonhuman animal imagery in Idle No More, provides further evidence that the movement maintains, at a fundamental and integral level, a compassionate and respectful view of other animals.

Bear Imagery in Idle No More The Idle No More movement has consistently utilized bear imagery. Bears have been invoked in logos, on protest signs, in photos posted to social media, and within select narratives. These

images are simultaneously literal and symbolic, bringing bears into the dialogue on various levels: as allies, mascots, and beings in need of aid. One of the main logos of Idle No More, often displayed in the movement’s social media channels. It features a grizzly bear print colored red and adorned with three black feathers. This is the first instance of a connection between bear, bird, and human, which will be discussed in later sections of this essay. Though various images and illustrations are presented here, the bear print is clearly the focal point of the protest. In these images, the bear print is presented, both in style and color, in a fashion similar to the iconic “raised fist,” which signifies power from the ground up and solidarity with the oppressed. The Idle No More movement does use a raised fist holding an eagle feather as a logo as well, as discussed elsewhere in this chapter. Collectively, these images offer an entry point into a discussion of the role of the bear, and human-bear relations, in Idle No More. These images have symbolic roots in many disparate indigenous cultures. One example is found in the work of George Bird Grinnell, who noted the Blackfeet word “O-kits-iks” was used to describe a bear paw but could also be used to describe a human hand (Grinnell, 1920). Another is the Southern Ute Bear Dance, the “oldest known ← 277 | 278 → continuous dancing tradition in North America,” which encourages healing, rejuvenation, and reciprocity (Pritchett, 2012). There are many, many other examples that could be used here, which suggests a connection between indigenous societies and bears that spans great distances and cultural divides.

Feather Imagery in Idle No More Idle No More’s bear paw logo contains feathers, and indeed feathers are perhaps the most prominent animal-related image in Idle No More. Oren Lyons (2010) holds that feathers symbolize a mutualistic relationship between humans and birds: the feather with Indian people, as you know, is very important for us, and the reason why is that birds have an important role in the discussion of everyday life. They tell you a lot of things. If you learn their language, they’ll tell you what they are saying […] You get to appreciate that, and to recognize them as friends and as partners in life. (Lyons, 2010)

Feather images foreground the importance of the bird in Idle No More discussions. The possible intelligibility of bird language need not be interpreted as merely a spiritual or metaphysical statement. Though humans may not have the ability to speak the same dialect as the bird, we still possess the ability to communicate with other species in deep and meaningful ways.

David Abram (1996) examines this concept at length in The Spell of the Sensuous, arguing that the spread of “alphabetic culture” led to “the profoundly detached view of nature that was to prevail in the modern period” (p. 138). The written language, he asserts, transfers “the participatory proclivity of the senses … from the depths of our surrounding life-world to the visible letters of the alphabet” (p. 138). Despite the seeming universality of the alphabetic culture, there remain, on the edges and even in the midst of this ever-expanding monoculture, small-scale local cultures or communities where the traditional oral, indigenous modes of experience still prevail— cultures that have never fully transferred their sensory participation to the written word. They have not yet closed themselves within an entirely human field of meanings, and so still dwell within a landscape that is alive, aware, and expressive. To such peoples, that which we term “language” remains as much property of the animate landscape as of the humans who dwell and speak within that terrain. (Abram, 1996, p. 139)

From here, Abram immediately turns to a discussion of “the language of the birds.” He notes that it is a common belief among oral and indigenous cultures that ← 278 | 279 → nonhuman animals understand human language, but mostly choose not to speak it. Accordingly, some people, like the Koyukon of northwestern Alaska, “take great care to avoid speaking of certain animals directly, using elaborate circumlocutions so as not to offend them” (Abram, 1996, p. 151). When birds do choose to communicate with humans via language, it can be because of an important event that impacts both animals. “Once, some years ago, people heard a horned owl clearly intone the Koyukon words ‘Black bears will cry,’” writes Abram (1996). “For the next two seasons, the wild berry crops failed and many bears found it hard to survive” (p. 149). Here again we see a connection between birds, bears, and humans. “Different birds have different work, and they’re all important,” says Lyons, but The eagle is recognized [by indigenous peoples] as the leader of the birds. And the reason why, at least from the Haudenosaunee side… and pretty much the way I understand it around the rest of Indian country is that the eagle is the most powerful and flies the closest to the Creator. Therefore he carries your words on his wings and he carries them as the messenger who reaches closest to the Creator. And so we value his feathers and we value his presence. (Lyons, 2010)

Linda Hogan (1995), writer in residence for the Chickasaw Nation, chooses mysterious and reverential descriptors when discussing the delicate power of eagle feathers: There is something alive in a feather. The power of it is perhaps in its dream of sky, currents of air, and the silence of its creation. It knows the insides of clouds. It carries our needs and desires, the stories of

our brokenness. It rises and falls down elemental space, one part of the elaborate world of life where fish swim against gravity, where eels turn silver as moon to breed. (Hogan, 1995, p. 50)

Hogan’s words connect the hopeful soaring of the eagle to the universal human desire for meaning. This connection is strong within “almost all Indian nations” according to Oren Lyons, who says, “you’ll find [eagle feathers] always somewhere on headdresses and so forth of our people because they tie us together with the creation” (Lyons, 2010). Given the power of the eagle, who is able to exist in the liminal space between human and Creator, and also able to hear and speak the language of people, it was heralded as a positive development when a golden eagle circled over a particular Idle No More event. This picture was posted to the Idle No More Facebook page during an event called “the Journey of the Nishiyuu.” The Journey of the Nishiyuu involved seven Cree youth, aged seventeen to twenty-two years, walking 1,600 kilometers to Ottawa over sixty-eight days. They arrived at Parliament Hill on March 25, 2013, to a crowd of over 4,000 (Barrera, 2013). Along the way, they snapped a ← 279 | 280 → photo of a golden eagle overhead, interpreting it as a sign that their message was being delivered to the Creator. A raised fist with eagle feather, has become another iconic image within the Idle No More movement. The raised fist, that veteran of myriad social clashes, that symbol of solidarity with the oppressed, of “speaking truth to power,” here combines with the eagle feather, the multifaceted symbol of leadership, of spirituality, of decorum, and of communication with human, nonhuman, and divine. This commanding image thus indicates that the group is speaking truth, and is unafraid to send that message to all relations or to the Creator.

Bears and Birds: Threatened by Oil Sands Development The development of the Alberta oil sands region threatens bears in the future via habitat destruction, environmental degradation, and possible oil spills. However, it has already led to an exponential increase in human–bear conflict. Wildlife officials killed 145 black bears in the oil sands region in 2011, raising serious questions from concerned observers. This represented nearly triple the amount of killed bears from the year prior (Indian Country Today Media Network, 2012). Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, the provincial wildlife management agency, has responded with multiple different reasons for the increase—none of which involve habitat encroachment due to oil sands development. ASRD spokesperson Darcy Whiteside says that “68 of the killings happened in tar sands camps and facilities to which hungry bears are attracted by

unsecured garbage,” and, in a CBC report, ASRD Minister Frank Oberle says there will be a review of “garbage management” practices (Indian Country Today Media Network, 2012). Another ASRD official “blamed a berry crop failure for the increase” (Fenlon, 2012). Constable Dustin Greig of the Wood Buffalo Royal Canadian Mounted Police attributes the increased bear presence to a “massive forest fire north of town” (CBC News, 2011a ). National Wildlife Federation scientist Doug Inkley responds angrily: Their approach seems to be, if it becomes a problem, kill it—rather than prevent the problem in the first place. Humans are destroying bear habitat and not disposing of garbage properly. So, we kill the bears … This is death by a thousand cuts. It may seem like there are plenty of black bears now, but look what’s happening: the tar sands area that could be developed is the size of Florida, and this is going to be repeated over and over and over if we keep encroaching on their habitat. (LaFontaine, 2012)

Birds are also threatened by the development of the oil sands region. According to a 2008 report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Boreal Songbird Initiative, and the Pembina Institute, “millions of birds will ← 280 | 281 → be lost by tar sands development” (Wells, Casey-Lefkowitz, Chavarria, & Dyer, 2008, p. 1). “Each spring more than half of America’s birds flock to the Canadian Boreal forest to nest,” states the report (Wells et al., 2008). “There, a square mile … can support as many as 500 breeding pairs of migratory birds” (Wells et al., 2008). The projected loss of habitat due to strip-mining in the area will result in a loss of 4.8– 36 million birds over the following twenty years (Murphy, n.d.). One of the many affected species highlighted in the report is the Bohemian waxwing, which is called diltsooga by the Koyukon, meaning “he squeaks” (Abram, 1996, p. 148). Citing a passage from Richard Nelson’s Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest, David Abram (1996) writes: “According to a Distant Time story, the waxwing had a very jealous wife who once dragged him around by the hair, giving him the crest that now adorns his crown and making him cry out until his voice became nothing but a squeak” (p. 148). Another bird of the boreal forest, the thrush, is understood by the Koyukon people to sometimes say nahutl-eeyh, translated as “a sign of the spirit is perceived” (Abram, 2996, p. 148). This spiritual messenger is another species affected by tar sands extraction, as the toxins released lead to lower probabilities of breeding (Wells et al., 2008, p. 16). A 2011 CBC News report notes that an iconic bird, the whooping crane, could be threatened with extinction due to oil sands development (CBC News, 2011b). The whooping crane is an endangered species in both Canada and the United States, and the majority of the remaining cranes

migrate between Alberta and Texas. The size of this flock was estimated at 270 in 2008, and had dropped to 187 by 2010 (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2013). According to National Wildlife Federation estimates, less than 400 total (wild and captive) whooping cranes exist today (Murphy, n.d.).

