Introduction | Call for Papers
Timetable and list of abstracts
Abstract submission is now closed. Thank you everyone for a great response to the Call for papers.
Timetable (pdf, 427kb):
Each presentation shall be 20 minutes, with 10 minutes for discussion.
BOOK OF ABSTRACTS (pdf, 482kb)
LIST OF ABSTRACTS
Non-human suffering, representation and the act of looking
University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Suffering is a common theme in different forms of media related to animal
rights and animal liberation. Although its significance has been viewed with
some suspicion, particularly due to its possible links to welfarism and its
alleged anthropocentric ramifications, non-human suffering rightfully
remains one central subject in pro-animal literature and imagery. The paper
explores this centrality by concentrating on what it means to lay open and
look at animal suffering. Drawing from Susan Sontag, J.M. Coetzee, Jacques
Derrida and others, it seeks to investigate various intricate questions
concerning the human capacity to cease animal suffering, the normative
implications of laying it bare, the conditions of the “right” to look at
such suffering, and the possible duties that are implied by the act of
looking. The main question is, what does it mean for a human being to
capture, show and look at non-human suffering?
Dr. Elisa Aaltola has worked as a lecturer and research fellow for a number of years, both in the UK and her native Finland. Her research has concentrated on both analytical and continental approaches to animal ethics, and philosophy of mind as related to other animals. Currently, she is a senior lecturer of philosophy at the University of Eastern Finland, and an adjunct professor (docent) at the University of Turku. Her research interests of late have included the concept of "animal suffering", the philosophical ramifications of direct animal activism, and phenomenological takes on empathy. She has published on Animal Ethics in all the major Environmental Ethics journals and her book Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture is forthcoming in 2012.
Beyond speciesism: intersectionality, critical sociology and the human domination of Other animals
The University of East London, UK
Talking about non-human animals and the profound difference of ‘species’ has proven difficult for sociology, a discipline whose boundaries were historically constituted around the designation of an arena - ‘the social’ – which was defined as exclusively human. Whilst sociology has broadened its subjects, objects and processes of study, it has held fast to this conception of the social as centred on the human. Influential voices have argued for the radical configuration of the discipline, and the paper concurs with those arguing for a sociology which acknowledges the way we are co-constituted with a range of non-human species as part of the condition of life on this planet. It argues however that this alone is insufficient and that we require a more politically engaged approach to decentring the human in sociology. What is needed is a sociology of species relations which draws on the insights of critical perspectives found in feminist, (post)colonial and Marxist sociologies.
This paper does not ‘just’ want to question sociological humanocentrism and argue for a critical posthuman sociology, it also wants to interrogate animal studies sociologically. The concept of ‘speciesism’ has been of great significance in raising political questions about the use and treatment of non-human animals. It is a foundational concept for more critical approaches in animal studies and has been important in introducing an analysis of power and domination into discussions of human-animal relations. However, there are limitations in the use of a concept based on a notion of discrimination. It is not adequate for capturing the full range of our social relations with non-human animals. A critical and sociological analysis of human relations with non-human animals can provide us with the tools for the theorisation of species in terms of human domination, exploitation and oppression, whilst remaining sensitive to differences in the kind and degree of human practices, and allowing some consideration for agency that is not exclusively human.
Critical perspectives in sociology must become aware of the limits of humanocentrism. In this sense, sociology needs animal studies as a corrective to its limitations, in order to paint a more convincing picture of social lives, which are multi-species lives. Sociology cannot continue to produce work on the body, on work, or on the ‘family’ for example, which assumes that all bodies or workers are human and that we dwell in single-species households. So too, might animal studies benefit from the insights of a critical sociological framework which can help us to better understand and explain some of the most pressing issues we face such as the global spread of Western models of animal farming and food consumption patterns. The social institutions and practices which frame the lives of Other animals are produced by configurations of power based not only on the difference of species, but of class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and so on. The oppressions of human and non-human animals are intersected, and we need to acknowledge this in our theories, in our empirical studies and in our struggles to change the world.
Dr. Erika Cudworth works in Sociology and Politics at the University of East London, UK. Her interests include multiple inequalities and intersectionality, feminist theory, complexity theory, and human relations with non-human animals, particularly domesticates. Her latest book is Social Lives with Other Animals: Tales of Sex, Death and Love (Palgrave, 2011). She is author of Environment and Society (Routledge 2003) and Developing Ecofeminist Theory: the Complexity of Difference (Palgrave 2005) and co-author of The Modern State: theories and ideologies (Edinburgh University Press 2007) and Posthuman International Relations (forthcoming, Zed, 2011). She is currently undertaking empirical research on companion species and marginalised workers, and thinking about posthuman political representation.
Becoming What We Are
Oxford Brookes University, UK
Sartre’s account of bad faith describes the practice by which individuals
endeavour to deceive themselves into believing that the identity on which
they have settled fully defines and delineates them. His famous example of
the waiter, who throws himself a little too enthusiastically into his
routines--he steps forward too quickly, his comportment is almost
mechanically perfect, he is overly attentive to the customers--illustrates
this form of identification which knows, at the same time, that it is a
wilful over-identification. In this presentation, I would like to suggest
that we might consider as a form of bad faith a particular, persistent self-identification
as human, which is to be found in the work of diverse writers, both academic
and otherwise, both sympathetic and opposed to a critical animal studies
perspective. Like the waiter who is a waiter but also so much more, these
writers effectively acknowledge only a narrow, limited part of themselves. This
fervent but misguided mode of humanist bad faith serves to instate an
unnecessary and damaging human-animal binary, and works to perpetrate a
violence on our very understanding of ourselves. In order to counter or
reconfigure this hasty self-conception, I will draw on the work of Nietzsche,
the philosopher who, perhaps above all others, was keen to acknowledge and
reassert the essentially animal nature of human being. Nietzsche’s great
imperative to “become what you are,” invoked throughout his work as a spur
to individual self-enhancement, will be deployed here toward more inclusive,
encompassing goals. By outlining a number of alternative, nonhuman
collectivities to which we each belong, and which extend far beyond an
impoverished self-identification as merely human, I will argue that we must
become all that we are.
Dr. Tom Tyler is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Culture at Oxford Brookes University, UK. His published research concerns the use of animals, and the persistent expression of anthropocentric assumptions, within philosophy, critical theory, and popular culture. He is the editor of Animal Beings (Parallax, 2006), the co-editor of Animal Encounters (Brill, 2009), and the author of CIFERAE: A Bestiary in Five Fingers (Minnesota University Press, forthcoming). <http://www.cyberchimp.co.uk/research/>
Are We More Than Animals? In Defense of the Biological Theory of Personal Identity.
Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
In spite of the fact that most ordinary people take for granted that we, humans, are animals of the Homo sapiens species, the currently predominant theories of our identity take us to be objects of a rather different kind. They claim (of course, with some differences in details) that we are persons, that is, beings that are defined not by their biological nature, but by their mental life. According to these theories, we begin to exist when some strong psychological relations, such as memory, self-reflection, language capacity and rationality, emerge, and we cease to exist when these stop operating. Some, such as Lynne Rudder Baker, believe that persons are ontologically superior to animals. In my talk I would like to present several arguments against the psychological position and for the position that has been gaining popularity in recent years - animalism - a theory that gets us closer to our animal nature and places us within the biological continuum. I will claim that the best psychological theory - Baker´s constitution theory - faces the duplication problem of mental states and gives the wrong picture of sortal predicates and essential properties. I will conclude that we are, in essence, animals.
Mgr. Radim Bělohrad, PhD. is an assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University. He teaches ethics and philosophy of language and also works in the fields of analytic metaphysics. His dissertation, to be published soon, deals with the topic of personal identity and its practical value. His other recent articles include Theism, Atheism and the Justification of Private Evidence and The Metaphysical and Moral Premises of the Abortion Debate.
Cognitive relatives yet moral strangers? What our growing knowledge on socio-cognitive abilities in animals tells us.
Department of Philosophy/Bioethics, University of Tübingen, Germany
The presentation provides an empirically based, interdisciplinary approach to the following two questions: Do animals possess behavioral and cognitive characteristics such as culture, language, and a theory of mind? And if so, what are the implications, when long-standing criteria used to justify differences in moral consideration between humans and animals are no longer considered indisputable? One basic implication is that the psychological needs of captive animals should be adequately catered for. However, for species such as great apes and dolphins with whom we share major characteristics of personhood, welfare considerations alone may not suffice, and consideration of basic rights may be morally warranted - as for humans. Initiatives like the Great Ape Project claim for such rights. However, up to now, they mainly focused on very few species who are our closest "cognitive relatives". What if other species "come close" as well? After all, our understanding of the very abilities rights are being linked to has changed over the past decades of research. Although characteristics supporting the status of personhood are present to differing degrees among the diverse array of animal species, this is a barrier to moral consideration only if anthropocentric, exclusive, and monolithic viewpoints about the necessary prerequisites for personhood are applied. Therefore, the presentation focuses on the incremental progression of cognitive, social, and psychological capacities as a characteristic that has to be recognized in debates on animal rights. The presentation summarizes the paper “Cognitive Relatives yet Moral Strangers?” by J. Benz-Schwarzburg and Andrew Knight, which was published this year in the Journal of Animal Ethics.
Judith Benz-Schwarzburg is a PhD student from the University of Tübingen, Germany. From 2006-2009 she was a member of the Research Training Group Bioethics at the International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities of the University of Tübingen. In addition, from 2006-2007, she participated in a study program of the Forum Scientiarum of the University of Tübingen, examining the biological and cultural foundations of human consciousness. Recent publications include “Cognitive Relatives yet Moral Strangers?” (In: Journal of Animal Ethics 1/2011, together with Andrew Knight) and “Great Apes and New Wars” (In: Civil Wars 12(4)/2010, together with Sophia Benz).
The Cage of Society: Reflections on the Societal Human-Animal-Relationship
University of Hamburg, department of Social Sciences, Germany
There are social and cultural media which strongly reflect collective thoughts, social practices and structure as well as interests and economic relations without actually articulating them. This is true, for example, for the cage – in the strict or broader sense, in all its different forms, sizes and material construction (even if the iron bars are made invisible and the cage is called a free-range area). The cage is part of the materialistic as well as of the symbolic world, it is a technical and functional artefact and instrument as well as a sign and metaphor.
It will be suggested that the cage markes a demarcation line and constitues a space where social differentiations can materialise by physical exclusion, incarceration, lack of freedom, constriction, control, delimitation. This paper critically explores the social relation which forms the cage. That one is historically based on power relations and relations of violence and follows economic interests. Though this social relation originally is the human-animal relation, the cage – together with the animals confined there – was used so far only metaphorically in sociology and cultural studies to describe relations between human beings.
In a first attempt this paper seeks to make the cage comprehensible in its different dimensions. We will have a closer look at social practices, order and value orientation as well as at schemes of meaning, which are associated with the cage. In addition, the paper will reflect on what kind of line is drawn by the cage. By exploring this we will ask: Who is inside and outside the cage and by which social mechanisms? Is there any entanglement between the oppression of human and of animal beings? And is there any interconnectedness of the structure, economy, practices and self-definition of society with the architecture and use of the „animal cage“ and the relation to the animals kept inside?
Melanie Bujok is a social scientist from Bochum, Germany. Her main research interests include the analyses of society and animals.
On this field she has held lectureships at the universities of Bielefeld and Hamburg and will have another one at the summer university of Villigst in august; and she has presented several papers during the last years, e.g. at conferences of the German Sociological Association, of the Professional Association of German Sociologists and of the Group for Society and Animal Studies in Hamburg.
Bujok is author of numerous essays on human-animal relationship. She is e.g. co-editor of „Das Mensch-Tier-Verhältnis. Eine sozialwissenschaftliche Einführung“ (“Human-animal relations. An introduction from social science perspectives”) – forthcoming.
Is there really a fundamental cognitive human-animal-difference? How current research findings challenge the human claim to power over animals.
Group for Society and Animals Studies, University of Hamburg, Germany
From antiquity on it has been popular to assert a fundamental cognitive human-animal-difference and through this to construct animals as inferior to humans. This assumed inferiority is still the main justification for the human claim to power over animals. My first aim is to confront the idea of such a fundamental cognitive difference with results of recent biological and behavioral science. My second aim is to show how these results challenge the human claim to power – a consideration which is usually ignored by biological or behavioural researchers. Therefor I will present findings of a research project conducted at the University of Hamburg (see Buschka et al. 2007; Buschka/Rouamba, forthcoming 2011a, b).
