The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings edited by Linda Kalof, and Amy Fitzgerald (Berg) 'What is an "animal"? A "human being"? The Animals Reader will help us rethink these urgent questions in the light of scientific, technological, and historical discoveries. Ranging from Aristotle to postmodern philosophers and from orangutans to cyborgs, it presents a wonderful diversity of perspectives on animals and, in consequence, ourselves. ---Boria Sax, author of Crow, Animals in the Third Reich and The Mythical Zoo
The study of animals - and the relationship between humans and other animals - is now one of the most fiercely debated topics in contemporary science and culture.
Animals have a long history in human society, providing food, labour, sport and companionship as well as becoming objects for exhibit. More contemporary uses extend to animals as therapy and in scientific testing. As natural habitats continue to be destroyed, the rights of animals to co-exist on the planet - and their symbolic power as a connection between humans and the natural world - are ever more hotly contested.
The Animals Reader brings together the key classic and contemporary writings from Philosophy, Ethics, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Environmental Studies, History, Law and Science. As the first book of its kind, The Animals Reader provides a framework for understanding the current state of the multidisciplinary field of animal studies.This anthology will be invaluable for students across the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as for general readers.
This volume is a collection of essential readings in animal studies and was inspired by the stunning explosion in recent research and theory on the relationship between humans and other animals in both contemporary and historical contexts. The anthology addresses one of the most fiercely debated topics in contemporary science and culture: How shall we (and, some would ask, should we) rethink, rebuild and recast our relationships with other animals? Contemporary struggles with the "animal question" began to take hold in the 1970s, and over the last four decades the relationship between humans and other animals has undergone a sweeping reevaluation. It is now widely acknowledged that, in addition to human-driven habitat loss and species extinction, untold numbers of animals are commodified for consumption, exhibition, labor, science, and recreation, only to be discarded when they have outlived their usefulness — when indeed they are allowed to live at all. In addition, many now recognize the close link between our relationships with other animals and some of the most pernicious human social problems, such as slavery, sexism, and environmental degradation.
Unique in its coverage of both historical and contemporary material, The Animals Reader brings together 35 key writings in animal studies from a wide arena of scholarship, including philosophy, cultural studies, anthropology, environmental studies, history, geography, sociology, law, ethology, and science. Choosing material for this anthology was no easy task. For each exemplary piece included, dozens had to be passed over because of the lack of space (and, truth be told, in some cases inclusion was compromised by inordinately high permission fees). Our major criteria for selection were interdisciplinarity, influence and intrigue. We sought out those special pieces that would appeal to a broad interdisciplinary audience, that have had a major influence in how the Western world thinks about animals, and that would pique the interest of readers. Spanning thousands of years and a wide array of theoretical perspectives (including positivism, feminism, Marxism, structuralism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, and posthumanism) the readings in this anthology will provide a solid framework for understanding the current state of the multidisciplinary field of animal studies.
We have organized the material into six thematic sections. While many readings resisted easy categorization into a single section, preferring instead to span across several thematic groups (particularly the postmodern/posthumanist scholarship), we believe these six groupings are good representations of how one might collapse the voluminous historical and contemporary writings in animal studies. Each section begins with a general introduction, includes 5-7 readings and concludes with a list of further reading. Individual readings are preceded by an editorial commentary that provides a contextual background for the authors and their work and a brief preview of the reading.
We begin with a section on Animals as Philosophical and Ethical Subjects. Our goal here is to introduce the reader to the central philosophical and ethical underpinnings regarding the role of animals in human society and in some cases the role of humans in animal society. While the human treatment of other animals has become an increasingly hard-to-ignore contemporary social justice issue, numerous classical writers have also addressed the "animal question" and we have included this important historical perspective. Aristotle's History of Animals and an essay from Jeremy Bentham provide the grounding material for discussions of the hierarchical human-animal natural order that appears again and again throughout the centuries and throughout this volume. We end Section 1 with the hugely influential essay by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari on becoming-animal, a theoretical breakthrough in thinking about the human-animal relationship and one which has centered much of the work that appears in other sections in this volume.
Animals as Reflexive Thinkers contains readings that address animal cognition, emotion, and culture. We include letters written in the mid-1600s by Rene Descartes in which he claims that animals, because they have no language, have no "thoughts." Descartes considers his opinion "not so much cruel to animals as indulgent to men" since his position allows for the guiltless killing and eating of animals. Other writings in this section provide a very different view of animals' cognitive abilities —such as Marc Bekoff's essay on cooperation and forgiveness in animals and Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy on the evidence that many animals experience emotions such as depression, nostalgia, loneliness, disappointment, and grief.