Birds, Bears, and Humans Idle No More imagery clearly communicates a special and particular relationship between birds, bears, and humans. Indigenous philosopher Vine Deloria, Jr. (1997) explains this connection: The Plains Indians saw a grand distinction between two-legged and four-legged creatures. Among the two-leggeds were humans, birds, and bears. Bears were included because when feeding, they often stand on two legs. Since the two-leggeds are responsible for helping to put the natural world back into balance when it becomes disordered, birds, bears and humans share a responsibility to participate in healing ceremonies and indeed the cumulative knowledge of these three groups is primarily one of healing. (p. xii) ← 281 | 282 →

The idea that the two-leggeds share responsibility for healing and putting “the natural world back into balance when it becomes disordered” resonates in much of the imagery in the Idle No More movement. Including bears and birds in the discussion brings forth a host of meaningful virtues and desired qualities: healing, rejuvenation, community, honor, respect, empathy, reciprocity, authority, decorum, partnership, beauty, and communication with all relations. But why must those qualities be tied to bears and birds? Can we, as humans, not summon these virtues without needing other animals? Deloria, Jr. (1997), responds: It was said that each species had a particular knowledge of the universe and specific skills for living in it. Human beings had a little bit of knowledge and some basic skills, but we could not compare with any other animals as far as speed, strength, cunning and intelligence. Therefore it was incumbent on us to respect every other form of life, to learn from them as best we could the proper behavior in this world and the specific technical skills necessary to survive and prosper. Man was the youngest member of the web of life and, therefore, had to have some humility in the face of the talents and experience of other species. (p. xi)

As opposed to the human-centered, top-down ideologies espoused by thinkers like Descartes, Deloria, Jr. (1997) here reveals a bottom-up, earth community-centered worldview that is

respectful of other animals not because they are useful, but because fostering a relationship with those animals is a reciprocal process that is the key to a prosperous existence for both. This theme is echoed in the words of Idle No More activists, including Wanda Nanibush, an Anishnabe-kwe writer and artist who says that a sacred relationship with the land underlies Idle No More actions … We look to honoring the nation-to-nation relationship in order to protect all of creation … Because humans are the weakest link in all of creation because we depend on all of it to survive—we must protect and nurture it. Humans have relationships with the natural world precisely because we are one with it and dependent upon it … We choose actions that place a deep emphasis on remembering and maintaining our relationships with all of creation. (The Globe and Mail, 2013)

Here Nanibush presents an ethic that is based as much on the fragility of the human as it is based upon human ingenuity or flexibility. We are therefore obligated to protect the nonhuman world as a sort of payment upon a debt, and also as a pathway to human prosperity or flourishing. As such, maintaining a reciprocal relationship with the more-than-human world becomes a self-actualizing experience. ← 282 | 283 →

Private Property Rights and Ecological Fragmentation As we lose “wilderness” (a term we may use to describe the oil sands region before its development), we not only lose a part of ourselves, but the threat to life, which once existed in the world around us, moves within, explains psychologist C. A. Meier (Hogan, 1995). “The whole of western society,” he says, “is approaching a physical and mental breaking point” (Hogan, 1995, p. 52). Linda Hogan (1995) writes that the result is “a spiritual fragmentation that has accompanied our ecological destruction” (p. 52). Indeed, as discussed above, a lost connection with the morethan-human world is equivalent to a lost opportunity for self-actualization. The present situation stems from “the objective to make human societies as independent as possible and to make the natural world as subservient as possible to human decisions,” writes Thomas Berry (1996) in “Ethics and Ecology” (p. 8). He continues, Only now can we appreciate the consequences of this effort to achieve human well-being in a consumer society by subduing the spontaneities of the natural world to human manipulation. We begin to realize that the devastation taking place cannot be critiqued effectively from within the traditional religions or

humanist ethics. Nor can it be dealt with from within the perspectives of the industrial society that brought it about. (p. 8)

Yet access to perspectives outside of industrial society is increasingly difficult. Colonization has affected the core beliefs and practices of indigenous societies. In an article titled “Re-envisioning Resurgence,” Jeff Corntassel recounts a story of the Mohawk delegation to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change in 2010 (Corntassel, 2012). Questions from indigenous participants at the conference in Bolivia “challenged the three Mohawk travelers to the very core of their identities” (Corntassel, 2012). They asked us, “so you’re from that region of the world, are you still connected to nature? Is your community and your people still in tuned with the natural world?’” Hemlock said. “We had to honestly tell them, not really, to a degree but not really. So they asked us, ‘What makes you Indigenous?’” Hemlock said that they explained where Kahnawake was situated […] He stated that because of Kahnawake’s location that, as a people, we too are struggling to try to maintain our identity and live in a sustainable way. “So they said, ‘so how do you do it? What’s the example that your community is giving to all the surrounding communities about how to live sustainably with the environment, what are you showing them?’” Hemlock recounted. “Again we had to say, we’re doing our best in a lot of areas, but as a community we really have to ask ourselves that question of what are we ← 283 | 284 → doing? When we look at our community and seeing so much land being clear-cut; so many of the swamp and marshlands being land-filled; so many dump-sites. There’s all these things within our own little community and we’re supposed to be the Indigenous examples of living healthy and sustainably with the environment” (Corntassel, 2012, p. 87). The struggle to maintain an indigenous identity in the face of Western civilization was occurring even at the earliest stages of contact with European settlers, says environmental historian William Cronon (1983). Differing views on property rights and the market economy led Europeans to label indigenous people as poverty-stricken, mainly “because the Indians lacked the incentives of money and commerce” (Cronon, 1983, p. 79). Cronon notes that John Locke and other European economists failed to notice that The Indians did not recognize themselves as poor. The endless accumulation of capital which [Locke] saw as a natural consequence of the human love for wealth made little sense to them … Thomas Morton was almost alone among his contemporaries in realizing that the New England Indians had chosen [a different] path. As he said […] they “lived richly,” and had little in the way of wants or

complaints. Pierre Biard […] extended it into a critique of European ways of life. Indians, he said, went about their daily tasks with great leisure, “for their days are all nothing but pastime. They are never in a hurry. Quite different from us, who can never do anything without hurry and worry; worry, I say, because our desire tyrannizes over us and banishes peace from our actions” (Cronon, 1983, pp. 79–80). A more tangible difference between the societies was the relationship with nonhuman animals. “Where the Indians had contented themselves with burning the woods and concentrating their hunting in the fall and winter months,” writes Cronon (1983), “the English sought a much more total and year-round control over their animals’ lives” (p. 128). The importation of vast numbers of livestock in the seventeenth century resulted in a changed landscape in New England, and also challenged the concepts of property rights held by the indigenous people. Since “Indian property systems granted rights of personal ownership to an animal only at the moment it was killed,” conflicts arose, even when Indians acknowledged English property rights (Cronon, 1983, p. 130). Colonists objected when Indians killed livestock that had broken loose, and Indians contended that the animals damaged their agriculture. These matters were then settled through the colonists’ justice system, which in turn led Indians to alter their agricultural processes. As Cronon (1983) explains, “Indians wishing compensation for damages to their crops were required to capture wandering animals and hold them until they were claimed by their owners … Indians had no right to collect damages ← 284 | 285 → by killing a trespassing animal” (pp. 131– 132). The result was a shifting paradigm, in which Indians began to adopt a property rights mentality toward nonhuman animals, and even began to construct fences to protect their agriculture. Eventually, Indians were even “assumed to be [financially] liable for the maintenance of their own fences” (Cronon, 1983, p. 132). Cronon’s narrative serves to illustrate the corporeality of the connection between indigenous relations with nonhuman animals and the beginnings of colonization. The introduction of private property rights for nonhuman animals served to change some of the most basic agricultural, and thereby cultural, customs of the native people of New England. “The Haudenosaunee have no concept of private property,” writes John Mohawk, concluding, “That idea would destroy our culture” (Akwesasne Notes, 2005, p. 105). Oren Lyons explains that “Private property is a concept that flies in the face of our understanding of life, and we would say the reality of life.” He critiques private property as “a conception, a human conception, which amounts to personal greed,” describing the spiritual terms on which “our worldview, our

perspective, and our process of governance” are connected to the nonhuman world in an anecdote: “And then there’s the spiritual side [of governance] … [Y]ou see it in the eyes of the deer, that bright spark, that life, that light in his eyes, and when you make your kill, it’s gone. Where did it go? It’s the same light that’s in the eyes of children, or in the eyes of old men, old women” (Lyons, 2007). These comments point to a belief in a systemic crisis within capitalism, which can be attributed to privatization, commodification, and the exploitation and destruction of natural resources. As an alternative, Mohawk and Lyons could be interpreted as proponents of economic development that does not have profit as its primary goal, but rather the sanctity of human and nonhuman life.

Religious Context “Context is all-important for both practice and understanding of reality” (p. 65) writes Vine Deloria, Jr. (1973). Put in proper context, we see that the fragmentation, commodification, and degradation of the natural world shake the very foundation of many indigenous cultures. The “vast majority of Indian tribal religions” have a sacred center at a particular place, which allows them to orient themselves historically, culturally, and spiritually (Deloria, 1973, p. 66). This spatial understanding of religion is to be contrasted with what Deloria (1973) refers to as the “Near Eastern” or Abrahamic traditions, in which religious reality is to be understood temporally, or as an historic sequence of events rather than a continuous revelation (p. 67). “Tribal religions,” meanwhile, “are actually complexes of attitudes, ← 285 | 286 → beliefs, and practices fine-tuned to harmonize to the lands on which the people live” (Deloria, 1973, p. 69). The structure of these religions “is taken directly from the world around them, from their relationships with other forms of life” (Deloria, 1973, p. 65). Therefore, displacement from the lands, destruction of the lands, or severance from other animals effectively eliminates the potential for spiritual experience. As the Bolivians pointed out to the Mohawk delegation, “being indigenous” is maintained on a fundamental level by more than genealogy (Corntassel, 2012). Activist Harsha Walia notes that “being Indigenous is not just an identity but a way of life, which is intricately connected to Indigenous peoples’ relationship to the land and all its inhabitants” (2012). To be indigenous is to maintain an integral connection with the natural world. But to maintain an integral connection to the natural world is also to experience a spiritual connection, says Deloria (1973); “So much energetic potency exists,” he writes, “that we either must describe everything as religious or say that religion as (we have known it is

irrelevant to our concerns” (p. 151). Thomas Berry (1996) agrees, noting “there must have been a bio-spiritual component of the universe from the beginning” (p. 2). Further, in the essay “Loneliness and Presence,” Berry (2006) writes, “we cannot be truly ourselves in any adequate manner without all our companion beings throughout the earth,” because the “larger community constitutes our greater self” (p. 5). As such, “to reduce any mode of being simply to that of a commodity as its primary status … within the community of existence is a betrayal” (Berry, 2006, p. 9). Berry calls for an integral and holistic reexamining of Abrahamic religious traditions, arguing that our present difficulty is due to our anthropocentrism, both in our biblical religions and our Greek humanist traditions. We see the human as a princely resident on a planet that is completely lacking in any inherent rights that must be respected by humans. If there are any rights toward the natural world obliging the human it is obligations that they owe to themselves, not to the non-human world. The universe as such has no psychic, moral, or spiritual dimension. (Berry, 2006, pp. 2–3)

But Berry also notes that there are some traditions that do acknowledge obligations to the natural world. The spiritual “majesty” and “mystery” of the natural world (or “universe”) “[have] been recognized by indigenous peoples everywhere,” he writes (Berry, 2006, p. 9). Indeed, “even today the indigenous peoples of the world can teach us” these “primordial lessons” (Berry, 2006, p. 4). Yet indigeneity, it seems, is a rapidly vanishing mode of being. As Jeff Corntassel explains, even some native delegates are experiencing existential doubt, wondering about the depth and veracity of their indigenous experience and identity ← 286 | 287 → (Corntassel, 2012). John Grim (2006) writes that meaning in indigenous settings “results from cultivated bodily attention to the environment,” and that “a primary characteristic of knowledge acquired in indigenous ecological attention… is of personhood in the life of animals” (p. 381). This sense of “meaning” is echoed in the words of Idle No More activist Eriel Tchekwie Deranger of Fort Chipewyan: “This is my family, this is my land, these are my relatives. When I say relatives I don’t mean other human beings, but I mean the trees, the water, the moose, the caribou, the ducks and the fish that are my brothers and sisters, cousins and ancestors. Without all of that, there is really nothing left for my people” (van Waarden, 2011). The act of situating one’s self in the web of ecological relationships has led indigenous groups to develop “rituals of respect,” says John Grim (2006), which embody and enable “mutual reciprocity” and “show a close connection between vibrant, mature personhood and animal presences that evoke cosmic powers” (pp. 381, 376). John Mohawk writes of the loss of these ancient relationships and connections, “A consciousness of the web that holds

all things together, the spiritual element that connects us to reality and the manifestation of that power to renew that is present in the existence of an eagle or a mountain snow fall, that consciousness was the first thing that was destroyed by the colonizers” (Akwesasne Notes, 2005, p. 123). When removed from the continually revelatory experience of mutuality with the other-thanhuman community, all that is left is the “fragility” and “humility” of the human experience described by Wanda Nanibush and Vine Deloria, Jr. This displacement has taken place, even subconsciously, since the early stages of European contact, as noted by Cronon earlier, and is struggled with both spiritually and politically, as shown in the comments of Oren Lyons regarding private property. Because displacement has a symbiotic relationship with both loss of spirituality and loss of culture (together seen as loss of indigeneity), “resurgence” must be the inverse. As such, a revitalized spiritual and cultural world can be experienced through re-situating spatially and ontologically within the natural world. This is the “primordial lesson” Thomas Berry was referring to in “Ethics and Ecology.”