First, I extracted seven main dimensions of ‘mind’ from the philosophical discourse: Phenomenal Consciousness, Intentionality, Language, Learning, Theory of Mind, Logical Reasoning, Memory & Future Representation. Second, I analysed some of the main authors in animal-related philosophical discourse as Descartes, Montaigne, Davidson, Searle, Dennett and Perler/Wild regarding the question whether and how they construct a fundamental cognitive human-animal-difference. Third, I conducted a meta-analysis of recent biological and behavioural studies on the cognitive capacities of animals to challenge such a construction.
According to the examined biological studies there are no fundamental but at most gradual cognitive human-animal-differences - sometimes animals are even better candidates (e.g. in memory tests). Thus, the social construction of a fundamental cognitive human-animal-difference does not hold. This implies that the human claim to power over animals, mainly based on such a difference, has to be dismissed. In consequence this must lead to fundamental changes e.g. in law, food & agriculture, medical industry, ‘pet’-keeping and the handling of natural living spaces.
Sonja Buschka (M.A.): I finished my Master in Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Hamburg (Germany) in 2010. Currently, I am working on my PhD in the field of critical sociological Human-Animal-Studies. Further research interests are social inequalities implying racism, colonialism, sexism and classism. I am co-founder of the “Group of Society and Animals Studies” (www.gsa-hamburg.org) at the University of Hamburg and of the Group “Minding Animals Germany”, co-editor of the book “Society and Animals. Sociological Analyses of an Ambivalent Relationship” (forthcoming 2011, VS Verlag) and author of two academic articles in this volume.
Conceptualising agency in human-animal relations
Bob Carter and Nickie Charles
Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK
Animal studies, as an interdisciplinary field, embraces different theoretical and conceptual approaches to understanding human-animal relations. Many of these approaches argue that animals exercise agency, from Callon’s scallops to Irvine’s cats and dogs. One of the difficulties with using agency in this way is that its meaning varies and is often unclear, frequently implying that agency is equally a property of humans, animals and ‘things’. Furthermore, some argue for a social ontology in which the connection between reflexivity and agency is severed. In the work of both Latour and Law, for example, the boundaries between the human and the non-human are erased through the extension of agency to non-human animals and to inanimate objects. The paper will consider these efforts to redefine agency and examine their methodological implications. It will argue for a sociological conception of agency as social relational and therefore a property only of collectivities. A consequence of being an animal and belonging to the collective constituted by animals in an anthropocentric society is that you may be subject to human abuse, violence and exploitation. Defining agency in this way implies that our positions within social relations are involuntary and come before any knowledge we may have of them, whilst recognizing that agential properties must be reflexively mediated in order to shape social action. Agency cannot therefore be readily extended to the non-human although, as we argue, animals embedded in social relations with humans can, in a very specific sense, be seen as actors and as agentic beings.
Bob Carter is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK. He has published extensively on realist social theory and social research and on sociological approaches to racism and ethnicity. He is author of Realism and Racism (Routledge, 2000); co-author (with Alison Sealey) of Applied Linguistics as Social Science (Continuum 2004); co-editor (with Nickie Charles) of Nature, Society and Environmental Crisis (Blackwell Wiley, 2010) and of Human and Other Animals: Critical Perspectives (Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming). His current research explores notions of agency in contemporary debates about human-nonhuman relations.
Nickie Charles is Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender in the Sociology Department at the University of Warwick. She has published widely on many aspects of gender. Her most recent publications are Families in Transition (with Charlotte Aull Davies and Chris Harris, 2008) and Nature, Society and Environmental Crisis (co-edited with Bob Carter) Blackwell Wiley, 2010. She is also co-editor with Bob Carter of Human and Other Animals: Critical Perspectives (Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming).
Alternative methods in toxicology and related animal research: progress or perpetuation of traditions?
Jasmijn de Boo
Animal Consultants International, UK
Approximately 127 million animals are used every year in scientific experiments and procedures worldwide. The majority of species used are rodents. Over one million animals (8.7%)—nearly 70% of which were rodents—were used for the purpose of toxicology and other safety testing in the EU in 2008. The number of animals used in toxicological studies worldwide is many times higher, although difficult to estimate due to a lack of reporting. Many animals experience discomfort, pain, fear, physiological stress and psychological distress, social disruption, injuries, and a range of pathologies in a wide variety of procedures, particularly in toxicity and safety testing experiments. Several reports have indicated poor predictivity of animal models for human toxicological outcomes, and called for decreased reliance on animals for such research.
This presentation is aimed at describing and quantifying the reported
implementation of 3Rs methodologies (Replacement and Reduction of animal use
and Refinement of procedures in scientific animal research and improvement
of animal husbandry, originally drafted by Russell and Burch in 1959) in
papers on toxicology and related disciplines in 2006-2007. 196 such randomly
selected articles were reviewed. Journal editorial policies on animal use
and the level of compliance of the articles with such policies were also
assessed showing poor compliance rates. Implementation of the 3Rs was
minimal, but the best results were reported in articles from multiple
authors with mixed affiliations (Universities, Government institutions and
private industry). It is a joint responsibility of authors, reviewers and
editors to ensure the 3Rs are better implemented and reported in scientific
publications, and it is time to give up traditions and make way for 21st
century scientific and technological non-animal approaches in toxicity
testing and other animal research.
Jasmijn de Boo is an animal welfare scientist and educator, and Founder and past Leader of Animals Count, a UK political party for people and animals. Before joining the World Society for the Protection of Animals as Education Programmes Manager in 2004, Jasmijn was teaching and involved in other further and higher education positions in the Netherlands from 2000. In November 2008 Jasmijn joined the Brooke as interim Programme Advisor (Research) and in 2010 she worked at the University of Bristol. She is currently writing up five research articles about alternatives to animals in experiments, as part of a PhD by Research Publications. She has also just been appointed CEO of the UK Vegan Society.
Modes of Domination and Technologies of Power: A Critical Inquiry into the Debate over Animal Experimentation at the University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia, Canada
In this paper, I argue that many of Michael Foucault’s insights can be extended productively into the area of critical animal studies. Hence, I present the university animal research center as a technology of power, which is actively engaged in disciplinary practices such as ‘hierarchal observation,’ ‘normalizing judgement,’ and ‘examination,’ and which is thus complicit in the objectification and domination of both human and nonhuman animal subjects. Indeed, Foucault’s work provides me with a useful heuristic framework for interrogating the constellation of spaces and discourses in which various bodies (both human and nonhuman) are implicated, specifically within the domain of scientific reasoning and animal research. I begin by outlining Foucault’s multifaceted notion of power. In particular, I explore his idea that power is inextricably entwined with knowledge. For Foucault, the supposedly scientific and benevolent disciplines of modernity are always allied with power and intimately involved in modes of domination. With this in mind, I then consider the nonhuman animals confined within the university animal research center as bodies located in a political field, invested with power-knowledge relations, which render them ‘docile,’ politically and economically exploitable.
Finally, I examine the current debate over animal experimentation at the University of British Columbia (UBC) through a mode of inquiry inspired by Foucault’s ideas and methods. Here, I investigate some of the arguments put forward by UBC representatives in an attempt to preserve the university’s current power-knowledge relations with regards to both its human and nonhuman animal subjects. In this way, I call critical attention to the way in which the university’s discursive practices privilege certain subjects and silence others. I also reveal some of the implicit rules that are at work behind the university’s arguments, as well as the assumptions and contradictions that are entailed by these rules. The object of my critique is thus to expose and destabilize the givenness and complacency of the university’s rationale. Furthermore, my aim aligns with Foucault’s assertion in his own critical endeavours: “to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions and starting from this re-problematization, to participate in the formation of a political will" (“Concern for Truth” 265).
Lindsay Diehl has a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Her poems and short stories have been published in Portfolio Milieu Anthology 2004, and in Fireweed, Rant, The Capilano Review, Lake and Geist.
The New Animal Taxonomy: ‘rendering’ animals visible in Sue Coe’s slaughterhouse sketches.
Heather Rose Dodge
Manhattan College, USA
Through an examination of the art of Sue Coe in her influential visual narrative Dead Meat (1996)—an exposé of Canadian, American, and British slaughterhouses—this presentation will discuss the ways in which animals are ‘rendered’ visible in slaughterhouses. Nicole Shukin’s double entendre of the term ‘render,’ as something made visible through representation and also broken down into its remains, will help us read Coe’s work to show how animals go from being individuals to anonymous parts in slaughterhouses (Shukin 2009). Through a close reading of Coe’s Dead Meat, the presenter will propose a new way of understanding Coe’s slaughterhouse sketches as visual taxonomies of the lives of animals that resist metaphor, representation, and interpretation, and focus instead on the actual life and death of the animal. These new visual taxonomies are grassroots categorizations of animal lives that resist the anonymization of slaughterhouse livestock and focus instead on the idiosyncratic and unsystematic nature of animal beings. Coe’s artistic ‘rendering’ of animals before and after their moment of death not only brings awareness to the tragedy of animal lives on factory farms, but also shows how the particularity of each slaughtered animal only becomes ‘visible’ when they are broken down into their consumable parts. Thus, Coe’s drawings allow for the animal to be seen in a new light: as a truly individual creature, but also as one that becomes anonymous through slaughter.
Heather Dodge (M.L.I.S., M.A.) is the Information Services and Research Librarian at Manhattan College. She is a graduate of Long Island University’s Master’s in Library Science program and New York University’s Draper Program for Humanities and Social Thought. Her research interests include a,nimal studies in literature and art, postcolonial South African literature and the power of the organization of information. She has published in Public Services Quarterly and Booklist.
A Lick and a Promise
Columbia University, USA
Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous definition of man as the animal that is allowed to make promises hinges on his use of language and his historicity. The promise presupposes a notion of futurity, a faculty of memory, as well as a concept of truth and falsehood. Nietzsche’s animal, by contrast, is silent, and as such lives a-historically; it has neither past nor future, no language, and “does not know how to play a part, hides nothing, and appears in each moment exactly and entirely what it is. Thus a beast can be nothing other than honest.” Yet this animal honesty is of a different order than man’s because it does not carry with it the possibility of deceit. Hidden within the promise there is always the implication that it may not be fulfilled.
This paper explores the problem of honesty and deceit as it relates to the interaction between man and animal in literary and philosophical discourse around 1900, with particular focus on a little-known text by Rainer Maria Rilke entitled “An Encounter,” in which an unnamed everyman encounters a stray dog on a country road. The text is the record of the interaction between this man and this dog, a mournful reflection on the necessity of the ‘contract’ whereby the dog promises to remain silent so long as the man promises to be the master. But this ‘contract’ is inherently asymmetrical because of the incompatible versions of honesty available to each party. In the past, such asymmetry would have betokened man’s superiority; for Rilke, as for other writers of this period, it is more likely to highlight his deficiency. This paper aims to link this anxiety about the human-animal relationship to the pervasive ‘crisis of language’ that was sweeping Europe at the time.
Kári Driscoll was born in Iceland and attended school there as well as in England and Denmark. He studied Modern Languages at Oxford University where he graduated with a specialization in Italian and German in 2003. He is currently writing his dissertation at the Columbia University Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures on the poetics of animality in German and European literary modernism, focusing on the relationship between metaphor and the figure of the animal in the works of Franz Kafka, Luigi Pirandello, and Rainer Maria Rilke.
Innocent Threats and the Moral Problem of Carnivorous Animals
Department of Philosophy, Rice University, Texas, USA
The existence of predatory animals is a vastly neglected problem in animal ethics. It reveals a weakness in Tom Regan’s standard account of animal rights that leads us to his treatment of innocent human threats. We show that there are cases in which Regan’s justice-prevails-approach to morality implies a duty not to assist the jeopardized, contrary to his own moral beliefs. While a modified account of animal rights that recognizes moral patients as a kind of entities that can violate moral rights avoids this counterintuitive conclusion, it makes non-human predation a rights issue that morally ought to be subjected to human regulation. We suggest to those who, like us, find it less plausible to introduce morality to the wild than rejecting the concept of rights that makes this move necessary, to read our criticism either as a modus tollens argument and reject non-human animal rights altogether or as motivating a libertarian-ish theory of animal rights.
Rainer Ebert: I am a
philosopher primarily interested in moral philosophy and currently a Ph.D.
student at Rice University. Before arriving in Texas in 2010, I spent four
years at Heidelberg University where I earned a Diplom (the German
equivalent of a M.Sc.) in Theoretical Physics.
I am an academic, but I also like to see myself as an activist. I believe that philosophy can, and must, involve itself in the pressing social and political issues of our time. I have been engaged in the animal rights movement, the fight against extreme poverty and the struggle against the discrimination against sexual minorities.
Precious Property or Family Animals?