The third section, Animals as Domesticates, "Pets" and Food, examines the thorny issues of pet-keeping and eating animals. These two apparently disparate themes are actually more similar in terms of the domestication of animals than they are different (although it is usually only in extreme circumstances that contemporary humans eat their pets). Steven Mithen sets the stage for thinking about animals as sources of food and affection with his essay on the archeological evidence of the prehistoric evolution of our relationship with other animals. Mithen argues that while our ancestors had a predator—prey relationship with other animals for most of prehistory, in the last 30,000 years or so animals were brought into the human social group as objects of affection. (Dogs, for example, were buried with humans in the Near East around 12,000 BC.) Harriet Ritvo discusses hunting animals to extinction, the overexploitation of animals for commercial gain, and the practices of pet-keeping that exacerbate contagious diseases including epizootic diseases that afflict factory farmed animals. Yi-Fu Tuan examines the making of pets and the "petrification" of nature and animals as aesthetically-driven practices that are at the same time both cruel and affectionate. The rest of the section is devoted to two of the most hotly contested human-animal relationship issues in contemporary society — factory farming and meat-eating.
The use of animals in sport hunting and animal-fighting activities is also a fiercely debated topic and one that we examine in Section 4 on Animals as Spectacle and Sport. This group of readings includes essays on the use of animals in entertainment spectacles in ancient Rome and in the contemporary world of zoos, dogfighting, and bullfighting. The section ends with an article by Matt Cartmill on sport hunting and the rise of anti-hunting sentiment with the decreasing acceptance of the arbitrary nature of the human-animal boundary.
Animals as Symbols is the theme of Section 5, and here we include some of the most cited works in the field of animal studies. First is John Berger's "Why Look at Animals?" — a very influential essay that from its inception in 1980 has probably done more to set us rethinking our relationship with animals than has any other modern piece. Written in a simple and straightforward manner, Berger despairs that animals are always the observed and never the observers, and that they have been "co-opted" into spectacles and into the family (primarily as pets or "human puppets"). We also reproduce an extract from Claude Levi-Strauss's classic book on Totemism in which he argues that animals are chosen as totems not because they are good to eat but rather because they are "good to think." Boria Sax expands on this notion in an essay on "Animals as Tradition," and the last two pieces focus on animal bodies — Steve Baker writes about the body-focused postmodern animal art and Jonathan Burt takes us back to the late nineteenth century in an examination of the connection between technology and animal visibility and invisibility.
Our last theme is Animals as Scientific Objects — yet another highly controversial topic. The readings in Section 6 pick up on prior themes (particularly philosophy, ethics, and symbolism) in an examination of animals in science and technology. We begin with a chapter from Coral Lansbury's The Old Brown Dog, in which she chronicles the anti-vivisection movement of the early twenthieth century in the UK, and we end with an essay by Donna Haraway that also focuses on dogs, but in terms of biological diversity and technoscience. While a feminist critique of scientific
objectivity figures prominently in many of the readings in this section, the most compelling theme is a rethinking of the boundaries between humans and animals and culture and nature — a theme that is pervasive throughout this anthology. Such a rethinking is, in our minds, an essential part of the intellectual struggle with the animal question, and we leave you with a quotation that typifies much of that endeavor:
When your views on the world
and your intellect are being challenged and you begin to feel uncomfortable because of a contradiction you've detected that is threatening your current model
of the world or some aspect of it,
You are about to learn something.
(William H. Drury, Jr., College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine)
Humans have been debating the philosophical and ethical dimension of our relationship with other animals since the time of the early Greeks. Pythagoras, Aristotle, Theophrastus, and later Plutarch and Porphyry have all had something to say about the ways in which humans relate to other animals, with the issues swirling around such concepts as intelligence, rationality, kinship, morality, justice and flesh-eating. Now, thousands of years later, these very same issues are part of an ongoing contentious and compelling debate surrounding the animal question: What are the similarities and differences between humans and other animals? On what grounds should we extend consideration and compassion to animals? To be treated justly, must an animal first have the capacity for language and rational thought? Is there a connection between our treatment of animals and our treatment of marginalized human groups?