“They Tie Us Together with the Creation” The Idle No More movement utilizes nonhuman animal symbols because of their deep spiritual significance. The movement foregrounds bird and bear because of the special relationship those two groups have had with humans for millennia. The relationship is spiritual, but it is also fundamentally reflective of the ongoing experience between those groups. Therefore, the virtues that emerge from the grouping ← 287 | 288 → of birds, bears, and humans together exist as abstract concepts but are also fiercely representative of the actual lived experience of those animals. For example, David Abram’s foray into the Koyukon understanding of the language of birds shows a richly communicative world in which birds speak on a spiritual plane, but may also choose to communicate with humans, especially when it becomes important on a practical level. This relationship with birds, bears, and the nonhuman world is an example of what John Grim (2006) refers to as “the mutuality of knowing and being known by animals” (p. 376) and is a key part of the indigenous spiritual landscape which fosters an ethic of stewardship that results from both obligation and purpose. Maintaining a mutualistic and reciprocal relationship with the nonhuman world thereby becomes a process of self-actualization. During this process, balance is brought to the relationship between, for instance, bear and human. “Though much diminished and

changed by the forces of global colonialism,” writes Grim (2006), “in many rural settings indigenous perspectives on animal personhood continue into the present” (p. 376). The strikingly nuanced narratives within the Idle No More movement reflect this worldview, bringing the marginalized views of rural indigenous peoples into the discussions of mainstream culture. The popular interpretation of Idle No More involves the basic message that indigenous rights, women’s rights, and environmental protection are issues to be debated within typical social and political channels. However, a fuller understanding of Idle No More posits an alternative to the dominant modes of human–nonhuman relations in contemporary society. As such, Idle No More is seeking a resurgence of indigeneity, and is building momentum toward a shifted paradigm that includes “a seat for the buffalo and the eagle.”

References Abram, D. (1996). The spell of the sensuous: Perception and language in a more-than-human world. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Barrera, J. (2013, March 26). Journey of Nishiyuu walkers names now ‘etched’ into ‘history of this country.’ APTN News. Berry, T. (1996). Ethics and ecology. Harvard seminar on environmental values. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. Berry, T. (2006). Loneliness and presence. In P. Waldau & K. C. Patton (Eds.), A communion of subjects: Animals in religion, science, and ethics. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Bogado, A. (2013, January 24). Chief Spence hospitalized, ending hunger strike. The Nation. CBC News. (2011a, August 9). Bear sightings increase in Fort McMurray. CBC News. (2011b, July 15). Oilsands may threaten whooping cranes’ survival. CBC News. (2013, January 5). 9 Questions about Idle No More. ← 288 | 289 → Corntassel, J. (2012). Re-envisioning resurgence: Indigenous pathways to decolonization and sustainable self-determination. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), 86–101. Cronon, W. (1983). Changes in the land: Indians, colonists, and the ecology of New England. New York, NY: Hill and Wang. Deloria, Jr., V. (1973). God is red: A Native view of religion. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing. Deloria, Jr., V. (1997). Foreword. In M. Caduto & J. Bruchac (Eds.), Keepers of the animals: Native American stories and wildlife activities for children. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing. Fenlon, B. (2012, February 22). 145 Black bears killed in Alberta oil sands. Huffington Post.

Grim, J. (2006). Knowing and being known by animals: Indigenous perspectives on personhood. In P. Waldau & K. C. Patton (Eds.), A communion of subjects: Animals in religion, science, and ethics. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Grinnell, G. (1920). Blackfoot lodge tails: The story of a prairie people. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Hogan, L. (1995). Dwellings: A spiritual history of the living world. New York, NY: Touchstone. Indian Country Today Media Network. (2012, February 24). 145 Black bears killed in Tar Sands region in 2011. Kinew, W. (2012, December 17). Idle No More is not just an ‘Indian thing.’ Huffington Post. LaFontaine, P. (2012, February 27). 145 Black bears shot in Canada’s Tar Sands region, more deaths likely. National Wildlife Federation. Lyons, O. (2003). Our mother earth. In B. McDonald (Ed.), Seeing god everywhere: Essays on nature and the sacred. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, Inc. Lyons, O. (2007, January/February). The leadership imperative. Orion. Lyons, O. (2010, September 19). Importance of feathers & the next generation. YouTube. FeatherProject. Retrieved from ( v=uEJUkaHapuc) Madondo, O. (2012, December 14). What chief Spence’s hunger strike says about Canada. Huffington Post. McAdam, S. (2013b, April 16). Idle No More is a grassroots movement, not exclusively Indigenous. Twitter post @sylviamcadam. McAdam, S. (2013c, April 16). One of the founders of Idle No More is Sheelah McLean and she is our white sister #idlenomore4. Twitter post @sylviamcadam. Akwesasne Notes. (Eds). (2005). Basic call to consciousness. Summertown, TN: Native Voices. Murphy, J. (n.d.). Tar sands: Wildlife impacts and overview. National Wildlife Federation Report. Retrieved from ( Neihardt, J. G. (1988). Black elk speaks: Being the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. Palmater, P. (2013). Why Idle No more matters to us all. Now Toronto, 32(19). Retrieved from ( Plecash, C. (2013, January 14). Idle No More movement led by aboriginal women. Hill Times. Pritchett, L. (2012). Great Colorado bear stories. Helena, MT: Riverbend Publishing.

Ross, G. (2013a, January 16). The Idle No More movement for dummies (or, What the heck are all these Indians acting all Indian-ey about?). Indian Country Today Media Network. ← 289 | 290 → Retrieved from ( Ross, G. (2013b, April 21). Question: Is it possible for white people to understand how profoundly being white affects & benefits them every single day? Twitter post @BigIndianGyasi. Retrieved from ( Sheedy, M. (2013, January 8). From occupy to Idle No More. Waging Nonviolence. Retrieved from ( Sinclair, N. (2013, April 11). Idle No More shifting to localized activism, says Sinclair. APTN News. Retrieved from ( The Globe and Mail. (2013, February 18). The spiritual side of Idle No More. Retrieved from ( U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2013, November 8). Species profile: Whooping crane (Grus americana). Retrieved from ( van Gelder, S. (2013, February 7). Why Canada’s indigenous uprising is about all of us. Yes! Magazine. Retrieved from ( van Waarden, R. (2011). Photo essay on Canada’s filthy Tar Sands—This is why Keystone XL must be stopped. The DeSmog Blog. Retrieved from ( Waldau, P. (2002). The specter of speciesism: Buddhist and Christian views of animals. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Walia, H. (2012, January 1). Decolonizing together: Moving beyond a politics of solidarity toward a practice of decolonization. Briarpatch Magazine. Retrieved from (

Wells, J., Casey-Lefkowitz, S., Chavarria, G., & Dyer, S. (2008, December). Danger in the nursery: Impact on birds of Tar Sands oil development in Canada’s Boreal forest. Natural Resources Defense Council Report. Retrieved from ( Wong, R. (2013, January 28). J28: A poem by Rita Wong. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. Retrieved from (

← 290 | 291 →


Yoruba Ethico-cultural Perspectives and Understanding of Animal Ethics A. O. OWOSENI AND I. O. OLATOYE

Animal Ethics: Between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare The need to contextualize “globalized” discourse within historical or cultural particularities to assess the universality of principles, theories, and practices cannot be overemphasized. This article explores cultural particularities often taken for granted in assessing human–nonhuman animal relations, using an inquiry into the Yoruba understanding of animal ethics as a case study. Following the “reflective impulse” of the Yoruba notion of human–animal relations, our study departs from the prevailing framework of animal ethics as currently pursued in intellectual circles. Despite a tendency to pose the Western intellectual perspective as a yardstick, we assert the need to include other cultural perspectives in the discourse of animal rights and animal welfare. Many non-Western perspectives do not align wholly with Western viewpoints, and accordingly, many non-Western ethico-cultural perspectives have not yet been acknowledged. In the case of the Yoruba, the central question of this article—whether the Yoruba have an understanding of animal ethics—differs from the question of whether the Yoruba conceptualize animal ethics in its own right. Focusing on the latter question implies that the Yoruba might hold a distinct system of animal ethics that sets them apart from the rest of humanity.1 Such a