Green Idea Factory, Germany/USA
At best, companion animals are treated as property with special rights. This legal philosophy does not and will never guarantee them the projection they need.
“Family Animals” is a proposition that there is a legal definition for essentially any non-human animal with a name. It will create a “family animal”, "2nd tier dependent", "alternative child", “family companion” or similar definition that politicians, average citizens with and without domestic animal companions, philosophers and theologians will eventually agree with or at least understand and which the media will be able to explain.
Family Animals are generally neither flesh nor other food products nor do they normally provide fur or skin for clothing or vanity. (A cow or a few chickens etc. might have names and provide milk or eggs primarily for family use – these would also be Family Animals. Circus animals would also be Family Animals).
Family Animals provide a function in families most similar to dependents, i.e. children.
The new national legal definition would create, for example, a new division of an authority or agency which deals with families. So, in the USA this would mean a transfer from the USDA to HHS (Health and Human Services) and in most European countries a transfer a responsibility from e.g. the Ministry of Agriculture to the one responsible for families.
Family Animals are not more important, more valuable or more deserving of
good treatment than other non-human animals. The purpose of the new
definition is not to reduce or slow efforts aimed at reducing exploitation
of animals for flesh & food, fur, skin or entertainment – what Family
Animals aims to do is legally recognize the different roles – compared to
“agricultural” or wild animals – these animals have within the family
structure. With new laws at the national or supernational level, these
animals and their families will receive more support and protection compared
to the current situation.
Todd Edelman is a California-born urban sustainability consultant of Mitteleuropean origins. He is currently based in Berlin, on average a great place for dogs - including his two rescues from NYC - but with considerable contradictions: They can be legally walked off-leash on the pavements (sidewalks) and leashed into not just restaurants but department stores -- but their freedom in parks in the German capital is extremely limited. Working primarily on cycling for transportation, Todd endeavors to improve street designs so that they accommodate all users safely, including people walking with their dogs.
Subjugation: International Law and the Global Conquest of Animals
Alejandro Lorite Escorihuela
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Helsinki University, Finland
This paper proposes a critical analysis of international law and specific bodies of rules and institutions within it – international environmental law, the law of the sea, or international trade law – from the perspective of animal liberation. In the fields of law and legal studies, and particularly as far as international law is concerned, attention to the "animal question" is either exclusively informed (in policy-making) or overwhelmingly dominated (in academic research) by the ideological frameworks of conservationism and welfarism. From an interdisciplinary perspective, this paper sketches in contrast the methodological bases and theoretical frame for an analysis of global legal regimes, including their conservationist and welfarist rules and institutions, which structure planetary domination over animals, understood as an inherent dimension in the political organization of the world by law.
The main line of argument consists in three main points.
(1) Law and legal institutions, as cardinal elements in political liberalism's image of the political sphere, are central to the oppression of nonhuman animals. That centrality is not only due to the actual use of law for the functional regulation of oppression and mercy, as in the globalization of legal conceptions of property that sustain the commodification of animals and animal parts for trade, management of fisheries, protection of endangered species and so on. The law's central function is also grounded in a shared, yet implicit, more structural, and mostly unconscious, understanding of "law" itself as the antithesis of animal life, through the mythical and still ubiquitous image of the "state of nature".
(2) In the era of globalization, understanding the intertwined global regimes that ultimately direct and channel the destiny of functionally defined animals (as pets, test subjects, pests, endangered species, and so on) is assumed to be important to any conversation about animal liberation or even animal welfare at a national or local level.
(3) A critical legal analysis of the global rule of law that is informed by the "animal question", and the issue of animal liberation more specifically, requires therefore a comprehensive theory of animal domination that integrates the relationship between law, property, and violence in political liberalism.
Against that background, this paper presents a sketch of such a theoretical framework, through an exploration of the relationship between the legal institutions of war and conquest, the legal theory of slavery, and the position of the animal in social contract mythology.
Alejandro Lorite Escorihuela: I hold a doctoral degree from Harvard Law School (2004), and Masters degrees in international law from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies and Harvard. I have taught in the fields of international law, human rights, the laws of war and jurisprudence at the Université du Québec, Montréal, and the American University in Cairo, Egypt, where I am a faculty member with the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. I have also been visiting faculty at the Institut d'études politiques in Paris, the University of Helsinki, and Addis Ababa University. In the coming two years, I will be on a research leave as a Fellow with the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Finland, on a grant for a project entitled "The Global Governance of Animal Death".
Resisting Violence in Nature
Cátia Faria and Beril Sözmen
University of Pompeu Fabra, Spain and Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
The humanistic tradition has led to widespread – albeit not universal – agreement on inalienable rights for members of the human species. A number of arguments have criticised the anthropocentricism of confining such rights to humans. Humans as well as non-human animals, it is argued, can possess certain characteristics, which make them units of moral considerations.
Others argue that individuals should not be considered as the main or single unit of moral patiency and suggest that communities should be considered as well or even primarily. Such positions criticise the atomic conception of self and argue that selves had better be understood as relational entities.
These competing ontological positions engender competing normative positions: One position argues that ecosystems have instrumental value in as much as they enable individual lives to exist or flourish. The other position argues that ecosystems or biotic communities are intrinsically valuable.
The latter view implies that it is morally permissible to harm or to kill sentient animals if this helps the conservation of ecosystems. The former argues that we should reject environmentalist principles that claim that ecosystems are intrinsically valuable and defend the consideration of animal interests in nature, even if doing so should endanger the equilibrium of ecosystems or the conservation of biodiversity.
Some argue that sustaining the latter position would be absurd since it
would imply that moral agents should intervene in nature in order to relieve
animal suffering that results from natural processes. In our presentation,
we aim to discuss whether anti-speciesism commits moral agents to reducing
the suffering and death of wild animals. We argue for a non-anthropocentristic
position, which applies the same criteria to suffering individuals, whether
human or not, while critically questioning the scope of human moral agency.
Cátia Faria is a Phd student at the University of Pompeu Fabra, currently working on animal ethics, specifically on the question of non-human personhood, and the ethics of intervention in nature;
Beril Sözmen is a teacher of Philosophy and Ethics at the Istanbul Technical University. She is particularly interested in the foundations of non-anthropocentric ethics.
Resisting the rhetoric of animal enhancement
Arianna Ferrari (PhD)
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Germany
The concept of “animal enhancement” has recently emerged in connection with that of “human enhancement” in the context of reflection on technoscientific development, to indicate technological interventions aimed explicitly at improving animal performances. In the report that launched the idea of converging technologies in the US, the optimization of the animals in agriculture through genetic engineering and nano-enabled sensors for monitoring health and nutrition is seen as part of the bigger project of improving human performances (Roco and Bainbridge 2002). Animal Enhancement has also been defended by advocates of the transhumanist agenda and by other scholars, who are generally committed to defend a form of “posthumanism” based on the (ontological) questioning of species boundaries. These authors have even argued for a moral obligation to enhance animals because their interests and our general commitment to protect animals matter morally (Núńez-Mujica 2006; Dvorsky 2008; Chan 2009).
In this paper I will analyse the arguments and the technological visions behind the rhetoric of animal enhancement. First I will show that the actual empirical research involving animals is not aimed at improving animal performances for the sake of the animal but for the human use (Ferrari et al. 2010). This results in a vast majority of interventions which are “disenhancements” for the animal. Secondly, I will show the methodological flaws connected with the arguments used by transhumanist and posthumanist scholars: their ontological work as radical critique of the human essence appears detached from the actual empirical and socio-economic context of the research and constructed on a hyped vision of the “rational” of techno-scientific complex. I will conclude with some reflections on technologies and animals.
Arianna Ferrari, PhD studied Philosophy in Milan and wrote a PhD on ethical and epistemological aspects of the genetic engineering of animals in biomedical research at the University of Tübingen (Germany) and Torino (Italy), which was published as a book. She worked on diverse projects on new and emerging technologies, in particular nanotechnologies, cosmetic surgery and human enhancement at the Technical University of Darmstadt and at the University of Münster (Germany). From 2009 till march 2010 she has worked on a project on animal enhancement at ITAS (Institute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), where she is now working in the EU project EPOCH (Ethics in Policy-Making: The case of Human Enhancement).
She has published widely and lectured on ethical, political and social aspects of emerging technologies, in particular connected with the animal use. She also teaches and researches on animal philosophy, on the interface between ethics and epistemology as well as ethics and politics in life sciences.
Bursting Bubbles: Comics in Research, a Queer case study.
Nathan Stephens Griffin
Durham University (School of Applied Social Sciences), UK
Animal rights activists are frequently described as terrorists by the government and media, and are listed alongside Al Qaeda as a leading threat to domestic security (Home Office, 2009). This is interesting when one considers the comparative non-violence and gender composition of animal rights groups. Terms such as terrorist are fundamentally subjective and diachronic in nature. Queer theorys focus on the fluidity of labels represents a useful prism through which to view such issues. To be Queer is to be at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant (Halperin, 1997:62). Queer is an identity defined purely in terms of its opposition to that which is normal. Thus, Queer theory challenges prevailing, essentialist notions of gender and sexuality. Ecofeminist and animal rights philosophy can be said to pose a similar challenge to essentialist notions of normal human behavior regarding the consumption of animals. My research reconceptualizes veganism/animal rights activism in Queer terms, taking the vegan as its Queer subject. My methodology involves the use of biographical interviews and comics; a narrative medium utilizing visual and/or textual modes of expression (LeFevre, 2000). Comics are visually engaging in a way that traditional prose is not and rather than being a hindrance to complexity, comics can convey nuanced ideas in a multi-dimensional way. Comics also allow research participants a level of creative empowerment within the project. People from wider social and educational backgrounds can engage with and respond to comics and literary and journalistic circles have embraced the comic as a valid medium. At present, much valuable academic work exists in an insular bubble, inaccessible to wider society, and thus ineffective. My presentation argues that if the academy can make space for comics, it can go some way to bursting that bubble.
Nathan Stephens Griffin was born in 1985 and grew up in Pity Me, Durham. He is an ESRC funded doctoral researcher at Durham University. His research focuses on the biographies and lived experiences of vegans and radical animal rights activists in the UK and USA.
“When science speaks, let no dog bark”: Moral disengagement in animal experimentation at British universities
University of Exeter, UK
This paper will consider Albert Bandura's theory of moral disengagement
(1999, 2002) in the context of university-based animal experimentation
licensed under the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. It begins
with the assumption that most scientists carrying out harm-inducing
experimental procedures on nonhuman animals in laboratories do not enter the
profession with a desire to deliberately inflict suffering on sentient
beings but become socialised into an institutionalised practice that still
necessitates such actions. Bandura's model builds on an interactionist
perspective on morality and suggests that through a set of psychosocial
mechanisms (moral justification, exonerative comparison, euphemistic
language, diffusion and displacement of responsibility, attribution of blame,
and dehumanisation, or deanimalisation), moral self-sanctions can be
disengaged from harm-inducing conduct, a suggestion supported by much
sociological and situationist social psychological literature on harm and
violence (Zimbardo 2004, Doris 2002, Arendt 1964, Milgram 1974, Cohen 2001).
This presentation will consider Bandura's mechanisms in turn and apply
these, together with insights from well-known practice theorists Pierre
Bourdieu and Michel Foucault, to a study of animal experimentation at UK
universities, focussing particularly on the ethical review process with
information gained partly through the Freedom of Information Act (2000).
This paper shows how the conditions for mechanisms of moral disengagement
are built into the infrastructure, regulatory practices and cultural tools
of the industry. As activists lobby and target scientific institutions,
medical charities, policy-makers and the public on the issue of animal
experimentation, it is hoped that by unearthing how mechanisms of moral
disengagement work to entrench and perpetuate the status quo and undermine
ethical and lay scrutiny, a useful contribution can be made in the search
for points of intervention that take into account that very often “moral
argument is not enough” (Pleasants 2011).
Jessica Groling is a PhD student and teaching assistant in Sociology at the University of Exeter, UK. She has been actively involved in the animal advocacy movement for many years, most recently through animal rescue work and hunt sabotage. Her PhD research focusses on moral disengagement in animal experimentation and the wider issues surrounding the regulation and framing of animal use in scientific research. She also has a long-standing interest in anarchist theory and co-organises the AHRC-funded Anarchist Reading Group and Engaging with Radical Ideas Project based at Exeter, regularly appearing on Exeter's community radio station to talk about radical ideas and animal rights issues. Together with a team of other postgrads, she is currently coordinating a postgraduate conference on “Critical Perspectives on Animals in Society” to take place at Exeter in February 2012.