We begin with readings from Aristotle's History of Animals. In these essays on zoology, Aristotle describes the psychological characteristics of animals, noting that some attributes such as intelligence differ only in quantity with those possessed by humans. He is well known for his description of nature as a procession from lifeless things to plants which have a progressive natural order and then to animals who have their own natural graduated differentiation. Aristotle is also known for his denial of reason to animals, a proposition that has been recast over the centuries as a denial of human kinship with animals and eventually transformed into a rigid hierarchical natural system known as the "Great Chain of Being," a ladder-type ordering system with God at the top, humans below God, other animals below humans, and the rocky earth at the very bottom. The belief that humans have dominion over "lower" animals is a pernicious consequence of this conceptualization, exaggerating the distance between humans and other animals and thus minimizing our ethical obligations to them.
Over the ensuing centuries, scholars have contested the rigid hierarchical view of nature, humans and animals, with the link between the oppression of animals and the oppression of certain human groups becoming a major theme in the philosophical and ethical discourse on the animal question. In the eighteenth century, Jeremy Bentham [whose work is reproduced in this section] contended that abuse based on species, like abuse based on race, is unjust and that moral consideration should be extended to animals because, like humans, they are capable of suffering.
Also in the eighteenth century, German philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that our ethical duties to animals are simply indirect duties to other humans, since the maltreatment of animals may make us more inclined to mistreat our fellow humans. And in the nineteenth century, Henry S. Salt wrote that the condition of domestic animals in his time was no different than the condition of slaves 100 years earlier. More recently, Marjorie Spiegel [whose work is reproduced in this section] makes the explicit link between the enslavement of animals and human slavery. She argues that the
tools, structures and ideologies that make the enslavement and oppression of other species possible are similarly employed in the enslavement of humans.
Jeremy Bentham's extension of consideration to animals was part of his concept of "utilitarianism," in which he advocated the "greatest happiness principle" that that which brings the greatest happiness is good. The moral principle of "equal consideration of interests" (derived from Bentham's "each to count for one, and none for more than one") is egalitarian and proposes that no interests should be excluded or treated differently — that all interests have equal weight. Peter Singer, perhaps the world's most influential living philosopher, also promotes a utilitarian approach to animal ethics, adopting Bentham's equal-consideration-of-interests principle as the foundation of his own ethical theory. Singer argues that we should treat other animals at least as well as we would treat cognitively similar humans. As outlined in his reading reproduced in this section, Singer's ethical argument is not based on the claim that animals are entitled to rights. A rights-based position is presented by Tom Regan, who argues that animals possess moral rights, as humans do — animals, like humans, are "subjectsof-a-life," and all subjects-of-a-life have inherent value and thus moral rights. In this reading, Regan argues that rights are conceptually and realistically important to the lives of animals — "Rights being the trump card in the moral game, it is not larger cages [as might satisfy animal welfarists], but empty cages" that are needed.
Martha Nussbaum has yet another ethical view on the animal question — we should not focus on animal interests or rights, but rather on animal capabilities. She draws on the confinement of circus animals to argue that preventing animals from actualizing their capabilities and living with dignity is unjust. Nussbaum perceives her approach as different from Kantian philosophy (which accords respect and moral concern only to rational beings) and utilitarian approaches (which are concerned with the maximization of happiness or pleasure and the reduction of pain). Nussbaum's approach is therefore similar to Regan's in that her focus is more on individual-level functioning. She also contends that the capabilities of some types of animals (such as primates) are greater than the capabilities of other types of animals (such as mice) so that the level of treatment that might be considered unjust for one might not be considered unjust for another.
We end the section with a reading by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari that takes the philosophy of our relationship with other animals in a different direction altogether. In their essay on becoming-animal, Deleuze and Guattari argue that the focus should be on affinity relations, or an alliance with animals. They reject the importance of pointing to similarities between humans and animals (such as rationality and sentience); instead they emphasize differences. Thus, becoming-animal is not about family, nor about imitating or regressing or progressing toward something, but rather is about a multiplicity of differences, with beings always expanding and in transition. Developed in opposition to Hegelian dialectics which perceives the world in terms of polarities, the notions of becoming-animal and multiplicity capture the importance of celebrating difference and diversity over sameness, similarity, and kinship, issues which have dominated our ethical stance toward other animals for centuries.
While some early Greeks struggled with the ethics of our relationship with other animals and the permeability of the human-animal boundary, others were busy writing that animals were capable of human-like emotions such as happiness and heartbreak. In his poem On the Nature of Things (49 BCE), Lucretius describes the sorrow of an "orphaned mother" whose yearling calf has been snatched away for sacrifice, and nothing "can lure her mind and turn the sudden pain." The conviction implied by Lucretius — that animals are thinking, reflexive, emotional beings — has persisted for centuries, even after Descartes's influential assertion in the seventeenth century that animals are mere unthinking, unfeeling machines. This section discusses animal capabilities — cognitive, emotional and cultural — and the recent research that documents that animals are capable of compassion, morality and a range of emotions from joy to extreme sadness.