stance would create intellectual bifurcations that could ← 291 | 292 → obscure a common outlook, generating an us/them perspective that scholars like Anthony Appiah, Godwin Sogolo, and others have argued against.2 Animal ethics describes the study of human–nonhuman relations. The focus on animal ethics in this article is an attempt to understand the appropriate human regard for nonhuman animals in Yoruba culture. Animal ethics is the umbrella under which the two camps of animal rights and animal welfare are organized, though animal ethics also includes other subject matters, such as animal law, speciesism, animal cognition, the concept of nonhuman personhood, human exceptionalism, and theories of justice. Animal ethics also shares a common concern with environmental ethics, as it considers animals within the purview of the reckless damages man has done to the natural environment as a whole.3 While some may consider humans to be the “apex of creation,” without other creatures (visible and invisible) in the environment, human life is incomplete—in fact, impossible (Ogunade, 2004, p. 183). This assertion presupposes that nature is not meant for human purposes alone, implying that all species should work alongside each other to ensure the health and well-being of nature as a whole. This stance introduces moral issues that have created a divide among animal ethicists, separating them into the camps of animal rights proponents and animal welfare proponents. According to Barcalow (1994), moral issues arise from choices that affect the “well-being of others” (p. 4). An action becomes morally questionable when it opens alternate courses of bringing harms or benefits to oneself or others, however those “others” may be identified. Animal rights proponents hold that animals are moral persons, and they thus condemn any sort of human exploitation of other animals, including their use for food/fiber, experimentation, entertainment or sport, or as pets. They argue that human beings hold no special place in nature, and that it is ignorance for humans to think they are at the “pinnacle of creation” (Olen & Barry, 1992, p. 340). Central to this perspective is the claim that all beings/species experience pain equally. Whether the subject of feelings or pain is a human or nonhuman animate being, causing pain and suffering is inherently wrong.4 This camp has also argued that certain human interests are trivial and insignificant by comparison with important animal interests. Accordingly, acting on human impulses to the detriment of animals is unjustifiable, and interests such as food consumption, experimentation, or research are thus called into question. It is assumed that the only reason we humans carry on the way we do is that we are too lazy or thoughtless to change or explore other alternatives (Olen & Barry, 1992, p. 341). Animal rights proponents also contend that other animals, like human beings, have inalienable natural rights. Rights to live and to move unhindered are instances of such entitlements, since other animals, like humans, are sentient beings. Peter Singer’s notion of “equal consideration” as expounded in some of his ← 292 | 293 → works (Singer, 1990, pp. 55–62) according to Gruen (1993), “provides the moral foundation for this

budding and boisterous animal liberation movement” (p. 343) that proceeds under the banner of animal rights. Moreover, Tom Regan’s notion of equal/moral rights is entrenched in this view in animal ethics.5 Ingrid Newkirk, cofounder and president of the animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is fervent about this ethical point of view. Organizations like People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance (NJARA), Animal Liberation Front (ALF), and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are at the forefront of championing this ethical point of view. Several arguments have been presented to counter what many consider as the “absolutist” thinking of animal rights proponents. Critics of animal rights question whether animals can be morally considerable, since their actions are the automatic output of innate feelings that they are likely incapable of moderating and for which they therefore cannot be held responsible. The claim is that other animals do not possess capacities equal to those of human beings in terms of intelligence, rationality, obligations, duties, moral claims, or sense of virtue and vice. It has also been argued that equal treatment of animals and humans would lead to disastrous consequences, engendering economic devaluation in terms of consumption and trade patterns and loss of jobs among ranchers, farmers, fishermen, butchers and others, potentially leading to economic dependency of some nations on others. Equal consideration of other animals would also have far-reaching negative effects on progressive research, such as the use of animals as test models to verify the viability of treatments of diseases and eradication of organisms detrimental to human wellbeing. The presupposition here is that holding on to the animal rights ethical standpoint in theory and practice would be inimical to public health and one-health concerns.6 In this sense, Olen and Barry (1992) have noted that “whatever good comes to non-human animals, the consequences to humans would be disastrous” (p. 342). In theological terms, St. Aquinas and St. Augustine taught that the universe is constructed as a hierarchy in which beings at lower levels (animals) were created to serve those above them (human beings). St. Augustine maintained that “by a most just ordinance of the creator, both their life and their death are subjected to our use.” According to this view, it matters little that animals are used as food or as experimental tools, since they are not entitled to any form of rights. Baxter (1999), for instance, believes that rights are unique to human beings. In his view, animals do not use or understand moral judgment in conducting relationships with other species. The soundest policy, then, according to Baxter is “to take account of only the needs and interest of people, not penguins or pine trees” (p. 148). Such claims run counter to the viewpoint of animal rights proponents, as they presuppose that, ← 293 | 294 → after all, relationships with members of our own species are appropriately the primary moral concern for humans (Olen & Barry, p. 343).

This speciesist stance has been proposed by anti-animal rightists, who regard moral consideration of other animals as a defect in rationality. The animal welfare movement, however, offers a different ethical point of view. Scholars like Francoine and Regan (1992) agree that animal welfare tenets differ from the claims of animal rights. They maintain not only that the philosophies of animal rights and animal welfare are separated by irreconcilable differences, but also that the enactment of animal welfare measures actually impedes the achievement of animal rights. They conclude that welfare reforms by their very nature can only serve to retard the pace at which animal rights goals are achieved (pp. 140– 142). The argument here is that the animal welfare position is inconsistent with and ethically unacceptable to the claims of the animal rightists, or “abolitionists” as they are often called. Prior to the inception of the movement, the welfare approach held human morality and behavior as its central concern. Combined with animal welfare movements and animal-protection legislation, the efforts of British dignitaries like Richard Martin, who championed the first Animal Welfare Organization in 1822, expanded the sense of “welfarism” to include nonhuman animals. Organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), and the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) among others are foremost organizations spearheading the cause of animal welfare. Unlike the Animal Rights movement, these organizations do not clamor for total abolition of the use of animals; rather, they emphasize the prevention of animal suffering, promoting animal health and projecting a just and compassionate society for the ethical treatment of animals whenever they are used for human purposes. They advocate that animals be granted proper training to enable them to live safely and comfortably in a society dominated by human standards; stray animals should be adopted and neutered and spayed to prevent overpopulation and the suffering that attends it; sick and injured animals should be given veterinary care. The United Kingdom (UK) has exerted tremendous effort to promote animal welfare. In 1979, the UK government set up the Farm Animals Welfare Council, recommending the following five freedoms or principles of animal welfare: –

Freedom from thirst and hunger

Freedom from discomfort

Freedom from pain, injury, and diseases

Freedom to express normal behavior

Freedom from fear and distress ← 294 | 295 →

From the standpoint of Animal Welfare groups, the observation of these freedoms amounts to moral consideration for animals and that animals like humans are morally considerable. The objective of

animal welfare advocates is the humane use of animals, whatever the purpose. Unlike Animal Rights proponents, Animal Welfarists do not seek to eliminate the use or companionship of animals by humans. For the welfarist, as long as animal pain and suffering is avoided, the value of animal lives is not compromised. This is a way of saying that within the framework of Animal Welfarism, animals do not have autonomous moral rights that equal those of humans. The point of convergence between animal rights and animal welfare is that both are concerned with the status and conditions of animals’ existence, while the point of divergence lies in the degrees to which animals may be subjected to use by humans. Often times, the Abolitionist strand of Animal Rightists condemn and seek to abolish human use of animals regardless of whether that use may be termed “humane” or “inhumane,” while animal welfare emphasizes and allows only the “humane” use and treatment of animals. Despite extensive global attention to the animal welfare-rights distinction, there remains a need to deploy cultural epistemic outlooks on the issue. In this study, we consider Yoruba perspectives on human–animal relations in an effort to discern a Yoruba understanding of animal ethics.

Yoruba Culture: Perspectives on Human–Animal Relations Who are the Yoruba? What is the Yoruba conception of human–animal relations? To what extent is the Yoruba conception bound by a cultural, or collective, philosophy? Does this conception presuppose a Yoruba understanding of Animal Ethics? If it does, what moral principles and questions does this ethical system yield? Can it be affirmed as a welfarist or rightist orientation? What is the contribution of the Yoruba understanding of animal ethics to the global discourse? For decades, scholars have acknowledged ties between African modes of knowing and interpreting reality and the influence of cultural traditions, values, religions, customs, and beliefs of the people. These connections have especially attracted the interest of scholars who investigate African epistemology, logic, ethics, and morality.7 The Yoruba tribe is no exception to this rule. We take it for granted that the Yoruba conception of the ideals and principles that guide human–animal relations may be accessed through the framework of oral tradition, encoded in thoughts, proverbs, adage, and wise sayings which have served as the repository of social and ethical norms and cultural expectations about the status of animals under the custodianship of the local community, elders, or native heads (Adewoye, 2007, p. 53). ← 295 | 296 →

Yoruba Culture and Identity Who and what are included in the phrase “the Yoruba and their culturally related people?” Akinjogbin attempts to describe this group broadly, via the baselines of language, common origin, similar

institutions, modes of worship, beliefs, membership, customs as well as other usages (2008, p. 7), but these baselines are yet to be proven sufficient and adequate for the categorization of the Yoruba. For the purpose of this work, we define the Yoruba by geographical and cultural criteria. The Yoruba are an ethnic group located in South Western Nigeria and Southern Benin in West Africa and constitute over 35 million people in total; the majority are from Nigeria and make up 21% of its population.10 There are also accounts that the Yoruba are found in Togo, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and the diasporic regions of Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad, Tobago, and others. The Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria (those within the geographical boundaries of Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Lagos, Osun) are the focus of this study. Following Akinjogbin (2008, p. 9), it is less difficult to categorize these sects as Yoruba, as their history and ways of life confirm a continuum in terms of cultural traditions, common language, and political organization of war and peace. The Yoruba exhibit common linkages of ancestral traits, customs, rites, beliefs, and social institutions. Thinkers like Ojo (2008) and Olajubu (2008, pp. 13–46) have contributed their intellectual insights on the identity of these linkages. Ojo (2008, p. 14) notes the pervasive elements of ancestral veneration (masquerades, deities, ancestors, worship of gods like Sango, Ogun and others), rituals, artifacts, and divination system (Ifa), and he traces these through the process of intra- and interethnic diffusion among the Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria. Focusing on the presence of oral artists (poets, priests, diviners, singers, enchanters, etc.) in Yoruba land, Olajubu (2008) has identified the prevailing trend of orature (oral literature ingrained in the traditional or cultural corpus of the Yoruba view on reality as a whole) as an intrinsic virtue of the average Yoruba. He asserts that “among the Yoruba, verbal art is a specialist art and artists are special members of the society” (p. 32). Of interesting note is Olajubu’s emphasis on stereotype oral productions or appreciation (poetry, chants, panegyric—in Yoruba, ijala, oriki, ewi) about virtually all things among the Yoruba, including animals,8 birds, and plants (p. 38). Of particular interest to the present study is consideration of how a Yoruba cultural understanding of animals is encapsulated in this body of sayings, adages, views, proverbs, poetry, practices, and so on. By analyzing Yoruba orature, we attempt to derive the ethical implications of some Yoruba perspectives on human– nonhuman animal relations. ← 296 | 297 →

Yoruba Cultural Understanding of Animals Olusola (2006, pp. 155–172) has attempted to discern the Yoruba cultural understanding of animals, which he called Yoruba “ontological perceptions” of animals (p. 155), by earmarking the classification of animals, placement of animals in the Yoruba cosmology, religion, traditions, economics (food and hunting), and interactions between humans and animals. His efforts have yielded the following insights on the existential status of animals among the Yoruba:

In Yoruba understanding, animals are categorized by groups, habitat, and physiological traits. Thus within Yoruba animal kingdom classification, we have eran omi (aquatic, sea or water animals), eran ile (land animals), eran afayafa (reptiles), eran elese meji—(bipeds), eran elese merin (quadrupeds), eye (birds), eku (rats), eran ile (domesticated animals), eran igbe (wild animals) (p. 156).