“Not Doing Things by Halves – But Barbecuing Whole Animals” - Meat and Masculinity in the German Magazine “BEEF!”
University of Hamburg, Group for Society and Animals Studies, Germany
Meat, with its symbolic value of power (over animals and nature) plays a vital role for the construction of gender identities, associated forms of desire and for the representation and production of the symbolic gender order. In this paper I will examine how hierarchical gender relations and animal exploitation intersect. Referring to the work of Carol J. Adams and others, I will show how meatconsumption produces certain forms of hegemonic masculinity. The concept of hegemonic masculinity is defined as set of patterns and normative ideals that lead to stabilize male dominance. It has been developed by Australian sociologist Connell and implicates the idea of dominance over women and over marginalized masculinities, and can be applied to the phenomenon of meat consumption and the human-animal-relationship as such. The methodology used will be an analysis of texts and images in the German men’s food and lifestyle magazine Beef!. Beef! contains recipes and stories mainly on preparing complex dishes with meat and features on food production covering animal husbandry and slaughtering.
Here, several aspects of the interrelation of the symbolic gender order and
the human-animal relationship can be found: representations and images of
animals and women as objects of male desire/the connection of women/sexualized
women and meat, sexualized/feminized animals, constructions of hegemonic
masculinity through the domination of animals and the consumption of meat
and the devaluation and feminization of vegetarianism. My assumption is,
that in a broader context, phenomena such as the magazine Beef! can be read
as a reaction to a change in the gender order and insecure perceptions of
masculinities, as well as a rise of challenging food practices such as
Julia Gutjahr is studying sociology at the University of Hamburg, Germany. She is co-founder of the Group for Society and Animals Studies (www.gsa-hamburg.org) and currently working on her diploma thesis on meat and masculinity. Her research interests are Critical Human Animal Studies, the Critical Theory of Frankfurt School and Women`s/Gender Studies. Furthermore, she has been active in the animal rights movement for several years.
The Problem of the Domination of Nature and Animals in the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School
Julia Gutjahr and Marcel Sebastian
University of Hamburg, Group for Society and Animals Studies, Germany
Animals play a vital role in the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. They appear as victims of socially mediated violence, as a projection for the unreconciled parts of nature in humans and as mediums for utopian motives.
In particular, Max Horkheimer's and Theodor W. Adorno's criticism of the domination of nature, establishes a critical-theoretical examination of the history of human civilization in terms of the underlying relationship between humans and their inner and outer nature, and thus between humans and nonhuman animals. Despite the relevance of Adorno‟s and Horkheimer‟s theses, these have hardly been reflected in the international discourse on critical human-animal studies.
Therefore, in this presentation we will discuss how the human-animal relationship is interpreted and criticized by Critical Theory and how this is embedded into the general theoretical context of the Frankfurt School. In the process we will examine in which ways central categories such as the domination of nature and the critique of instrumental reason are associated with the domination of animals. Moreover, we will describe in which way forms of interhuman domination are a continuation of the domination of nature.
Julia Gutjahr is studying sociology at the University of Hamburg, Germany. She is co-founder of the Group for Society and Animals Studies (www.gsa-hamburg.org) and currently working on her diploma thesis on meat and masculinity. Her research interests are Critical Human Animal Studies, the Critical Theory of Frankfurt School and Women`s/Gender Studies. Furthermore, she has been active in the animal rights movement for several years.
Marcel Sebastian is currently preparing his final thesis in sociology at the University of Hamburg. His research interests imply Critical Human-Animal-Studies, the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, Sociology of Education and studies on National Socialism, WWII and the Shoah. He is a founding member of the Group for Society and Animals Studies (www.gsa-hamburg.org) in Hamburg.
The schizophrenia of the veterinary profession
State Authority of Health and Social Affairs in Berlin, Germany
Veterinarians are commonly considered to be experts on animal welfare. The goal of veterinary work is to cure animals and to ensure their well-being – at least that is what first comes to most people’s minds when they think of this profession. But when you look at common, legal animal use practices, such as keeping laying hens in battery cages or nursing sows in farrowing crates or taking the calf away from its mother right after birth, it is obvious and scientifically proven, that these practices result in poor welfare.
So how come so many veterinarians accept these practices, or even consider them to be necessary?
Certainly, veterinarians not only have to serve animal interests, but also human interests. This puts them in a difficult moral position. Difficult ethical decisions must be made frequently, since vets try to ensure the welfare of their patients as well as the expectations of the patients’ owners, and they almost always work within strict economic constraints. But still you would think that veterinarians who know about species-specific behaviour and needs would not tolerate the way e.g. farm animals are commonly treated.
In my talk, I will highlight the potential causes of the poor positions of veterinarians on animal welfare issues and consider possible solutions. I will consult relevant surveys and I will also talk about my personal experiences.
Veterinarians with their specific training and knowledge about animals should truly be experts on animal welfare. And they should battle with united forces against the established systematic exploitation of animals.
Kathrin Herrmann is a vegan veterinarian who studied veterinary medicine in Berlin and Zürich. After getting her veterinary license in 2003, she did veterinary development work for the NGO "Vétérinaires Sans Frontičres Germany" in southern Sudan and Kenya. After that, she worked with small and exotic animals. In 2007, she started to specialize in animal welfare and related ethical issues at the State Office of Health in Berlin. Currently, she is doing a PhD about Refinement methods to reduce laboratory animal suffering.
Communication, Conflict & Criticism within the Animal Rights Movement
Vegan Society Austria, independent scholar, Austria
Being active for animal rights poses a lot of challenges for individuals and groups: most participants of society are ignorant of the exploitation of animals and go on with their bloody habits; campaign work can be hard and seemingly everlasting and if it is effective the state often counters with repression. Beside the impacts of certain conflicts with speciesist society, there is another threat to a positive ongoing of personal & group activism: the way 'we' deal with conflicts within the animal rights/liberation scene. Going through the experience of repression seems to be nowadays a daily part of political work: repression and how to deal with it, is a frequent, necessary and popular topic at gatherings and meetings, in scene magazines, internet discussions and literature. Although the states and animal exploitation enterprises answear (repression) to activism and campaigns can destroy (and has destroyed) the life of individuals, there may be also some positive aspects for the whole movement: the shown solidarity & encouragement brings 'us' more together, new people are motivated to get active, there is a bigger media attention which can be used for 'our' goals, scene intern arguments are layed aside...
But escalated conflicts within the scene have at least the power to make personal lifes way much difficult, and at most to paralyse a whole movement by withdrawing energy and time and creating a permanent state of frustration. Facing the fact that repression cannot bring us down, but they way we deal with each other can easily, it is about time to make this a topic, 'we' all should pay attention on. If a social movement wants to implement categorical changes in society, not dealing with issues like communication, conflict and critics can be a vital threath, but much more a chance for learning a non- violent, positive and sustainable way to get along with each other.
This contribution wants to start this needed discussion and discourse, but won't give general solutions.
A theoretical approach to communication, conflict and critics will be
presented, the interconnection between those 3 concepts and also some
practical strategies shown.
Stefan Hnat is an activist from Vienna, most notably for the Vegan Society Austria. He is also a student of social and cultural anthropology, currently working on his diplom thesis about the human-animal relation in the history of social and cultural anthropology.
The novel "Large Animals" and veganism versus "animal welfare" in Denmark
Charlotte Inuk Hoff Hansen
Independent writer, Denmark
As a non-academic, independant
novelist, very concerned with animal right matters in my writing as well as
my personal life, I would like to present a chapter from my latest work of
fiction, "Large Animals" (in Danish "Store Dyr", published at Tiderne
Skifter, Copenhagen, 2008); a novel on a young idealistic vet students
existential crisis when harshly confronted with modern society's rather
schizophrenian attitude when it comes to pet- versus industrially "produced"
farm animals. The chapter is specifically on mink production.
Charlotte Inuk Hoff Hansen: Born 1965 in Ĺrhus, Denmark; grew up in Denmark, Greenland, and France. Debut as a writer in 1982 with 2 nationally acclaimed novels "Maria Mia" and "Mona Mĺneskinsdatter". Lived as an independant writer of fiction since; 15 published novels and 4 books for children. (See: www.charlotteinuk.dk)
Latest novel (2008) "Store Dyr" (Large Animals), on the scizophrenic life of a vet student actually caring for animals.
A convinced ethical vegan since the age of 16 (30 years), I wrote this novel as a kind of manifesto of my view on "animal production" and its influence on (also) human emotions and interactions. A subject shouted mostly to deaf ears in a Denmark, largely dependent on its immense swine- and milk-production, and where an already modest vegetarian movement in the 70's never moved further into questions of the right of non-human sentient beings or the ethical problems of "Eating Animals", but rather into a comfortable and numbing, commun delusion about the benefits of "biological meat" consumption.
From "Human/Animal" to "Politcal Animals": Towards a New Conceptualization
Tel Aviv University, The Minerva Humanities Center, Israel
Although in recent decades the human/animal distinction has been widely contested, political philosophy by and large, has accepted it as a fundamental presupposition. Although political discussions of animal rights and animal welfare abound, almost all of these are anthropocentric insofar as they apply rationalistic human concepts to non-human animals thus perpetuating a dichotomous perception of the relation between the two categories. This perception stems – at least partially – from the prevalent reading of Aristotle’s political animal (politikon zôon) as exclusively human and completely congruent with the speaking animal (zôon logon ekhon). However, a close reading reveals this understanding to be false and anachronistic and proves that Aristotle’s concept of the political was much wider than the human realm. I will argue that such a reading may serve as a basis for a new conceptualization of animals which is both political and non-anthropocentric.
This conceptualization consists of three steps: juxtaposing Heidegger’s unique interpretation of Aristotle with his discussion of animals as essentially lacking vis-à-vis Dasein; exposing the political meanings of this juxtaposition through the work of two of Heidegger’s most prominent followers/critics, namely Agamben’s revitalization of biopolitics and the political turn Derrida’s “question of the animal” took in his last seminar; and, finally, criticizing these discussions’ failure to acknowledge the importance of meat and its consumption.
This theoretical trajectory undermines the human/animal binary by suggesting a non-anthropocentric concept of the animal which is based on the infinite potential intersections of four necessary components: the natural, the human, life and flesh/meat. This fourfold and open concept is neither zoological nor metaphysical but rather political in that it (a) avoids a violently flattening ontology that ignores otherness and difference between animal species as well as between individual living beings; and (b) takes into account material, environmental and political appartuses and especially factory farming.
Yoav Kenny is a PhD candidate at the Tel-Aviv University’s School of Philosophy and a research fellow at The Minerva Humanities Center. Kenny also teaches political philosophy at Tel-Aviv university’s philosophy department and is co-editor of Mafte’akh – A Lexical Review of Political Thought (http://mafteakh.tau.ac.il/en).
The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments
Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, UK
European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes requires that the scientific or educational validity, usefulness, and relevance of each use of an animal is carefully assessed. It specifically states that the likely harms to the animal must be balanced against the expected benefits of the project. Too often, however, expected human benefits are based on unrealistic assumptions. To critically assess the human clinical, toxicological and educational utility of animal experimentation, the published literature was comprehensively surveyed to locate relevant systematic reviews. In only two of 20 reviews did the authors conclude that animal models were significantly useful in contributing to the development of human clinical interventions or substantially consistent with clinical outcomes. Key reviews examined the clinical utility of invasive chimpanzee experiments, of highly cited animal experiments published in leading scientific journals, and of experiments approved by ethics committees on the basis of specific claims that these animal experiments were likely to lead to advances in human healthcare. Seven additional reviews failed to demonstrate reliable predictivity of human toxicities such as carcinogenicity and teratogenicity. Results in animal models were frequently equivocal or inconsistent with human outcomes. The evidence clearly indicates that actual human benefit is rarely – if ever – sufficient to justify the costs incurred by animals subjected to scientific procedures. Despite this, deficiencies in the implementation of regulatory and policy requirements to replace, reduce and refine animal use remain marked and widespread. A range of basic policy reforms are therefore warranted.
Dr Andrew Knight is an Australian bioethicist and a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. He is the Director of Animal Consultants International, which provides multidisciplinary expertise for animal issues, and a Spokesperson for Animals Count, which is a British political party for people and animals. His studies examining the contribution of animal experiments to human healthcare have attracted a series of awards at scientific conferences, and his book ‘The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments’ was published in 2011. His other interests include the effects of the livestock sector on climate change, vegetarian companion animal diets, and the animal welfare standards of veterinarians. He practices veterinary medicine in London.