We begin this section with an extract from the sixteenth-century essays of Michel de Montaigne. In this short piece, Montaigne argues that animals and humans have similar attributes, such as communication, cunning and playfulness. In the next reading, Rene Descartes disagrees with Montaigne's contention that animals are thinking beings capable of communication and concludes that since animals lack language they also lack consciousness. According to Descartes, animals do not behave as if they can think, but rather act naturally and mechanically like clocks or machines (although he does not deny that they feel sensations).
Today, the assertion that animals lack consciousness is widely disputed by both scientists and the general public. The linguistic ability of animals, however, is still controversial, despite evidence that primates can learn to communicate their thoughts and feelings in captive environments. Dr. Francine "Penny" Patterson has taught Koko, a gorilla, to use sign language to communicate using more than 1,000 signs, and research led by Dr. E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh has documented the use of lexigrams (symbols that represents words) by Kanzi, a male bonobo, to communicate more than 200 words. Thus, it is argued that some animals possess a theory of mind — they are not only capable of thoughts and self-awareness, but they also attribute these qualities to others. Alas, remnants of the Cartesian view of animal cognitive capacities remain in the world of science and in the popular culture, and the lack of verbal speech among animals is often used as a pretext for assuming that animals do not have other characteristics that mark what is considered "human," such as morality, emotions and culture.
The rest of the readings in this section provide compelling evidence that animals are reflexive thinkers. Clinton Sanders and Arnold Arluke argue that a spoken language between humans and their animal companions is not even necessary for successful interaction. Humans in relationships with "virtual persons" (such as their dogs) have ongoing interactional experiences in which they "read" the animals' gazes, vocalizations and body expressions. Sanders and Arluke conclude that "language is overrated as the primary vehicle of cognition and coordinated social interaction," animal
coactors are often regarded as minded, emotional, and intentional by their human companions and that anthropomorphism (attributing human characteristics to nonhuman beings or objects) is useful in understanding animal behavior.
The other three readings in this section demonstrate that animals possess numerous capabilities usually considered to be the exclusive province of humans. Marc Bekoff examines the play behavior of animals for evidence of social morality (behaving fairly). Bekoff celebrates the use of a biocentrically anthropomorphic approach in understanding animal social behavior, arguing that "we are humans and we have by necessity a human view of the world." He concludes that animals have moral social relationships that are necessary to the maintenance of the group and that those relationships include cooperation, forgiveness, justice, fairness and trust.
The reading from Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy provides insight into the emotional lives of animals. They argue that animals exhibit emotions, such as grief and sadness, in contexts that would elucidate the same emotions in people. Masson and McCarthy tell compelling stories of animals caring for ill companions, mourning the loss of mates, and displaying learned helplessness and a concept of death.
As the evidence amasses that animals have a wide range of cognitive and emotional capacities, humans have turned to yet another quality to emphasize their distinction from other animals —culture. As a last resort, it is argued that only humans have the capacity for socially transmitted behavior. We close this section with an article by Carel van Schaik and colleagues that provides evidence that at least some animals other than humans possess material culture. Their research team studied six populations of orangutans in the wild and found notable variations in their behavior that could not be accounted for by environmental or biological variables. The authors argue that these behavioral differences are the result of cultural transmission and conclude that "great-ape cultures exist, and may have done so for at least 14 million years."
Animals have such integral roles in human culture that we tend to take their presence for granted. But there was a time when humans encountered animals simply as prey or as predators. With domestication (taming "wild" animals to live with humans by altering their behavior and/or physiology), our relationships with other animals became much more diverse and complex. This section is devoted to the history of animal domestication and two of the primary functions animals have come to serve for humans as a result thereof — as playthings (or "pets") and as food. At first blush it may seem anomalous to include the themes of animals as playthings and food in one section. However, as Yi-Fu Tuan argues, the making of "pets" and the making of "livestock" share utilitarian motivations and both entail the physical and psychological manipulation of animals.
We begin this section with two readings that map the historical landscape of our relationships with animals. The first essay is by archaeologist Steven Mithen and provides an overview of the prehistory of human-animal relationships and a critical appraisal of prior research on early human-animal interactions and the domestication process. Mithen's work is guided by the question, How is it that humans have gone beyond the predator/prey relationship that other animals experience into a new arena of inter-species interactions?