The Yoruba perception of animals is complemented with taboos and mythical explanations about certain animals. These explanations are preserved through the tradition of folklore, religious beliefs and worship practices, poetry, legends, rituals, and so on. Examples are taboos against the interruption of sexual intercourse among animals, prohibitions against killing or eating sacred animals like vultures, ground hornbills, and parrots. The case of adie irana (the fowl that clears the road), which is designated for rituals and buried along with the corpse of an extraordinary member of the society, shows that the Yoruba cosmos is filled with religiousmetaphysical interpretations of animals. This reveals that some animals among the Yoruba are granted “divine” rights and are revered. The myth surrounding the reverence for the river goddess Oya and buffalos (exempted from the category of game animals to be hunted) also illustrates this Yoruba belief (pp. 157–158). This also accounts for the Yoruba belief in the transmigration of human spirits into the bodies of animals: insects, birds, goats, deer, etc. (p. 159). Though this sort of thought is mysteriously rather than scientifically grounded, it accounts for the Yoruba belief that “possessed” animals are perpetrators of both evil and good deeds.

In “traditional”9 Yoruba land, both nonhuman animals and humans are perceived as agents of propitiation/sacrifices to the gods, animals are given meaningful names similar to the practice of naming human beings, and they may be the subject of panegyrics or songs of praise.

In Yoruba cultural understanding, there are patterns of both unhealthy and healthy relationships between humans and other animals. Olusola (2006) portrays this aptly with reference to the hunting expeditions among the Yoruba. The hunting song below displays an unhealthy relationship between humans and animals: ← 297 | 298 → Omo ale lehoro ninu igbe o!

Rabbit is a bastard in the bush

Omo ale lehoro ninu igbe o!

Rabbit is a bastard in the bush

Bo ba ti rode

Whenever it sees the hunter

Ni o pale mo kia

It will quickly take to its heels

Omo ale lehoro ninu igbe o!

Rabbit is a bastard in the bush! (p. 164)

Ajibade Olusola further hinted that some sayings, folklore and folk songs of the Yoruba illustrate healthy interactions or relationships with animals. Mo maja leyin, o jan an nigi, emi naa lo jan nigi—“if you beat my dog which follows me with a rod, I am the one you have beaten with the rod,” (p. 165) is an

instance of such sayings. Folk songs like the following also affirm healthy relationships with animals among the Yoruba: Adie mi

My rooster

Eyi ti mora

The one that I bought

O si je lo

It went out

O ko si koto

It fell into a pit

Iya bami gbe

Mother helped me carry it

Gbigbe ti mo gbe

As I carried it

Gbigbon ni n gbon

It was shaking

Mo wa fi yena

I put it by the fire side for warmth (p. 167)

Popular folklore, moonlit tales about tortoise, man and the squirrel10 also portray patterns of interaction between humans and animals in the Yoruba worldview (p. 166) and inform the Yoruba about the natural character and attitudinal (psychological, physiological, and biological) dispositions of classes of animals. –

The Yoruba also demonstrate an awareness of the mental consciousness of animals and their experience of pain and suffering, yet they conceive of animals as nutritional, a consumable means of promoting human health and satisfaction: Bi ereke omo eranko ko ba ba je, ti omo eniyan ko ni dun—“if the cheek of the offspring of an animal is not broken, that of the humans will not be sweet”. Oju ni maluu n ro, obe o dara lorun—“The cow is suffering only during the time of slaughter, knife is not something pleasant on the neck”. Ife ti a fe adie ko denu, ibi ki a paaje lo mo—“Our love for roosters is not genuine; the point is to kill (and eat)11 them.” (pp. 168–169)

These three sayings illustrate that the Yoruba cultural philosophy reckons that animals are sources of human food, despite human awareness that killing animals ← 298 | 299 → causes them pain. The consumption of animals surpasses the purpose of nutrition to include medication/treatments (healing, in Yoruba land), as animals’ bodily parts are ground alongside other curative ingredients to treat specific ailments. Olusola’s (2006) attempt to categorize elements of the Yoruba cultural (collective) philosophy about animals is not all encompassing, however. idowu’s (2008) collection of 1,000 Yoruba proverbs (written in Yoruba language) provides further insights into Yoruba cultural perspectives about animals. Beyond the assessment of human–animal relations via the frameworks of sayings, adages and so forth, Idowu’s

collection demonstrates that the Yoruba also perceive animal-animal relations and interpret them as holding metaphorical significance for human-human relations. The following proverbs from Idowu’s collection are instances of such: Aguntan to baja rin yoo jegbe (p. 12)—“The goat that frolics with dogs would definitely eat faeces.” Aja iwoyii lo mo ehoro iwoyi le (p. 12)—“It is the dog of this modern time that can chase the rabbit of this modern time.” Ajanaku koja, mo ri nnkan firi, ti a ba rerin, ka sope a rerin (p. 13)—“The elephant’s passage is beholding and majestic; when we see an elephant, we should acknowledge we have seen an elephant.”

Proverbs of this category, as suggested before, have metaphorical import for humans, but to delve into this would mean drifting into another discourse. However, it is important to note that the Yoruba perspectives do not exclude considerations of animal–animal relations, and as shown in the three proverbs above, these considerations extract from the peculiarities of particular species of animals (size, feeding habits, natural dispositions or attitudes). For instance, the proverb “the goat…faeces” derives from the observation of local dogs in Yoruba communities that feed on debris, human waste products and other waste, while the second proverb “it is the dog…times” is an extract of the sensitive dispositions of both animals involved in a predatory chase and survival scuffle. The last proverb derives from observations of the size of the elephant. Still other proverbs employ images of animals, yet are neutral in their implications for human-human and animal-animal relations. Such proverbs are aphorisms of warning, precaution and modesty. For instance: Aja tii yoo sonu, ko ni gbo fere ode (p. 12)—“A dog destined to get lost would never heed the hunter’s whistle.” Asa to ba fara wegun, eyin aaro ni yoo sun (p. 13)—“A hawk that imitates the ways of a vulture would find itself in the pot of soup.”12 Labalaba to ba digbo legun, aso re a faya (p. 43)—“A butterfly that perches on thorns or spikes would have its skin torn.” ← 299 | 300 →

Further probing of this general perception of animals from the Yoruba point of view raises the possibility of a Yoruba ethico-cultural understanding of animal ethics.

Yoruba Ethico-cultural Understanding: Implications for Animal Ethics The Yoruba tradition does not display in clear terms the sphere of its ethical viewpoint regarding humanto-animal relationships. Some sayings, proverbs and beliefs appear seductively “rightist” in pattern or represent a shift from a welfarist to a rightist concern for animals. The Yoruba says ise eniyan nise

eranko13 “the way of man/humans is also the way of animals.” Often, such sayings have dual meanings, as both metaphoric and literal expressions in reference to human and nonhuman situations. The saying above implies something of Singer’s emphasis on equal treatment. For Singer, the capacity to suffer is the primary criterion for considering the interest of any being, even though extending the basic principle of equality from one group to another does not imply that we must treat both groups in exactly the same way, or grant exactly the same rights to both groups (Regan, 1980, pp. 101–102; Singer, 1992, p. 343). This saying further extends the imperative of the assertion in Yoruba that a kimo alaja, kanaa aja re pa —“when we know and are friends with the owner of a dog, we should not beat the dog at all or beat the dog to death” (Adewoye 2007, p. 54); this implies that we must treat a dog in the terms we find appropriate for treatment of its (known) owner. This claim is an indicator of the Yoruba tradition against inhumane treatment of animals, which they believe is closely linked to inhumane treatment of (proximate) fellow humans. Akeyinje ko mope idi n ro adie (Adewoye, 2007, p. 56) “The person who consumes the egg does not know the pains the hen passed through during the hatching process”—is also an aphorism in the Yoruba traditional worldview that opposes non-humane consideration of animals by criticizing the prevailing speciesist stance of humans toward animals as well as the reckless damage and lack of empathy demonstrated by the ends (human life) to the means (animal life). This adage warns against careless human treatment of animals and the disruption of the life cycle that occurs when animals are regarded as mere commodities. Additionally, Ingold (1988, p. 12) maintains that most cultural/traditional conceptions share classic anthropological implications of totemic practices in regard to animals. The Yoruba tradition may not be exempted from this category, as can be seen in many of the examples presented below. Totemism (or totemic practices) refers to specific meanings or beliefs that people attribute to certain images or objects. In some cases among the Yoruba, these objects may include carcasses ← 300 | 301 → or images of animals, which are used as symbols of religious allegiance (faith and belief). Totemic beliefs in this sense simply imply that we owe religious allegiance to animals as objects of worship and as such, we ought to revere, respect and care for them. Some animals within the Yoruba traditional corpus are revered as sacred figures of religious worship. Some of these animals include the yellow palm bird (popularly called eye oga), vulture (igun) and royal python. Any attempt to fell a tree where the decorous bird (eye oga) lays its eggs is to visit doom upon the society. The vulture in Yoruba land is a sacred bird and should not be used as a burnt offering, game or food. The Yoruba saying confirms this: a ki pa igun, a ki je igun, a ki fi igun bori (Adewoye, 2007, p. 54) “We do not kill the vulture, we do not eat the vulture, we do not use the vulture as sacrifice to the gods to remedy human destiny.” This saying warns against any attempt to kill the vulture for food, or use it as sacrifice to the gods. The Yoruba

tradition further encourages the preservation of animals through certain rituals, customs or taboo. A good example of this is common among some families and towns in Yoruba land. In Ondo town for instance, indigenes are forbidden to eat giant rats (okete). Also, the Onikoyi and Alapa family are forbidden to eat yellow palm birds or any kind of snake. In addition, certain species of animals are categorized as sacred within the Yoruba community during certain festive periods or ceremonial events like Ogun, Osun festivals. This indeed informs the preference of the Yoruba community in employing animals like doves and goats as sacrifices for societal purification or stability. Furthermore, animals like dogs are used for hunting and as pets, since they are conceived as instruments of appeasement to the gods. The wrath of the gods, manifest in accidents, unforeseen/spiritual contingencies or outbreaks of illness, follows upon the human-caused death of an animal that is a companion or favored being of a god.14 The saying that eyele ko kin bonile je, kobonile mu, kowa dojo iku ko yeri “the dove does not drink and dine with its owner and on the day death beckons, it should flee” illustrates the extent of Yoruba beliefs about the roles of these animals. According to such beliefs in Yoruba culture, a god’s wrath serves as propitiation or atonement for the individual’s life that was claimed by the god. Hence, some animals simply become totems and are regarded as sacred, enjoying a privileged place in the Yoruba community (through due feeding, care and husbandry); these animals are by human ingenuity (within the Yoruba parlance) reserved for the gods. Beyond this, the Yoruba ethico-cultural perspective assumes a superstitious stance, not necessarily built upon religious grounds but deriving from mysterious (metaphysical) explanatory models about the unique attributes of some animals, which shape the relational attitudes of humans toward animals. For instance, the cat (Olongbo in Yoruba) is mystical because of its inherent agility that enables it not to land on its back no matter the altitude or the gravitational force employed in throwing the cat. Also, the unique sparkle of the cat’s bright eyes in the night ← 301 | 302 → informs the traditional Yoruba that this kind of creature is likely to be from the world beyond, despite scientific explanations about animal anatomy, genetics and physiology. Among the Yoruba this perception has patterned relational attitudes toward animals such as cats, owls (Owiwi), and even flocks of sheep and goats. In Yoruba land these animals are perceived as stakeholders in terrestrial-celestial realms,15 and as such many Yoruba stand in awe of these animals and “relate with them in their own right.”16 The assumption here is that even in the case of conceiving of such animals as mysterious, as observed in Yoruba ethico-cultural enclaves, it is still necessary to classify such conceptions as factors in the Yoruba’s relational attitude toward other animals if the account of Yoruba understanding of animal ethics is to be complete. An “outsider,” not aware of such dispositional tendencies, upon contact with the Yoruba, may be quick to categorize such relational tendencies of human to animal relations as motivating an animal rights stance that grants autonomy to animal existence. On the contrary, it is difficult to classify such tendencies as characterizing