Biocapital – transgressing the animal-human distinction in Marx
Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland
This paper engages both theoretical and practical aspects of Marx writings to examine possibility of “radical left posthumanism” (Papadopoulos 2010). Particularly, the aim is to discuss the viability of the notion of labour through the careful reading of the work of Karl Marx in the posthumanist frame of reference (Rossini 2006). Labour, as many other categories in his writings, is defined in terms of animal-human dichotomy. By taking into consideration a non-anthropocentric perspective, possibilities of transgressing “species imperialism” (Wilde 2000: 38) of Marx will be explored. Although we observe increasing number of attempts at “greening” Marx (Benton 1996), using the working class concept in regard to animals (Dickens 2003, Hribal 2003) is still perceived as unfounded. It will be claimed that, by reconfiguring human-animal relations, concepts like “trans-species encounter value” (Haraway 2008: 46) can inform our struggle against capitalism.
First, essential features of the Nature in the Marx’s perspective will be pointed out. Then, drawing upon recent investigations on the moral status of animals in The Capital (Benton 1993, Benton 1996, Wilde 2000), and its environmental readings (Burkett 1999, Foster 2000), dialectical relation between human and non-human will be shown. The paper’s conclusion addresses animal labour within the context of biocapital (Helmreich 2008, Rajan 2006).
Benton, T., 1993. Natural relations: ecology, animal rights, and social justice, London: Verso.
Benton, T., 1996. The greening of Marxism. Democracy and ecology, New York: Guilford Press.
Burkett, P., 1999. Marx and Nature. A Red and Green Perspective, New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Dickens, P., 2003. The labor process: How the underdog is kept under. Society and Animals, 11(1), p.69–72.
Foster, J.B., 2000. Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature, New York: Monthly Review Press.
Haraway, D., 2008. When Species Meet, Minneapolis-London: University of Minnesota Press.
Helmreich, S., 2008. Species of Biocapital. Science as Culture, 17(4), pp.463-478.
Hribal, J., 2003. “Animals are part of the working class”: a challenge to labor history. Labor history, 44(4), p.435–453.
Papadopoulos, D., 2010. Insurgent posthumanism. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, 10(2), pp.134-151.
Rajan, K.S., 2006. Biocapital: the constitution of postgenomic life, Durham: Duke University Press.
Rossini, M., 2006. To the Dogs: Companion Speciesism and the New Feminist Materialism. Kritikos: an international and interdisciplinary journal of postmodern cultural sound, text and image” 3. [@:]http://www.intertheory.org/rossini
Wilde, L., 2000. “The creatures, too, must become free”: Marx and the Animal/Human Distinction. Capital & Class, 24(3), pp.37-53.
Agnieszka Kowalczyk studied philosophy and cultural studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (UAM). She is editor of Theoretical Practice philosophical review (praktykateoretyczna.pl). Her theoretical interests include philosophy of science, animal studies, materialist feminism. She is engaged in work of Question of Boundaries Research Group at the UAM and in organizing informal educational projects concerning economic rights, gender issues.
Paradoxes of freedom. Animals in contemporary art vesrus the problem of artistic freedom
The paper analyses the relations between artists and animals in contemporary art in the antispeciesism context highlighting the conflict between artistic and ethical values. It also discusses some selected artistic practices in which animals are entangled becoming the object/material of art, its co-participants or authors. The entanglement of art in speciesism is also examined in the paper. The attempt to analyse those phenomena on particular examples of artistic activity leads to questions on art boundaries and artistic freedom. These issues are particularly up-todate in Poland, where the fear of art censorship results in the lack of ethical criticism in relation to artists’ activity and the question of censorship is often misused. The attempts to introduce discourse of animal rights into critical and artistic discourse are often ridiculed as emotional and sentimental. The clash between freedom of art and freedom of animals made me submit a thesis that the absolutization of freedom may result in defying the freedom itself.
Dorota Łagodzka: Polish art historian, critic and curator, feminist, vegetarian, interested in animal studies and ecocriticism, is writing a Ph.D. thesis on animals in contemporary art, coeditor in Artmix, author of numerous publications in Obieg, Arteon, Artluk, Fragile, Sztuka.pl, author of the blog on animals in art Nie-zła Sztuka, worked in The Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Toruń as a PR specialist, curated the exhibition Animals Confessions. Tenderness of Being in Wozownia Art Gallery.
Rethinking bioethics of animal research from an abolitionist approach
Bioethics and Law Observatory, Univ. Barcelona, Spain
Nowadays, animal research is a part of techno-scientific process that is uncritically and undisputedly accepted . This practice is assumed as "naturally" part of the research, implementation and development of goods and services for humans, and society is convinced of its necessity. From an anthropocentric perspective is questioned "how" animals in laboratories are manipulated and treated, but is it not usual hear criticism of the background, the reasons and basis on which animal research is morally and ethically problematic.
Speaking on bioethics, now in numerous countries animal research is a fundamental topic in the discussion and development of good practices protocols that guide the actions of scientists and technicians who handle animals in research. We can see this in the explosive increase of “Three R's” discussion and implementation. But, since the same bioethics there is a lack of critical reflection of these practices from an abolitionist approach. Making a critical review of the arguments presented in books, articles and other scientific and technical documents, I will make some contributions from moral philosophy concepts as "moral agent", “moral patient”, "speciesism" and "consent" to criticize the prevailing anthropocentrism in science and technology; to rethink the implications and consequences of animal research from a global bioethics perspective, that embrace the abolition of animal's exploitation in the field of research.
Fabiola Leyton (33) is chilean, PhD. in Philosophy Candidate U. Barcelona (Spain), M.Phil. Bioethics and Law U. Barcelona, M.Phil Political Philosophy U. Chile and Social Worker U. Católica de Chile. Since 2008 works as researcher at Bioethics and Law Observatory (U. Barcelona). Since years combine the research career with an active life as animal right activist in AnimaNaturalis International, and work in different feral and abandoned cat's organizations in Chile, Italy and Spain. In 2004 and since then, writes "Ecosofia", a weblog in animal rights, ethics and environmental ethics.
Can Actor-Network Theory be critical? On application of ANT in Critical Animal Studies
Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
The author wants to explore the critical potential of the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and the possibility to put this approach to use in Critical Animal Studies. ANT challenges the human/nonhuman dichotomy on methodological, theoretical and even metaphysical levels. One of its main thoughts is that we can understand the world truly empirically only if we drop our preconception of what is human and what is nonhuman and accept the mutually interconnected character of being together. This has been praised as “ecologising” of social theory and method (Murdoch 2001). It could also allow understanding ANT as a possible ally of CAS inside sociology because ANT refuses to limit itself to human actors. It grants significance to nonhumans as well. At the same time however ANTs most prominent advocate persistently dismisses the traditional critical power of social sciences (Latour 2004, Latour 2005).
The paper will be structured into three main points: It will (1) describe how and on which levels ANT challenges the human/nonhuman dichotomy, (2) analyze Latour’s abandonment of a certain kind of social critique and (3) try to describe the way in which is the idea of critique still present in ANT. The main aim of the paper is to show ways in which can ANT be (or be understood as) critical, that is in which way it could be of interest to CAS.
Jakub Mareš (1984) is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. Amongst his interests are sociology of science and scientific laboratory, nonhumans in sociology and various attempts to rethink the nature/society dualism in social theory. He is currently participating on a project exploring the construction of animal in the context of laboratory experimentation (“Discourse Analysis of Animal Objectification in Czech Republic").
James Agee and the Animals
University of Sheffield, UK
In this paper I will discuss place of animal ethics work of the mid-20th Century American writer James Agee, in particular his short story ‘A Mother’s Tale’ (1952). Offering a close reading of a number of specific examples, I will discuss the literary effects of this story’s portrayal of the slaughterhouse and a beef-steer’s experience of slaughter. My argument will be that through these effects the story opens up an important series of connections between problematics specific to animal ethics (the ethical value of life itself and of animals’ embodied agency and in turn the morality of animal killing) and key human-centred social and philosophical dilemmas of the postwar period in America (the threats of totalitarianism, total war and developing mass society; individual moral responsibilty). In the second section of the paper I move on to a discussion of Agee’s very particular version of ‘humanism’—the key ethical discourse of the period—which I will argue interestingly undermines the conventional binary oppositions of ‘human’ and ‘animal’ usually implied by that term. This discussion allows me to make a case that Agee’s conception of the ethics of animal killing challenges in interesting ways the terms of political discussion of slaughter practices in 1950s America. To that end I will read Agee’s story in the context of mid-50s congressional debates that led to the Human Slaughter Act (1958).
Dr. Robert McKay was educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Sheffield and has taught English and American Literature and Critical Theory in the School of English at the University of Sheffield since 2004. He has published on the politics of species in works by Margaret Atwood, J.M. Coetzee, Deborah Levy and Alice Walker.
Mass Killings of Pigs and the Challenge of Multispecies Justice
California State University Long Beach, USA
This paper looks at recent mass killings of pigs, tracing the impact of these eradication programs on humans and other animals in multispecies communities. The mass slaughter of pigs and other livestock animals in the United Kingdom, South Korea, Indonesia, Liberia and elsewhere has ostensibly been conducted to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, a concern that has emerged in conjunction with the growth of concentrated animal feeding operations and consolidation of the globalized, corporate meat-production industry.
Mass killings of pigs in Haiti and Egypt reveal that more is at stake than just the prevention of disease. In the 1980s, fears of the spread of swine fever to the US pork industry led to the eradication of 1.3 million pigs in Haiti. These kochon kreyol were well adapted to local conditions and provided rural Haitians with a living savings account that could be sold or slaughtered to pay for health care and schooling. The neo-imperialist replacement of these hearty black pigs with fragile, expensive and white pigs was a disaster, as was the culling of the 400,000 pigs belonging to Zabbaleen families in Cairo, Egypt. These pigs, crucial to the urban recycling system and to the health and income of this minority Coptic Christian community, were killed during the global H1N1 pandemic in 2009, although this mass slaughter also reflected both religious bias and the efforts of government and multinational corporations to gentrify Cairo's impoverished neighborhoods.
In these instances, modernization has taken the form of mass killings of
pigs without much consideration of the intertwined lives of people and
animals. By looking at responses to these eradication efforts, including
efforts to restore pig populations and recuperate these multispecies
relationships, this paper raises important questions about justice in
efforts to improve the lives of human and non-human animals.
Brett Mizelle, PhD. is Professor of History and Director of the American Studies Program at California State University Long Beach. His publications include articles, book chapters, and reviews in nineteenth-century American history and the history of human-animal relationships. His book Pig, which charts how humans have shaped the pig and how the pig has shaped us, is forthcoming in the Reaktion Books "Animal" series. He is also completing a scholarly monograph on the cultural work of exhibitions of exotic and performing animals in the nineteenth-century United States. Mizelle is also a co-founder and current editor of the H-Animal Discussion Network (http://www.h-net.org/~animal/).
"Spiritual Evolution": Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland, and the New Gospel of Animal Interpretation /prefers 15 or early 16
University of Sydney, Australia
It is a truism that evolutionary thought in the nineteenth century precipitated a crisis of faith in orthodox Christianity; radically reshaped human conceptions of the absolute division previously presumed to exist between humans and all other animal species; and spurned an ongoing conflict between "science" and "religion". But this is only part of the story. Evolutionary concepts in the modern era had been advanced frequently since the French Revolution, long before Darwin and Wallace published their theory of natural selection, by, among others, proponents of radical and alternative spiritualities who also advocated for animal rights. These thinkers saw in "radical science" a means of unseating the power of the established churches and advancing new conceptions within both religion and politics. Their evolutionary science, taken up by advocates of animal rights, also sought to break down rigid divisions between species as an egalitarian, anti-hierarchical gesture designed to highlight inequalities within and between human societies as well.
Post-Darwin, also, a number of proponents of animal rights, disturbed by what they perceived as the adoption of evolutionary theory for purely materialist ends, sought to make accommodations between evolutionary science; a view of the universe informed by theosophical spirituality; and a radical animal rights agenda. Two such figures were Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Kingsford and Maitland advanced a concept of "spiritual evolution" which saw the stage to which humans had evolved, and their future evolution, as being conjoined with their complete non-exploitation of other animal species. Karmic links with other species via reincarnation reinforced the necessity of keeping relationships between humans and other animals non-exploitative. Their adoption of Hindu and Buddhist thought via theosophy, in tandem with their essentially Christian "New Gospel of Interpretation," problematizes views of animal rights history which see it as being fundamentally at odds with Western religious conceptions of the relationship between humans and other animals.
Greg Murrie is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History, University of Sydney. He comes from both an English Literature and Gender and Cultural Studies background, and seeks to make interdisciplinary connections in his work to break down false dichotomies between different bodies of knowledge. His thesis is on the interconnections between animal rights (particularly as regards to vegetarianism and anti-vivisectionism); radical and alternative spirituality; and evolutionary thought in Britain, 1789-1919.
Comparing Animal Advocates in the US and Australia
University of Melbourne, Australia
Animal advocates in western liberal democracies tend to focus on two important and interconnected objectives: influencing consumer choice by exposing them to animal suffering; and pro-animal law reform. These are often pursued using the same tactics. Yet, little research has been done exploring the extent to which animal activists in different liberal democracies approach these objectives differently in response to the specific political culture in which they are operating.
In this paper I consider original interview data collected in Australia and the US. In both countries animal advocates were asked how they understood the causes of animal suffering, and what measures should be taken to alleviate that suffering. I find that although there were strong regional differences, animal advocates do not necessarily respond in ways that suggested they were overtly aware of the nuances of the political context in which they were operating. I conclude that animal advocates are not particularly attuned to their political environment and therefore are therefore more likely to understand community outreach as their primary objective. I also find that animal advocates are overwhelmingly pragmatic and largely un-responsive to academic debates concerning the merits of different animal protection philosophies.
Dr. Siobhan O'Sullivan is a Research Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She specialises in animal protection politics and ethics and has published widely in the field.
Improving the stock: The force of education in animal commoditization processes
Malmö University, Sweden
What would biocommodities say if they could teach? Based on Marx’s formula for the circulation of capital through the commodity form, and Helmreich’s adaptation of this formula to biocapital accumulation, this paper investigates what work education performs in biocommoditization processes. With the material embeddedness of veterinary education in the animal commodity form as an empirical example viewed through a synthesis of Marxist and posthumanist analysis, the paper works through the components of animal material, animal commodity, and animal capital with particular attention to their interplay with educational practice. In the end, education emerges as a vitalizing guide among other organic and inorganic actants in a heterogeneous biopedagogical community called together by certain forms of “comradely” commodities. Its work of channeling student traffic into the animal economy is however compromised by an element of indeterminacy always already accompanying the education process as well as the transformation of biomaterial into capital.
Helena Pedersen holds a Ph.D. in education and is a researcher in the School of Education and Society at Malmö University. She is author of Animals in Schools: Processes and Strategies in Human-Animal Education (Purdue University Press, 2010), which received the Critical Animal Studies Book of the Year Award in 2010. Other recent works have appeared in the journals Policy Futures in Education, Critical Education, Antennae and Discourse. Helena Pedersen is Senior Co-Editor of the Critical Animal Studies book series (Rodopi Press). Information on past and present research projects is available on her website: http://forskning.mah.se/en/id/luhepe
Kafka, Realist: Cinema and Insect Expression
University of East London, UK
Filmmaker and video artist’s Chen Sheinberg’s Kafkaesque short film
Convulsion (2010) seems a particularly fortuitous choice for the upcoming
ICAS conference in Prague. Convulsion features, for the first time in cinema,
the distressed help cries of a struggling, overturned beetle. The screaming
beetle throws up a host of questions about trans-species proximity and
challenges ideas about the so-called impassiveness of insects. The skeptic
might invoke anthropomorphism to cast doubts on the validity of what we see
and hear, but the power of the piece resides in its clever inversion of the
allegorical mode: Kafka’s "Metamorphosis" reverted from allegory to realism,
resulting in Kafka as a realist, and insectal life brought into the fold of
Anat Pick works across image and text. She is Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader of Film & Video at the University of East London. Her book _Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film_ is published by Columbia University Press (2011) and argues for a radical rethinking of the human/animal relationship based on our common existence as vulnerable material bodies. Anat is co-editor of _Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human_, forthcoming from Berghahn in 2012. Her new book project moves more resolutely towards the political, and explores ideas of powerlessness and representation across the species line.
Laboratory or Liberation, What Would a Dog Choose? Misusing Canine Loyalty in Fiction
Anne Franciska Pusch
University of Heidelberg, Germany
Recently there has been an incident of criminalization of animal rights activists. In such cases, activism is often labeled as violent and illegal, or referred to as eco-terrorism. Newspapers, blogs and social media can help educate the public. Fictional works hold similar potential and can motivate readers to take action for non human animals. This paper addresses the political implications of representations of animals in fiction by uncovering hidden messages of authors regarding animal rights.
When a pit bull expert dedicates a novel to the mistreatment of canines in laboratory research, one assumes that the intention is to speak out against it. However, Diane Jessup's The Dog Who Spoke with Gods (1) is directed against organizations that try to abolish the use of nonhuman animals. (2) In the story, animal activists almost kill the canine protagonist during their rescuing operation because he fights back. The narrator explains this with the dog's inherent dedication to his "master" that is stronger than his desire for freedom. 'Animal rights groups are not to be trusted and cause more harm than good' is the message Jessup weaves into a story of good versus evil, nature versus culture and right versus wrong.
In light of the recent case of the "Spanish 12" (3) and drawing upon other incidents of criminalization of animal activists, this paper seeks to highlight the misuse of rhetoric surrounding animal liberation with a focus on literary works.
(1) Jessup, Diane. The Dog Who Spoke with Gods. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2001.
(2) On her website (http://www.workingpitbull.com/) Jessup states that she does not support People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Anne Franicska Pusch is a PhD candidate at the University of Heidelberg (Department of English). Her dissertation project combines the study of American and Canadian contemporary novels that focus on human-canine relationships with approaches from Critical Animal Studies. Her main research interests are: Domesticated animals; Ecocriticism; Critical Posthumanism; Animals in Literature and Veganism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in British and American Studies and Sociology from the University of Konstanz, as well as a Master of Arts in American Studies from the Heidelberg Center for American Studies.
Factory Farming in Africa
International Fund for Africa
The organization will share (briefly) details of its work and its approach; describe the negative consequences of factory farming in Africa, especially its effect in exacerbating poverty and hunger in Africa
IFA’s has piloted efforts to promote veganism in Africa and has also begun discussions with several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ethiopia to promote organic farming as one way of fighting the growth of factory farming in Africa, including in food-insecure countries like Ethiopia that are also feeling the effects of climate change in the form, for example, of more persistent and devastating droughts. IFA also works to support NGO’s that educates farmers about global warming and its relationship to intensive animal agriculture.
While IFA is committed to animal rights, and to supporting greater understanding of this concept, and its adoption as a way of redirecting policy and practice, in Africa. IFA’s co-founder and president, Dr. Anteneh Roba, will discuss these aspects of IFA’s work in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa, and offer ideas for moving forward the discussion among African civil society on food systems, factory farming, and animal welfare and rights, as well as action in the realm of policy-making and practice.
Dr Roba will examen the environmental, political, economic, and social consequences of our food choices, and how an increasingly industrialized, corporatized, and globalized food and agricultural system is affecting the climate, food security, public health, animal welfare, and resource allocation in Africa.
Anteneh Roba MD is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician practicing in Houston,TX since 1995. Dr Roba is President and co-founder of International Fund for Africa (IFA), a Houston-based 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization and a registered International Non Governmental Organization in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia dedicated to helping both Human and Non-Human animals in Africa . Through his organization, Dr Roba has worked to improve healthcare for children and has been instrumental in creating and upgrading medical services serving neonatal and infant children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr Roba has been involved in the plight to make medical care accessible to the people of rural Ethiopia. He has been working with governmental officials in an effort to improve the condition of homeless dogs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is striving to assist equines and other working animals in Ethiopia. Additionally, through IFA he has been promoting the adoption of a plant-based diet across the African continent and is actively working and supporting Vegetarian/Vegan organizations in places like Ghana,Togo and Ethiopia.
Dr Roba frequently lectures on the health benefits of a plant based diet across the USA and in Africa, and is also a frequent guest host on the Vegan World Radio show 90.1 FM. in Houston,TX.
Dr Roba has written in various internet-based media publications on issues of child care in Africa,the environmental and health consequences of meat and dairy consumption in Africa,global hunger,and poverty.
In his spare time, Dr. Roba is active in the local Houston-area rescue groups in rescuing, fostering and finding homes for abused and homeless dogs.
The animal you see
University of Toronto, Canada
In this paper I probe what it means for western readers/viewers to be drawn to and to gaze at violent images of animal suffering and death in war-torn neo-colonial spaces such as the Gaza Strip. In particular, I want follow W.G. Sebald’s suggestions in On the Natural History of Destruction concerning the way we respond to such images: describing the destruction of Berlin Zoo in World War Two, Sebald observes that such images fill us with a particular horror because unlike images of human suffering, they have not been precensored. It is important then, to pay careful attention to the functions of our (western) horror, the meaning of the zoo in places such as Gaza, as well as the ways in which such media images occlude the suffering of animals who are much closer to ‘home’ but who we don’t see – i.e., the intensively-farmed animals who are consumed in vast quantities in the industrialized west. While I want to argue that media images and narratives about Gaza’s zoos between 2007 and 2009 provided readers/viewers with a culturally reassuring means of distraction, I also want to think about whether other kinds of images and/or narratives might prompt human consumers to alter their practice with regard to animals. In this regard, I pay careful attention to images from Sue Coe’s Dead Meat, placing them alongside a sequence from cartoonist-journalist Joe Sacco’s recent Footnotes in Gaza in which two bulls are slaughtered for the feast of Eid al Adha. Having juxtaposed these non-photographic images with media reports about the violent destruction of zoos in Gaza, I conclude that the former may have the power to draw our attention to suffering animals and possibly to change our orientation towards them.
Sara Salih is Associate Professor of English at the University of
Toronto. She is currently working on a book about perceptions of animals
and possibilities for alternative ways of seeing. She is author of Judith
Butler (Routledge); The Judith Butler Reader (with Judith Butler;
Blackwell) and Representing Mixed Race (Routledge).
The Parisian Botanical Garden of the 18th century: captivating the animal as the object of a new science
National Technical University of Athens, Greece
In the middle of the 18th century, Georges- Louis Leclerc De Buffon,
composes an “apparatus” for representing and denominating the “animal
kingdom”. Such a taxonomy, develops and expands little by little, through
methodologies which study mummiefied or anatomized dead animal bodies, that
take place in the Parisian Museum of Natural History and its famous courses.
Expression of the accomplishment of such a gnosiotheoretical model, -and
pretext for this paper-, is the publication of “a memorial for the nessecity
for installing a ménagerie in the national botanical garden of Paris” by
the “naturaliste” Bernadin de Saint Pierre, in 1792. According to the
memorial, animals should find their place among the big and popular workshop
of Natural History, -the Botanical Garden-, in order to become the object of
a new kind of knowledge: the one who manages to represent in situ the
universal, continuous and uniform order of the universe, otherwise Nature.
This new condition of knowledge, completed by all the necessary “strategies”-
books, museums, workshops, academies, gardens-will deliberate animals from
the collections or the cabinets of curiosities, to place them, in the name
of science , between new technologies of captivity and control, technologies
we attempt to trace by the means of the Foucaultian theoretical toolbox.
Sarantopoulou, Stergia (Ms., Architect) born in 1980 in Athens, Greece. Diploma in Architecture ( National Technical Univercity of Athens-2006), Master in Spatial theories and Civilisation ( National Technical Univercity of Athens-2008),PHD Candidate of N.T.U.A (2010) with main object the application of Michel Foucault's theory to spatial research. Practices architecture since 2007, whith special interest in landscape architecture
Questioning the human-animal divide: anthropology and the ecological approach
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
At least since the ’50, when Japanese researchers revolutionized ethological
studies observing a community of monkeys who not only developed a new
complex behaviour - washing potatoes before eating them - but, more
unexpectedly, passed this novel practice on to the following generations,
the study of non-human animals’ life has tangled the frontier of nature and
culture. In ’69, Lévi-Strauss, formerly a strong upholder of a sharp
distinction between nature and culture, admitted: «There are in “nature”
many phenomena that already belong to the sphere of “culture”». Ethnographic
data somehow echoed this ambiguity: if you asked an Amerindian what a myth
was, Lévi-Strauss argued, he would probably answer “a memory of the time
when animals and men were not separated”. The question of the connection/separation
between human animals and non-human animals is today at the core of many
scientific and political debates. How can one give a conceptual account of
the relation between human and non-human animals avoiding both naive
materialism (as that of sociobiology, for instance) and mere
anthropomorfization? The line of investigation established by the British
anthropologist Tim Ingold (author, among many other essay, of The perception
of the environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill, 2000 and
editor of What is an animal?, 1988), to which he refers as ecological
anthropology, represents one of the most interesting challenges to the
traditional view of the human/animal binary. The theoretical sources of
Ingold’s perspective are Gibson’s ecological psychology, Merleau-Ponty’s and
Heidegger’s phenomenology and Uexküll ethological researches. But the
anthropologist’s conceptual elaborations are counterbalanced and
complemented by a forthright and stimulating attitude of interrogation: what
is an animal? do animals build their homes? do animals work? These
apparently naive and harmless questions bring us, if taken seriously, to a
profound revision of the human/animal divide.