an animal rights position, as the motivations behind the Yoruba superstitious stance differ from those of animal rights advocates. For the sake of brevity, it is appropriate to consider this perspectival factor in human–animal relationships among the Yoruba as a “superstitious relational attitude.” Practices, attitudinal dispositions, sayings, aphorisms, and proverbs that have bearing on the Yorubas’ traditional conception of human–animal relations are too immense to be captured here, but our concern goes beyond this to stress the salient points that distinguish the Yoruba ethical understanding of human– animal relations. The points below stand out, given the insight above. –

The Yoruba attribute feelings and pain to animals. Not only this, the Yoruba forbid cruelty/brutality to animals, as is implied in sayings like a kimo alaja kanaa aja re pa—“when we know the owner of a dog, we should not beat the dog at all/ to death” (which implies that we must treat a dog in the same terms we would treat its known owner)—and ise eniyan nise eranko —“the way of man/human is also the way of animals.”

The Yoruba perceive a religious connotation in animals’ status, as can easily be inferred from the totemic implications highlighted above. There is also a saying to the effect that agbalagba to n ta roba mo eye, ti koba fisile, yoo wo ina (Adewoye, 2007, p. 54)—“an elderly person taunting the peace of a bird relentlessly by stoning would be condemned to the gulf of fire.” The simple point conveyed here is that the Yoruba conception transcends the status of the elders (custodians) or the most eminent members of society, urging everyone to respect the inherent value of animals, regarding them and treating them as “beings” in their own right. ← 302 | 303 →

By virtue of these points, it may not entirely be out of place to state that the Yoruba ultimately conceive of animals as moral beings, thereby embracing an understanding of animal ethics.

Beyond this, the Yoruba deploy the value of “superstitious relational attitudes” as grounds for ethical understanding of human–animal relations.

The moral issues underscored by the Yoruba ethico-traditional understanding of human–animal relations are not difficult to outline. As the rudiments of an ethical system that includes nonhuman animals, the Yoruba consider the principles of good deeds (doing that which is benevolent), avoidance of causing pain, respect for certain rights (like freedom of movement and survival) consecrated capacities to live (safeguarded by taboos); they also attribute consciousness and awareness to other animals and maintain superstitious relational attitudes. These principles and ideals do not explicitly disclose the ethical sphere of the Yoruba people, as it does not provide a systematic account of the possible range of moral expectations in all cases of relationships between humans and different individual animals or kinds of animals. This is probably because some common Western contexts of engagement with animals for

purposes like experimentation are not common or obvious in the traditional Yoruba society. On the surface, Yoruba tradition appears neither “rightist” nor “welfarist,” as it does not propose eliminating the use of all kinds of animals for human purposes. Whether or not the moral issues highlighted are to be evaluated from the points of duty, virtue or consequences (as the Kantians, Consequentialists, Aristotelians, Feminists, and other ethical theorists would contend) is not directly implied by the Yoruba tradition, and as such, subjecting this conception to alternating theories would be to drag it out of the boundaries of the concern here, though this is a task worthy of critical discourse in another study. The question remains: What is the contribution of the Yoruba understanding to the global discourse of animal ethics? This examination of Yoruba cultural attitudes toward human–nonhuman relations, to an extent, has attempted to establish that the Yoruba have an understanding of animal ethics, but there is no clear-cut indication that this understanding is either welfarist or rightist in orientation. That is, the Yoruba understanding seems to occupy a synthetic position between the two. Certain moral issues, as explicated in the Yoruba ethico-cultural reality, are in line with the thematic concerns of animal ethics except for their “superstitious relational attitude.” This exception might suggest the uniqueness or distinctiveness of the Yoruba ethical understanding or call for an exceptional metaphysico-ethical approach to understanding a Yoruba notion of animal ethics. By arguing for the relevance of the Yoruba understanding of animal ethics, we open up the dimension of cultural perspectives within the global discourse of animal ethics. ← 303 | 304 → It could be stated that animal welfare and rights positions (within the context of the global discourse) explore animal ethics from the pivot of biological, environmental/ecological, religious, political and economic concerns. The Yoruba understanding adds that as a global inquiry, animal ethics should also recognize “superstitious relational attitudes” (especially in this part of the world) along with other factors such as autonomy, obligation of care, and avoidance of pain and suffering. This is also a constant that shapes human–animal relations in the world, influencing the understanding of animal ethics in regions where this particular factor abounds. It also propels the interrogation of such tendencies in similar enclaves where it has been ignored or undermined. This factor should not be overlooked in an account of animal ethics as a cross-cultural discourse. The quintessential question remains: “Given this understanding of animal ethics, how does the value of a ‘superstitious relational attitude’ foster the purpose of animal liberation?” This question calls for further critical engagement.


This work has brought to light the perspectives of a non-Western understanding of animal ethics and could serve as a reminder that intercultural interrogation of pertinent issues bearing on the universe’s well-being (human and nonhuman alike) should be taken as a foremost task. Subjecting the Yoruba understanding of human–animal relations to the global discourse of animal ethics (alongside the Western distinction between animal rights and animal welfare) is not excluded from the concerns of this task. Moreover, we have been able to show that the Yoruba have a synthetic understanding of animal ethics, exhibited via the array of sayings, practices, beliefs and “superstitious relational attitudes” that articulate the Yoruba worldview. Even though this attempt may only minimally account for all that needs to be brought to light regarding the Yoruba understanding of animal ethics, it could serve as a springboard for broader analysis of ethical standpoints concerning human–animal relations.

Notes 1.

This is not to deny that the Yoruba have their idiosyncrasies, but our emphasis is on Yoruba commonalities with other cultural perspectives within the global sphere. When peculiarities arise in the Yoruba understanding of animal ethics, they should be evaluated in terms of their contributions to the global discourse of animal ethics, in an attempt to attain a holistic account that would engineer cross-cultural quests for animal liberation. The question of whether the uniqueness of such understandings contributes positively or negatively to the ← 304 | 305 → scope of animal ethics and promotes or impedes the quest for animal liberation becomes another issue to intellectually grapple with.


The intention here is to import the views of scholars like Godwin Sogolo, Anthony Appiah, and Olusegun Oladipo among others who have cautioned that in the discourse of critical issues such as animal ethics, philosophers should not limit reflective speculations to their local relevance; rather, critical discourses should be enjoined within the universal spectrum of perspectives, since the aim of intellectual exercise is to promote the unifying prospects of a flourishable humanity. As such, the epistemic undertone of philosophical inquiries should be shared on the basis of human similarities (biological, mental, cultural, ethical, etc.) across cultures. This work locates the Yoruba understanding of animal ethics within this context. See Sogolo, G. S. (1993), Foundation of African Philosophy: A Definitive Analysis of Conceptual Issues in African Thought, Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press, p. 74. See also Appiah, K. A. (1992a), “Inventing an African Practice in Philosophy: Epistemological Issues,” Mudimbe, V. Y (ed.) The Surreptitious Speech: Presence Africaine and the Politics of Otherness, 1947–1987, p. 230 and Appiah, K. A. (1992b), In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture, Oxford: Oxford University Press; see also, Oladipo, O. (1998), The Idea of African Philosophy, A Critical Study of the Major Orientations in Contemporary African Philosophy, pp. 36–40.


For an account of environmental ethics’ philosophical emphasis on the moral relationship of human beings and nonhuman Nature, see The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in


This assertion is aptly captured in Richard Ryder’s ideology of Painism. Also, it is implied by Rollin Bernard this way: “one must believe that the feelings of others warrant our attention … The attribution of mental

states especially those associated with pleasure and pain, joy and misery is connected with the possibility of morality”. See Rollin, B.E (2003), “Animal Pain,” Armstrong, S. J. & Botzler, R. G. (eds.) The Animal Ethics Reader, London & New York,, NY: Routledge, pp. 86–91. 5.

Both Regan and Singer are advocates of nonhuman animal equality, a basis upon which Animal Rights expand. See Regan, T. and Singer, P. (Eds.) (1989), Animal Rights and Human Obligations, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.


One Health recognizes that humans do not exist in isolation but are a part of a larger whole, a living ecosystem, and that all the activities of each member affect the other. Thus, One Health considers health as a whole, taking into account humans, animals, and the environment in which they exist. See (, accessed on February 1, 2012.


It is necessary to emphasize that this discourse could also be considered one of the footprints of African philosophy, pursued as a philosophical enterprise situated between critical/analytical and cultural studies, a controversy that has cast longtime skepticism on the question of whether reflections on issues addressed within the enterprise qualify as philosophical or whether they are a mere anthropological reportage on a people or community’s ways of life.


Ajibade Olusola has showcased this by presenting the oriki (panegyric) in praise of the antelope (etu) in Yoruba land: Etu obeje

Antelope obeje

Etu osun

The one who has legs painted red with camwood ← 305 | 306 →


The one who has thighs with which to touch dew

Eranko ti le tiroo

The animal that put on eye lashes

Eranko tii wa gonbo

The animal that wears gonbo tribal marks

See Ajibade, G. O. (2006), “Animals in the Traditional Worldview of the Yoruba,” Folklore, 10 (30), p. 161. Though we adopt Ajibade’s recitation of the panegyric on the antelope here to prove the point that Yoruba orature expounds upon the nature of phenomena, events, and creatures living or dead, this basis among others on which Ajibade claims equality within the Yoruba worldview for humans and animals remains controversial. Salient features like reasonability, moral responsibility and obligation, and religiosity surpass this basis of equality of humans and animals. Moreover, if orature is granted a common place in the Yoruba worldview applicable to both animate and inanimate things, it suffices that equality could be established among all classes of things, living and nonliving. In any case, Yoruba perception is not consensual about this. 9.