Davide Scarso: Laurea in Filosofia (2000, Verona, Italy), Diploma di Perfezionamento in Antropologia Culturale e Sociale (2001, Padova, Italy). Phd in philosophy of science (2008, Lisboa, Portugal). Since 2009, post-doctoral researcher at the Centro de História das Ciências e da Tecnologia, (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal), investigating on “The nature/culture polarity in contemporary cultural anthropology and its relevance for philosophy”. Among my publications: Entre théorie du sensible et Logos du monde naturel, “Figures de la psychanalyse”, n. 17, 2009 ; Dialettica e ultraboscevismo, “Bollettino Studi Sartriani”, V, 2009; Inerenza e omologia: l’animalità in Merleau-Ponty e Lévi-Strauss, “Chiasmi International”, n. 8, 2006.
Gaining Ground: Towards a Discourse of Posthuman Animality. A Geophilosophical Journey
Southern Cross University, Australia
Written as a travelogue, employing geospatial metaphors and informed by scholarship from philosophy and cultural geography, the paper is an exploration of animality. In it, ‘the traveller’ provides an account of a journey in which she attempts to ‘trouble’ the sovereign terrain of liberal humanism. Her hope is to identify a non hegemonic conceptual frontier, a reciprocal ground of animality, upon which humanism might be surrendered.
The traveller encounters numerous obstacles along the way; most significantly, those of anthropocentrism and biocentrism. As a human animal, she comes to appreciate that there are insurmountable difficulties in conceiving, let alone representing, other-than-human animality as an entity independent of her perceptions. In common with others of her species who mediate their lives through language, she realises that her relationship to the world is negotiated within a matrix of representations in which the ‘animal other’ is assimilated into a pre-existing humanist narrative. Instead of ‘troubling’ liberal humanism, the traveller’s journey becomes a ‘journey of trouble’, a nomadic wandering through error. She concedes that her journey is not so much about animality, but about the impossibility of thinking outside of the limits of her human embodiment. She learns that, no matter how hard we (humans) may try to imagine non human animality, we will be condemned to meet our own projections. Such insights, however, provide a ground upon which a discourse of animality which avoids the spectre of humanism emerges.
Anne Schillmoller (BA (hons) ANU; LLB (UNSW) has been a lecturer in the School of Law and Justice, Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW, Australia since 1992. Her particular teaching and research interests are in the areas of Anthropology, Legal Philosophy and Animal Law. Recently, in 2009-2010, Anne developed an Animal Law curriculum for the University’s Bachelor of Laws degree with the support of a grant from Voiceless, Australia’s leading animal protection institute. In 2010 the course was delivered for the first time, attracting the largest number of student enrolments in the Australasian region.
Animal rights without moral rights
Friederike Schmitz (M.A.)
University of Heidelberg, Germany
Different theories of animal rights not only differ in what arguments are used to defend animal rights, they also differ in what concepts of rights are employed. Often, theorists are not very explicit about what exactly they understand by 'a right', how the term figures in their theory, or what distinction there is between moral and legal rights. It seems worthwhile to try to clarify these issues and to look for common ground between different animal rights theorists.
In this talk, I will argue that the concept of a moral right is both confused and superfluous, and that it is possible to formulate the central theses of most animal rights positions without it. What we should use instead – besides the notions relevant for the particular moral theories (like interest, value, autonomy, justice etc.) – is the concept of a legal right. Whereas the different theories will still differ in their moral arguments, they can then be seen as agreeing in demanding certain legal rights for animals.
The concept of a right also plays a major role in two lines of critique that
have been developed in reaction to animal rights positions. Firstly, some
conservative philosophers have argued that animals cannot have rights
because they are not themselves moral agents. Thpis criticism can be easily
refuted once we explicitly use the proposed practical, legal concept of
rights. Secondly, feminist ethicists have claimed that rights theories are
problematic because of their affiliation with masculinist and rationalist
traditions of thought that neglect the importance of moral emotions,
especially empathy. We can avoid this charge by saying that even though
approaches to ethics may differ in whether they rely on reason or on emotion,
they can agree on some practical demands which should be formulated using
the concept of a legal right.
Friederike Schmitz (M.A.): I have studied philosophy and modern German literature in Heidelberg, Cambridge and Berlin and received my master's degree in 2008 from Humboldt University. Now I am doing a PhD in Heidelberg where I also have a teaching position at the philosophy department. Whereas my PhD thesis is in theoretical philosophy (on Hume and Wittgenstein), I have recently begun to study animal ethics and animal rights theories. For a few months, I have also been active in the Vegan Society of Germany.
How is it possible to explain people’s indifference towards the violence against animals?
Group for Society and Animals Studies, Germany
How is it possible to explain, that most people accept the socially organized and institutionalized mass-killing of animals? And how is it possible to explain that only a few people react with empathy towards these acts of violence? Within the - still quite marginal - sociology of the human-animal relationship, there are some explanations on this issue. Most of these attempts, however, are marginal notes or focus a particular aspect of the problem. So far, no systematic presentation of the social conditions of the genesis of indifference to violence against animals has been created. The centre of the proposed paper is the following question: How can it be explained that despite the daily, violent and socially mediated killing of animals, an empathic partisanship or solicitousness towards those animals does not emerge among the majority of people in ‘western’ countries? To answer this question, contributions on this matter from the Human- Animal studies will be systematized, extended and then supplemented by the relevant social and cultural framework settings. It will be shown that indifference to the suffering of animals is mediated in highly interdependent social mechanisms and techniques. Here the economic and formal structures and organizational arrangements of society, the tradition(s) of Western philosophy, social-psychological framework as well as specific (familial or non-familial) conditions of socialization stand in an interacting relationship. These techniques, mechanisms and strategies of indifference can be assigned to the categories invisibility of violence, normalization of violence, rationalization of violence, construction of identity(/ies) and the cultural framework setting that promotes the indifference and / or permits it. The subjects 'serve' themselves from this variety of possible ways of action and reaction (silence and apathy are also social activities) so that everyone can so to speak create his or her own particular configuration.
References (amongst others):
Adorno, Theodor W.: Erziehung nach Auschwitz (Education after Auschwitz), in: Adorno, Theodor W.: Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft (Culturecritics and Society), Frankfurt am Main 2003.
Adorno, Theodor W. (2003): Theorie der Halbbildung (Theory of Half-Education), in Adorno, Theodor W.: Soziologische Schriften I (Sociological Texts I), Frankfurt am Main.
Bujok, Melanie (2007): Zur Verteidigung des tierlichen und menschlichen Individuums. Das Widerstandsrecht als legitimer und vernünftiger Vorbehalt des Individuums gegenüber dem Sozialen (In defense of the animal and human individual. The right of resistance as a legitimate and reasonable reservation of the individual against the social), In: Witt-Stahl, Susann (Hrsg.): Das steinerne Herz der Unendlichkeit erweichen Beiträge zu einer kritischen Theorie für die Befreiung der Tiere. Aschaffenburg.
Gutjahr, Julia / Sebastian, Marcel (forthcoming): Kritische Ansätze zum Mensch-Tier-Verhältnis in der deutschsprachigen Soziologie (Critical Approaches to the Human-Animal-Relationship in German-speaking Sociology), in Pfau-Effinger, Birgit; Buschka, Sonja (eds.): Gesellschaft und Tiere – Soziologische Analysen eines ambivalenten Verhältnisses (Society and Animals. Sociological Analyses of an Ambivalent Relationship), Wiesbaden 2011.
Joy, Melanie (2010): Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows, San Francisco.
Norgaard, Kari Marie (2006): „People want to Protect themselves a Little Bit“: Emotions, Denial and Social Movement Nonparticipation, in: Sociological Inquiry, Vol. 76, No. 3, p. 372-396.
Wicks, Deidre (2011): Silence and Denial in Everyday Life – The case of Animal Suffering, in: Animals 2011, 1, p. 186-199.
Marcel Sebastian is currently preparing his final thesis about the social mediation of indifference to violence against animals at the sociological institute at the University of Hamburg. His research interests imply Critical Human-Animal-Studies, the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, Sociology of Education as well as studies on National Socialism, WWII and the Shoah. He is a founding member of the Group for Society and Animals Studies in Hamburg (www.gsa-hamburg.org).
Animal identities in 21st-century Belgium and the Netherlands
University of Sheffield, UK
While researching children’s perceptions of rural areas in Belgium and the Netherlands, it became clear that animals are an important part of children’s realities. In October 2007 – May 2008 I interviewed 176 children (96 girls and 80 boys of 7-12 years old) on living in Dutch and Belgian rural areas.
All interviewed children distinguished pet animals, farm animals and wild animals. The Dutch word for pet is ‘huisdier’ (animal at home), but whether children consider an animal as pet depends on the emotional ties instead of where the animal lives. As such, animal identities become blurred: children also considered ponies, horses and cows as pets, suggesting the emotional bond with animals becomes more important than the economic value of animals.
These changing perceptions of animals become most clear when discussing (care for) horses. Whereas horses were a vital part of pre-industrial agriculture, nowadays emotional ties are more dominant, making it difficult to fit horses anywhere in the distinctions of pets, farm animals and wild animals.
Children still mention owning an animal, but this ‘ownership’ comes with a sense of responsibility for the animal’s well-being, and at the same time children undermine ‘ownership’ by considering animals as family members. Moreover, in Dutch language horse anatomy terminology is identical to human anatomy, setting horses apart from other non-human animals.
The shifting and blurring boundaries between pets and farm animals demonstrate the changing positions of animals in post-modern Western societies from ‘economic asset’ to ‘human’s best friend’. Recent epidemics such as FMD and BSE, and the culling of wildlife led to people questioning the well-being of animals in Western societies and (hopefully) to a consumers’ shift to a diverse rural economy where animal well-being is more important than economic gains.
Wouter Servaas: After doing an MSc in Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University, Wouter Servaas embarked on a PhD, which is almost completed, within the Department of Sociological Studies of the University Sheffield. In his thesis, Wouter explores children’s perceptions of rural live in Belgium and the Netherlands. The children’s relations with animals sparkled his interests in human-animal relations. As volunteer, Wouter assists in riding lessons for children with learning difficulties, acknowledging the therapeutic contribution of horses on human’s well-being.
After completing the PhD, Wouter hopes to continue working in academia or in policy-development to promote non-human animals’ voices in sociological debates.
Ethics of Irreducibility. Cultivating Habits of Thought for Critical Animal Studies
Rebekah Sinclair and Brianne Donaldson
Claremont Lincoln University, USA
Thinking ethically dissolves binaries. Per Foucault, Derrida, Butler and Deleuze, ethical thought is the act of seeking an irreducible other that transcends any sort of binary relationship. In other words, ethical thought is caring so much for the other that you refuse to reduce them to your own frameworks of knowledge and recognition.
We argue that, under these conditions, binaries are rendered nonsensical, and focusing on them (even for deconstruction) can distract us from the irreducible other, which is the impetus for deconstruction in the first place. We propose that the emerging coalition of Critical Animal Studies ought not deconstruct binaries in order to produce ethical action. Let’s just cut out the middle man: Ethics produces ethics.
This paper examines the theories of irreducibility-as-ethics expressed by the aforementioned thinkers, as well as the limits of their applications. Derrida routes animality through the logic of différance—replacing categories with infinite others—yet maintains species distinctions for his deconstruction. Foucault advocates an approach to bodies beyond knowledge regimes, but fails to trouble his own discursive production of animality as a singular group of (often) powerless victims. Butler troubles frameworks of recognition that prevent ethical relation—using a genealogy of power and theory of alterity—while “human” and “animal” remain uninterrogated and reperformed categories in her work. Finally, Deleuze prescribes “becoming animal” through vulnerable incursions with other bodies, failing to see that “becoming” on its own is sufficient.
Irreducibility, as a comprehensive habit of thought, reframes one’s responsibility in resisting violence. An irreducible other destabilizes one’s identity, not only as one-who-deconstructs, but also as one responsible for passing out subjecthood and equality. An ethics of irreducibility demands that we give up the luxury of an intelligible creature, an intelligible liberation movement, and intelligible selves. Such is the task of Critical Animal Studies.
Rebekah Sinclair and Brianne Donaldson are both scholar-activists in Claremont, CA.
A weapon with big eyes. Why hunters hate Bambi.
Vier Pfoten / Four Paws, Germany
The presentation is based on my socialogical dissertation called "fish are friends. The relationship of humans and animals in animated movies" , published in 2008 at the University of Münster, Germany.
Dr. Martina Stephany: born 1981, studies: sociology, German literature, cultural anthropology at the university of Münster. Thesis: "The animal - a machine? About the social status of animals." (2006) Dissertation: "fish are friends. About the relationship of humans and animals in animated movies." (2008).
Co-Editor of the book "the question about animals. Interdisziplinary perspectives on the relationship of humans and animals." (2010)
After that I worked for a daily newspaper. Since 2011, I am campaigner at an animal welfare organisation.
Vegan for 7 years.
From the Zoological Gaze to Zoontologies of Becoming
Central European University, Hungary/Poland
The zoo is a peculiar space where entertainment is interlaced with science, where animals are categorized according to species in a “fabricated naturalness”, and where most visibly the division between human and animal is constructed in the form of bars. I problematize the zoological garden’s role as a living taxonomy of species that has its roots in the modernist project of the Enlightenment. By discussing the zoo in its historical context and emphasizing the intersections between colonialism, the birth of the nation state, and the emergence of the scientific disciplines in the nineteenth century, I argue that zoo is a paradigmatic biopolitical space. Using Giorgio Agamben’s concept of “the anthropological machine,” I argue that the gaze is the most important instrument of this modern device, which produces the human/non-human boundary. As Foucault shows, seeing is knowing, therefore my presentation focuses on the visual aspect of the space of the zoo. In my analysis “the zoological gaze” of modern panoptical menageries creates hierarchies and places where humanness is constantly negotiated (humans were displayed in zoos until the 1950s). I ask: is it possible to jam the anthropological machine with Donna Haraway’s notions of “becoming (with) animal others” and “companion species” that allow us to think of zoontologies of becoming instead of a fixed being?
My presentation includes a case study of the Budapest Zoological Garden,
where I discuss the shift from private menageries to public zoological
gardens. Following that, I analyze the trend towards making the enclosure
and captivity of the non-humans less visible (from Hagenbeck’s revolution to
modern bioparks). By demonstrating how animals “gazing back” can destabilize
the anthropocentric approach that has dominated philosophical thinking, I
argue for a centrality of vision in posthumanist theory.
Marianna Szczygielska completed her first M.A. in Philosophy with a specialization in Public Life and Social Communication at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. Her second M.A. in Gender Studies, which focused on posthumanism, was obtained from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Currently she will enroll in September as a PhD. Candidate in Critical Gender Studies at the same university, where her research project is entitled Queer(ing) Naturecultures. The Study of Zoo Animals. Her other past and present research interests include: animal studies, critical feminist theory, philosophy of technology, bioethics and queer theory.
Affective Dimensions of the Animal Industrial Complex in Derrida’s ‘The Animal That Therefore I Am (More to Follow)’
Lancaster University, UK
Richard Twine PhD. is a sociologist currently based at Lancaster University, UK. His research interests include gender studies, critical animal studies and the sociology of climate change. His first book was published last year entitled ‘Animals as Biotechnology – Ethics, Sustainability and Critical Animal Studies’ (Earthscan, 2010), which was awarded ICAS Academic Book of the Year 2011. He has also written on ecofeminism, posthumanism and on the idea of a critical bioethics. He is part of the editorial collective of the Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS), and a member of the Board of Directors of Minding Animals International (MAI).
Methods to encounter animal agents in art
Universität der Künste Berlin, Germany
I am interested in the question of what an empathic approach on the part of an artist can contribute to aesthetics, ethics and efforts, to adopt non-human ways of looking at the world. My paper discusses various artistic practices by which humans attempt to adopt the perspective of animals in order to make it somehow accessible.
All artists I would like to present work for many years with animals and sometimes live with them in close proximity. Their main strategies in their works are observation, imitation, and identification.
Austrian Ines Lechleitner maps the interactions of a group of gorillas in a zoo. Her drawings trace with great accuracy the movements of the apes in order to discern their secret meaning and attain insight into the animals as agents.
German Bärbel Rothhaar colaborates with her own bees to make interspecies sculptures that follow not only artistic but also scientific principles with the aim of entering into the creative mindset of these insects.
After years of fieldwork in Spain the international artist collective Varsity of Maneuvers developed workshops in which managers can learn to overcome their fear of heights by learning from mountain goates.
American Sam Easterson equips wild animals with helmet cameras for his ongoing project Animal Plant Video so as to replicate as directly as possible the way a non-human animal sees the world.
What all these artworks have in common is an emancipatory potential in the attempt to "give voice" to animals as individuals and thus to open up as yet uncharted channels to their minds. These works of art are new and radical in refusing to deploy representations of animals as a screen upon which to project all manner of human issues; they accord animals their own point of view.
Jessica Ullrich PhD. studied Art History, Fine Arts and German Literature in Frankfurt, Germany and Arts Administration in Berlin, Germany, Curator at the Georg-Kolbe-Museum, Berlin Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Arts in Berlin (Art History and Aesthetics department) Founding member of the animal studies research group in Berlin Member oft he Senior Editorial Board of Antennae. The Journal for Nature in the Visual Arts, Interims representative of Minding Animals Germany Main field of study: Animals and aesthetics, various publications, conference papers, and exhibitions on contemporary art and animals in art.
The Ethics of Including Animals in the Early Childhood Classroom
Clarissa M. Uttley
Plymouth State University, USA
Non-human animals are increasingly becoming a part of early childhood classrooms throughout the United States. A research study, conducted by the presenters, examined the numbers and types of non-human animals currently being included in early childhood classrooms accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children throughout the United States. Of the 1362 sites that participated in the survey (a 25.2% response rate), 820 (60.21%) sites maintain non-human animals in the early childhood classroom while 442 (32.45%) do not. This study also asked participants to discuss the reason or purpose for including non-human animals in the classroom. Responses included helping the children learn empathy and responsibility and supporting curriculum on topics such as life cycle of tadpoles. This paper presentation will explore the ethics of maintaining non-human animals in a classroom setting and present data from the study on the number of participants that believe non-human animals should NOT be included in an early childhood classroom. Reasons for not including non-human animals include the message that caging a non-human animal sends to children (ownership by and hierarchy of the human species) and questions about the quality of care, among numerous other reasons. Results from the study will be presented with discussion mainly concentrated on the issues concerning non-humans in the classroom setting and what messages this may send to young children about the dominance of the human species, attempting to answer the question “are classrooms with non-human animals helping or hindering the social emotional development of young children”.
Dr. Clarissa M. Uttley is an Assistant Professor of Education at Plymouth State University (PSU) in New Hampshire, USA where her teaching focus is educating future early childhood professionals. Her research concentrates on the interactions between young children and non-human animals specifically how these relationships can be supported in beneficial manners for both parties.
Discursive Analysis of the Objectification of Laboratory Animals in the Czech Republic
Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
Although animals are
entities with certain characteristics similar to the members of a given
species, many social scientists and philosophers have already discovered
that their meaning to human society is socially constructed. So called
“laboratory animals” have specific moral status, they are deindividualized
and objectified, which has already been addressed by many authors (Arluke,
Phillips, Birke, Michael).
Tereza Vandrovcová (1984) is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. Her research interests include critical animal studies, discourse analysis, animals in laboratories, and the link between animal abuse and human violence. She aspires to establish and popularise sociological animal studies in the Czech Republic. Her book "Animal as an Experimental Object: a Sociological Reflection" (in Czech) will be published in September 2011. Besides the academic field, she is active in animal rights activism (Veggie Parade) and politics (Green party)
Political Animals: From Liberalism to Anarcha-animal Liberationism
York University, Canada
In this paper, I argue that liberal analyses of animal exploitation and liberation, particularly those offered by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and Gary Francione, are inadequate because they fail to address the root causes of animal exploitation – capitalism and patriarchy – and ought to be replaced by an anarcha-animal liberationist critique. While Francione, the most radical of the three thinkers noted above, is correct to point out that as long as animals are considered property they cannot be accorded meaningful rights, he largely ignores the relationship between property and capitalism (and the state) as such. As such, Francione’s proposal comes dangerously close to the welfarist approach he so (rightly) despises. Moreover, the struggle for animal “rights,” though important in some respects, is fundamentally flawed because it is part and parcel of the liberal legal tradition which relies on the state—an inherently violent and unjust institution—for the enforcement of those rights. Although ostensibly abolitionist, the rights approach is also limited in its scope and exclusionary because to be attributed rights in the first place, a being must meet certain (often arbitrary) criteria.
As opposed to these liberal models, anarcha-feminism, I contend, provides a much more effective platform for animal liberation theory and practice. Anarcha-feminist anti-authoritarianism poses a particularly profound challenge to human (male) supremacism. By seeking to abolish the “rule of gangs of armed males calling themselves governments” that has characterized capitalist, patriarchal civilization over the centuries, anarcha-feminists challenge not only human (male) supremacist ideology, but the hidden mechanism which enforces this ideology—that is, the state and the armed thugs it enlists to instill terror into the public and to quell dissent. Moreover, the anarchist challenge to authority and hierarchy has particularly important implications for rethinking animal-human relations and the conception of the political community as a whole. Whereas, as noted, rights by their nature often allow only for some other animals’ partial inclusion into the ethico-political community—depending on how many and which rights they are accorded and to which species, for example—a cross-species anti-authoritarianism would assume that all sentient beings—humans and otherwise—are always already legitimate political and historical subjects whose autonomy ought never to be compromised, and so has a much wider scope than rights.
Despite the clear compatibility of anarchism and animal liberation, there is a disturbing trend in anarchist and ecological Marxist scholarship which seeks to delegitimize animal liberation. Influential thinkers like Murray Bookchin, for example, betray the libertarian principles they tout by, in his case, claiming that equality between humans and animals is “misanthropic.” The fact that PM Press recently published Lierre Keith’s diatribe against veganism is also symptomatic of a reactionary turn in the Left which is in urgent need of reversal.
Zipporah Weisberg is a PhD candidate in Social and Political Thought at York University in Toronto, Canada. Her areas of specialization include critical animal studies, critical theory, and existentialism and phenomenology. Her essay, “The Broken Promises of Monsters: Haraway, Animals, and the Humanist Legacy,” was awarded the Best Graduate Dissertation of the Year by the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, and was published in the Journal for Critical Animal Studies (2009).
'Let Us Become Beautiful': anarchist perspectives on deconstructing the human/ animal binary, and developing effective strategies of resistance.'
Richard J White
Sheffield Hallam University, UK
In the conclusion to his essay "On Vegetarianism" (1901) the great anarchist geographer Elisee Reclus argued: "Ugliness in persons, in deeds, in life, in surrounding Nature - this is our worst foe. Let us become beautiful ourselves, and let our life be beautiful!" Anarchist praxis, by emphasising the inter-locking nature of systems of power and domination, offers new, valuable and original insights that can help enable us to better understand the most exploitative and violent systems that underpin the treatment of both humans and other animals in society. However, though a long-held source of inspiration for those activist communities intent on challenging and subverting dominant normative and anthropocentric relationships between humans and other animals, anarchist thoughts and visions have largely been neglected in both mainstream and radical academic communities. This (wilful) oversight has certainly been detected in the burgeoning literature focused on "human-animal" studies. Situated within the emerging field of critical animal studies, and drawing on the ideas of several key anarchists the presentation will look to respond directly to the two guiding themes of the 2nd European CAS Conference.
The first part of the presentation is necessarily more theoretical in nature and focuses on de-constructing and re-configuring dominant human/ animal binary categories. The central arguments here will actively draw on ideas that anarchists have consciously or sub-consciously used to problematise the either (human) or (animal) binary in their arguments, particularly when calling for 'rights' or 'justice' to be taken seriously.
The presentation will then address the crucial question of how to develop more effective strategies of resistance. As well as focusing on the need to build new and more critical bridges between - and within - academic, activist, policy making and wider public communities, an explicit discussion on the possibility and desirability of resisting 'violence' will also be made.
Dr. Richard J White is a Senior Lecturer in Economic Geography. Inspired by anarchist praxis Richard's research and writing contributes to knowledge in two key areas. One focuses on post-capitalist futures of work and organisation. The other emphasises the political economy of animal rights, and explores the interlocking systems of domination which exist between humans and other animals.
Richard is part of the Editorial Collective for "The Journal for Critical Animal Studies", and serves on the Editorial Boards of “The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy” and “Theory in Action, The Journal of the Transformative Studies Institute”.
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