Here, “traditional” is emphasized because the practice of human sacrifice is not as prevalent in modern or civil Yoruba society as it has traditionally been, and thus it could be said to be socially illegitimate, though the case of animal sacrifice remains prominent across the board in Yoruba society, Traditionalists, Islamists, Christians, and others not excluded. Ajibade Olusola (2006, p. 159) also indicated that human sacrifice may not be common in contemporary society because of fundamental human rights enshrined in national constitutions.


The popular folktale of the tortoise, man, and squirrel in Yoruba land centers on the benevolent nature of the man who acted as a mediator in the settlement of disputes between the two animals but ended up being a

victim of injury inflicted upon him by the animals. While this tale is fictional, it could be deduced that the Yoruba worldview personifies animals as beings similar to human beings, and thus it is not surprising that this sort of worldview elevates animals’ status to divine entities, ancestral accomplices of their forebears, and often as “persons” in their own right. 11.

The addition here is ours; as the saying would be rendered incomplete without this and its absence would misrepresent the Yoruba intent here, which Ajibade seem to ignore.


This is correlated with the belief that in Yoruba land, the vulture is a formidable animal for food; as such, a hawk that takes the chance of getting close to a cooking pot would be added to the available meats in the pot, a risk the vulture can afford to take without fear of being harmed in traditional Yoruba society.


This is a common saying in Yoruba society; mainly it is an oral expression, and thus it is important that it should be catalogued as one of the sayings to draw upon in fine-tuning the Yoruba understanding of human– animal relations.


As regards this, Ajibade Olusola (2006, p. 168) reports that the preference of these animals is not determined by the Yoruba people but by the kind of god in question. Thus, for Ogun (God of Iron), dogs, snails, tortoise and rams are appropriate as appeasement/propitiation materials; the Goddess of the River, Oya accepts goats and fowls; Esu (the Yoruba trickster deity) prefers black fowl, Sango (God of Thunder) is fond of ram; Orunmila (God of Wisdom, Knowledge and Prophesy) is fond of rats, Osanyin (God of herbal medicine) is fond of the tortoise; Egungun (masquerade) is fond of rams, etc. ← 306 | 307 →


There is a Yoruba expression that supports this: gunnugun eye okun, akalamagbo eye osa, bi o ba jowo gbe ko ma johungbe (Idowu 2008: 31)—“the vultures of the sea, the vulture of the river, I call on you if you please, accept my offering, and do not reject my voice.” This expression shows that the Yoruba believe that animals like the vulture can traverse the terrestrial to celestial realms to convey prayer requests to the world beyond and canvass for favors or positive responses to humans in return.


The proof for this is found in indigenous classical Yoruba movie productions such as Koto Aye (Dungeon of the World—our translation), Koto Orun (Dungeon of the World Beyond—our translation); also, a film like Eran Iya Osogbo (Mama Osogbo’s Goat) is suggestive of this Yoruba superstitious outlook. See uploaded scenarios of the movies on “Babaonibaba TV,” Nollywood Yoruba movies, accessed online October 9, 2013. While these film texts may be categorized as “fictional,” they are not mis-representative of Yoruba superstitious beliefs about animals which determine the pattern of human–animal relations.

References Adewoye, S. (2007). Legal framework for animals and game management in Nigeria. Ibadan: Positive Press. Ajibade, G. O. (2006). Animals in the traditional worldview of the Yoruba. Folklore, 10(30), 155–172. Akinjogbin, I. (2008). Towards a political geography of Yoruba civilization. In M. Okediji (Ed.), Yoruba cultural studies. Ile-Ife: The University of African Art Press. Appiah, K. A. (1992a). In my father’s house: Africa in philosophy of culture. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Appiah, K. A. (1992b). Inventing an African practice of philosophy: Epistemological issues. In V. Y. Mudimbe (Ed.), The surreptitious speech: Presence Africaine and the politics of otherness, 1947–1987. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Barcalow, E. (1994). Moral philosophy, theory and issues. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Co. Baxter, W. F. (1999). People or penguins. In J. Arthur (Ed.), Morality and moral controversie. Englewood Cliff, NJ: Prentice Hall. Francoine, G., & Regan, T. (1992). A movement’s means creates its ends. The Animals’ Agenda Magazine, January/February, n.p. Gruen, L. (1993). Animals. In P. Singer (Ed.), A companion to ethics (pp. 343–353). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Idowu, A. (2008). Egberun owe Yoruba. Oyo: PP Publications. Ingold, T. (1988). What is an animal? London: Urwin Hayman Press. Ogunade, R. (2004). Environmental issues in Yoruba religion: Implications for leadership and society in Nigeria. Journal of Alore, 14, 180–191. Ojo, J. R. O. (2008). The diffusion of some Yoruba artefacts and social institutions. In M. Okediji (Ed.), Yoruba cultural studies. Ile-Ife: The University of African Art Press. Olajubu, O. (2008). The Yoruba oral artists and their work. In M. Okediji (Ed.), Yoruba cultural studies. Ile-Ife: The University of African Press. ← 307 | 308 → Olen, J., & Barry, V. (1992). Applying ethics: A text with readings. London: Wadsworth Inc. Olusola, A. G. (2006). Animals in the traditional worldview of the Yoruba. Folklore, 10(30), 155–172. Regan, T. (1980). Animal rights, human wrongs. Environmental Ethics, 2(2), 99–120. Singer, P. (1990). Animal liberation. New York, NY: New York Review of Books. Singer, P. (1992). All animals are equal. In B. Olen & V. Barry (Eds.), Applying ethics: A text with readings. London: Wadsworth. Sogolo, G. S. (1993). Foundations of African philosophy: A definitive analysis of conceptual issues in African thought. Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press.

← 308 | 309 →


Kathryn Asher is a doctorate candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick and a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral scholar. She is studying at the intersection of the sociology of food, dietary behavior change, social movement outcomes, and effective altruism with a focus on the role of dietary choices, perceptions, and experiences in changing meat consumption patterns in the United States. Kathryn holds a Master in Environmental Studies as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights and Political Science. She also serves as the Research Director for Faunalytics. Elizabeth Cherry is associate professor of sociology at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, where she teaches courses on environmental sociology, animals and society, sociology of food, and social movements. Her research focuses on veganism, animal rights, and the symbolic boundaries between human and nonhuman animals. Her recent book Culture and Activism: Animal Rights in France and the United States explores how culture affects the strategies, tactics, and success of animal rights activists. Her current research looks at birding as an environmental hobby. Lauren Corman, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology at Brock University, teaches Critical Animal Studies and contemporary social theory. She hosted and produced Toronto’s Animal Voices radio show and podcast ( from ← 309 | 310 → 2001 to 2009. Through that program, she interviewed hundreds of activists and scholars about animal issues and social justice. She publishes in the areas of intersectional feminist theory, critical pedagogy, and Critical Animal Studies. She is the coeditor of the forthcoming Animal Subjects 2.0, with Jodey Castricano (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2016). She is currently collaborating with filmmaker Karol Orzechowski (Maximum Tolerated Dose) on a documentary about animals, culture, and colonialism.

Sarat Colling is an author and activist who writes about animal resistance. Her master’s degree in sociology focused on the lives of farmed animals who escape captivity. She has published several books and articles about animals and social justice, including Chickpea Runs Away, her first children’s book. As a longtime vegan, she values the lives and voices of all animals who, just like Chickpea, have a story to tell. Sarat lives on Hornby Island, BC. Erika Cudworth is professor of Feminist Animal Studies at the University of East London, UK, where she teaches political sociology of various kinds and is co-chair of the Feminist Research Group. She is author of Environment and Society (2003), Developing Ecofeminist Theory: The Complexity of Difference (2005), The Modern State (with Tim Hall and John McGovern, 2007) and Posthuman International Relations (with Steve Hobden, 2011), and Social Lives with Other Animals: Tales of Sex, Death and Love (Palgrave, 2011). Her current research in critical animal studies looks at institutionalized violence, cultural representation, and the idea of emancipation. Carmen M. Cusack, J.D., Ph.D., has published numerous books, including Laws, Policies, Attitudes and Processes That Shape the Lives of Puppies in America (Sussex Academic Press, 2016); Animals, Deviance, and Sex (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015); and Animals and Criminal Justice (Transaction Publishers, 2015). Her most recent work is an advocacy article, “Save the White Tiger” (Journal of Law and Social Deviance, 2017). She has clerked, consulted, and volunteered for animal welfare organizations and dog training programs. Dr. Cusack teaches Animals in the Criminal Justice System at Nova Southeastern University. Maneesha Deckha is professor and Lansdowne Chair in Law at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include critical animal studies, postcolonial feminist theory, health law, and reproductive ethics. Her scholarship has appeared in American Quarterly, Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Hypatia, the McGill Law Journal, among other venues, and has been supported by the Canadian Institutes ← 310 | 311 → of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She also held the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Law and Society at New York University. She is currently completing a book project on feminism, postcolonialism, and animal law. Carmen Dell’Aversano teaches at Pisa university (Italy) and in several therapist training institutes. She has been a visiting professor to Princeton and the National University of Singapore. Her work spans a number of fields, from Jewish studies to psychology, from philosophy to discourse analysis, from literary theory to queer studies, from linguistics to film theory; her work in critical animal studies centers around animal queer, a concept she invented in 2010 and which has since gained considerable currency.

For the last twenty-five years she has volunteered as an animal rights activist at both the local and the national level. Amy J. Fitzgerald is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology, as well as the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Her areas of specialization include critical animal studies, green criminology, environmental sociology, and gender studies. Her most recent book is Animals as Food: (Re)connecting Production, Processing, Consumption, and Impacts, published by Michigan State University Press as part of their Animal Turn series. Adam J. Fix is a doctorate candidate at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. His research focuses on collaboration and conflict in environmental and animal social movements, applied ethics, and Indigenous influences on environmental policy. Since 2014 he has taught animal ethics in the Department of Philosophy at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, where he also advises the student Veg Club. He holds a BA from the University at Buffalo and an MS from Canisius College. Amber E. George, Ph.D., is a faculty member at Galen College where she teaches cultural diversity, philosophy, and sociology. Dr. George is a member of the Eco-ability Collective and an Executive Board Member of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS). She is the editor of Journal of Critical Animal Studies. She is currently working on writing numerous books and book chapters concerning the issues of non/human animal liberation, disability studies, and critical theory. She has also served as an editor on several projects for Social Advocacy and Systems Change Journal and is on the review board of Green Theory and Praxis Journal and Transformative Justice Book Series. ← 311 | 312 → Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., award-winning author and community organizer, is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Justice Studies, and Criminology in the Institute of Public Safety and the Department of Criminal Justice at Salt Lake Community College. He is the editor of the Peace Studies Journal, the Transformative Justice Journal, and the book series Poetry Behind the Walls, along with being a coeditor of five book series including Critical Animal Studies and Theory with Lexington Books and Hip Hop Studies and Activism with Peter Lang Publishing. He is the national coordinator of Save the Kids, executive director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, and director of Academy for Peace Education. He has published over fifty peer-reviewed book chapters or articles and over forty books. He has been interviewed by Houston Chronicle, Durango Herald, Fresno Bee, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, CNN, CBS, Fox, and New York Times.

I. O. Olatoye, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, in the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University specializing in food safety, antibiotic residue and resistance surveillance and intervention research. Dr. Olatoye is a veterinarian with 10 years private practice experience in veterinary extension services and supply of poultry birds, livestock drugs, feeds and vaccines in southern Nigeria. He is also actively involved in professional activities and consultancy services to livestock producers across the country. A. O. Owoseni holds a Masters of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Ibadan. He is a doctoral student in Animal Ethics at the same institution. His other research interests are philosophy of culture, existentialism, and epistemology. He is an active member of a budding animal welfare group within the University. Jovian Parry completed his master’s degree at the University of Canterbury in 2010. His research examined representations of animals in contemporary gastronomic texts, with particular focus on the narratives constructed around their slaughter. His thesis argues that participation in the “terrible but enlightening rite” of slaughter (‘Killing a Lamb Called Dinner’, French 1999) is portrayed as a powerful rejection of petty urban sentimentalism, even as a deep and highly sentimental nostalgia for a preindustrial pastoral utopia comes to the fore in these narratives. The discussion also analyzes the role celebrity gastronomes such as Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall play in the dissemination of these ideologies and in the construction of “good taste.” ← 312 | 313 → Zachary Richter M.S., M.A. is a scholar, debate coach, and artist. Zachary has a Master of Science in Disability Studies degree from the University of Illinois Chicago as well as a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of California, San Diego. Zachary resides in the fine city of Chicago, Illinois, while he is between graduate schools. Zachary’s work has been published in anthologies such as Disability Politics in a Global Economy and Disabling Domesticity. During his free time, Zachary likes cuddling cats, playing frisbee, and listening to punk music. Zachary is happily engaged to one Charles R. Myers of Hyde Park, Chicago. Additionally, Zachary blogs at ( Daniel Salomon has a Master of Arts in Research from Andover Newton Theological School along with a Graduate Certificate in Science and Religion from the Boston Theological Institute. Salomon holds a BS Cum Laude in Liberal Studies from Salisbury University, in Maryland, with concentrations in Biology, Environmental Studies, and Conflict Analysis/Dispute Resolution, as well as a Naturalist Certificate from the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies. Salomon is author of six books on the

environment (five of them available on Amazon) and has published in the Society for Disability Studies,, and Hoyt Arboretum in Portland, Oregon. Claudia Serrato is a doctorate candidate in the program of sociocultural anthropology at the University of Washington. Her dissertation research focuses on ancestral food memory and re-memory transmission through Indigenous cooking, taste, and eating from the modern Indigenous kitchenspace. Claudia holds two Master degrees (Anthropology and Chicana/o Studies) and a Bachelor degree in Gender, Ethnic, and Multicultural Studies. Outside of the institution, she is a community and plant-based chef, a womb ecologist, a mother of two, and a multi-issue social justice activist. Rasmus Rahbek Simonsen holds a doctorate in English and has taught at the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology since August 2015 as an assistant professor. His teaching focuses on the interplay between semiotic analysis and practical examples from the contemporary media and design landscapes. In addition to his teaching, Simonsen has published on a number of topics related to architecture, food studies, queer theory, and aesthetic theory. He has just finished editing a collection of essays with Jodey Castricano titled Critical Perspectives on Veganism, which is being published by Palgrave in October 2016. ← 313 | 314 → Sunaura Taylor is an artist, writer, and activist. Her written work has been printed in various edited collections as well as in publications such as the Monthly Review, Yes! Magazine, American Quarterly, and Qui Parle. Taylor worked with philosopher Judith Butler on Astra Taylor’s film Examined Life (Zeitgeist 2008). Taylor holds an MFA in art practice from the University of California, Berkeley. Her book Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation will be available Spring 2017 from The New Press. She is currently a doctorate student in American Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. Richard J. White is a reader in Human Geography at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Greatly influenced by anarchist geographies and critical animal studies his main research and teaching interests address a range of ethical and economic landscapes rooted in social and spatial justice. In 2017 Richard co-edited “The Radicalisation of Pedagogy,” “Theories of Resistance” and “The Practice of Freedom” (Rowman & Littlefield) and “Anarchism and Animal Liberation” (McFarland Press) in 2015. He has written chapters for “Animal Oppression and Capitalism” (Praeger, 2017); “Critical Animal Geographies” (Routledge, 2015); “Critical Animal Studies” (Peter Lang, 2014). More information about Richard’s work can be found on his website ( He can be contacted at [email protected] (http://[email protected]).

← 314 | 315 →


A Ableism – 4, 107, 108, 112, 114, 117, 118, 127, 131, 132 Aboriginal – 273 Academic Industrial Complex – 1, 208 Accountability – 101, 208, 209, 268, 269 Adams, Carol – 43, 45, 64, 65, 71, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 198, 199, 204, 214, 230, 257, 266, 268 African epistemology – 295 Anarchism – xiii, 2 Anarchist – 2, 209 Animal Abuse – 141, 143, 200, 204, 246 Animal abusers – 5, 204, 207, 208, 209 Animal law – 292 Animal Liberation Front (ALF) – xiii, 2, 293 Animal Queer – 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 24, 27, 28, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 41, 42, 44, 45 Anti-racist – 108, 172, 207, 208, 275 Anti-sexist – 275


Black Lives Matter – 2

C Calf – 55, 224, 246, 247, 248 Canada – 5, 97, 137, 138, 139, 144, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 161, 162, 173, 232, 273, 281 Carnism – 267 Christian – 51, 52, 167, 275, 306 Classism – 27, 94, 171, 173, 269 Classist – 167 Crime – 66, 138, 142, 151, 204, 206, 248, 250, 254, 255 Criminology – 138, 141, 200 Critical theory – 197, 199

D Davis, Angela – xvi, 108, 110 Death – 25, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 43, 44, 67, 69, 74, 76, 80, 82, 92, 117, 125, 126, 128, 140, 164, 168, 169, 174, 181, 193, 196, 208, 214, 220, 224, 247, 280, 293, 300, 301, 302 Decolonization – 6, 269, 274 Decolonizing – xviii, 3 Dehumanization – 13, 28, 30, 31, 32, 37, 42, 173, 174, 188, 194, 195, 199 Derrida, Jacques – 17, 20, 22, 33, 49, 75, 78, 79 Deviance – 51, 59, 67, 79, 143, 150 Disability studies – 4, 93, 94, 107, 113, 119, 131, 132 Duck(s) – 18, 121, 124, 129, 265, 274, 287

E Earth Liberation Front (ELF) – 2 Eco-ability – xii, 2, 114 Environmental degradation – 267 Environmentalism – 95, 162 Ethnic – 296

Ethnicity – 215

F Farm Sanctuary – 129, 130, 228 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – 250, 251, 258 Foucault, Michael – 23, 42, 50, 51, 53, 56, 66, 69, 71, 108, 145, 152, 192 Fur – 35, 72, 128

G Genocide – xvii, 32, 92, 94, 196, 198 George, Amber E. – 2 Goffman, Erving – 70, 72 Green criminology – 138, 141

H Hate-ful/crimes – 16, 39, 66, 173 Hens – 124, 125, 127, 217, 218, 219 Holocaust – 92 Human-animal – 65, 76, 80, 200

I Idle No More – 2, 6, 7, 271-290 Imperialist – 54, 167, 266, 268 Indigenous – 6, 191, 265, 266, 267, 269, 271, 272, 273, 274, 276, 277, 278, 279, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288 Industrialization – 217 Interethnic – 296 Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) – xi, xiii, xiv, xv, xvi, 2, 3, 312


Jewish – 168 Jones, Pattrice – 45

K Kahn, Richard – 2 Kheel, Marti – 187, 189

M Marx, Karl – 108 Marxian – 112, 113 Marxism – 113 Marxist – 4, 169 Mercy for Animals – 126, 228 Mexico – xiv, 265, 267 Muslim – 191, 192

N Neurotypicalism – 87, 88, 89, 93, 96, 100, 101 Nocella II, Anthony J. – 1, 2, 5, 208, 209 Nonprofit – 149

P People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) – 72, 73, 80, 93, 101, 128, 247, 249, 250, 293 Plant-based – 80, 235, 238, 239, 268, 269 Pornography – 258 Postmodernized – 214 Postmodernization – 213 Prison Abolition – 205, 206, 207


Queer theory – 3, 12, 13, 14, 16, 34, 64, 112

R Rabbit(s) – 177, 265, 298, 299 Racism – xiv, 5, 27, 96, 112, 171, 173, 192, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 215, 275

S Same-sex – 14, 18, 38, 41, 50, 53, 54, 55, 56, 59, 240, 255 Save the Kids – 2 Seal hunt – xiv Sexism – 27, 96, 171, 173, 204, 205, 215, 275 Sexual assault – 250, 257, 258 Social justice – 3, 97, 174, 203, 204, 205, 207, 208, 209, 228 Social movement – 5, 6, 187, 199, 229, 271, 275 Sociology – xiii, 100, 162, 229 Sorenseon, John – xiv, 2 Standing Rock – 2

T Terrorism – 197, 208 The Humane League – 228 Total liberation – xii, xviii, 2, 203, 204, 205 Transformative justice – 5, 203, 208 Transgender – 12, 35, 59, 80 Trump, Donald – xiv

U United Nations – 274, 275


Vegan Outreach – 126, 228, 232

W Walker, Alice – 258 White supremacy – 5 Wolfe, Cary – 73, 88, 90, 93, 94, 187, 189, 199

The Radical Animal Studies and Total Liberation book series branches out of Critical Animal Studies (a field co-founded by Anthony J. Nocella II) with the argument that criticism is not enough. Action must follow theory. This series demands that scholars are engaged with their subjects both theoretically and actively via radical, revolutionary, intersectional action for total liberation. Founded in anarchism, the series provides space for scholar-activists who challenge authoritarianism and oppression in their many daily forms. Radical Animal Studies and Total Liberation promotes accessible and inclusive scholarship that is based on personal narrative as well as traditional research, and is especially interested in the advancement of interwoven voices and perspectives from multiple radical, revolutionary social justice groups and movements such as Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, Earth First!, the Zapatistas, ADAPT, prison abolition, LGBTTQQIA rights, disability liberation, Earth Liberation Front, Animal

Liberation Front, political prisoners, radical transnational feminism, environmental justice, food justice, youth justice, and Hip Hop activism. To order other books in this series please contact our Customer Service Department: (800) 770-LANG (within the US) (212) 647-7706 (outside the US) (212) 647-7707 FAX To find out more about the series or browse a full list of titles, please visit our website: WWW.PETERLANG.COM (http://WWW.PETERLANG.COM)