Environmental historian Harriet Ritvo expands upon the discussion of animal domestication, providing insights into the consequences of domestication for the "domesticatees" and the "domesticators," which she describes as the most transformative relationship between humans and other animals. She discusses the link between animal domestication and the spread of some contagious diseases, with particular attention paid to a topic receiving much press of late — the spread of zoonotic diseases (diseases that be transmitted from animals to humans, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or "mad cow disease," and avian influenza, or the "bird flu"). Rigid boundaries between what is animal and what is human are eroding as diseases increasingly traverse the human/animal divide with impunity.
Next, Yi-FuTuan examines the connection between aesthetics and exploitation in the "petrification" of animals as playthings. He considers the manipulation of the bodies of domesticated animals nothing more than cruel aesthetic exploitation, questions the loss of "natural vigor" in pet animals and laments that even the highly valued pet is often treated as "a convenience."
The last four readings in this section examine the motivations for, and the consequences of, using animals as food. As Carol Adams reminds us, "meat eating is the most frequent way in which we interact with animals." First we examine a classic reading by Plutarch on "The Eating of Flesh," which is particularly profound given that 2,000 years ago he introduced issues that are widely debated today, such as the maltreatment of "livestock" animals raised for food and the connection between the victimization of animals and the victimization of humans.
Jim Mason and Mary Finelli describe in detail the treatment of food animals in modern factory farms (those that operate on a mass scale, are highly mechanized, and treat the animals as "biomachines"). Not only do they provide insight into the negative effects this system of production has on the animals used as raw material, they also describe the negative consequences this mode of production has on human health and on disappearing farming communities.
The final two readings examine the thought-provoking connection between meat-eating and power. Carol Adams argues that meat-eating is identified with masculinity and male power (usually white males) and that the hierarchy of meat protein (in which "real" men eat meat and everyone else eats plants) reinforces a hierarchy of sex, class and race, particularly when food is scarce. Adams concludes that meat-eating is a symbol of patriarchy that validates masculine privilege. It should be noted that in other work, Adams has demonstrated that the metaphorical intersection of the oppression of certain human groups and of animals has become part of our cultural fabric, particularly in the representation of butchered animals and violence against women.
The culture of capitalism is particularly pernicious in the exploitation of both humans and animals in the search for profit. In the last reading, David Nibert focuses on the relationship between meat consumption and environmental and human-rights crises in the developing world. He writes that the (over)consumption of meat in affluent countries has devastating negative consequences in other parts of the world, consequences that multinational corporations have an interest in perpetuating. Nibert laments that, despite the increased production in modern agribusiness with its huge social and environmental costs, hundreds of millions of humans around the world remain hungry. He concludes with a link between the US food and restaurant industries and their sexist, racist and classist practices that exacerbate the problems of low wages and inadequate health-care coverage for employees. Once again, the animal question hovers at the intersection of the oppression of animals and of marginalized humans.
We humans have always been fascinated by the spectacles of nature, particularly animals in combat, having long embraced the notion that animals are, by their very nature, violent and aggressive. Rarely do we emphasize animals' playful and frolicsome side, as in the two polar bears playing underwater in the image opening this section. Thus, confrontation between animals (and between animals and men) was common in Mesopotamian art, much of which reflected ongoing struggles between the uncivilized and civilized. Indeed, the first epic poem ever written was a story of the battle between "nature" (Enkidu) and "culture" (Gilgamesh). The notion of an ongoing confrontation between the wild and the tame is a theme that runs throughout this section on animals as spectacle and sport.
The ancients depicted hunting as a royal battle of valor between kings and wild beasts. "Paradise parks" enclosed exotic animals close to landowners' estates so that owners could hunt at will and visitors could easily observe the action. The countryside parks and the infamous Roman arena hunts both provided the opportunity to see wild animals destroyed, thus affirming the superiority of culture over nature.
We begin with an ancient writer on animal spectacles, Pliny the Elder. It is important to note that even the ancients occasionally questioned the rigid hierarchical distinction between humans and animals. Pliny the Elder often wrote about animals in anthropomorphic ways, as in the essay on elephant combats reproduced in this section. He recounts how the audience protested the shabby treatment of elephants at one of Pompey's games lamenting that the animals were human-like in their struggle against getting slaughtered, also noting that elephants are caring of others and even altruistic at times.
Staged games and athletic contests were common in antiquity, and there is much visual evidence that animals have long been pitted against humans and other animals in entertainment and other sport spectacles. Bullfights were a popular funerary motif in Egyptian tomb decorations as long ago as 2600 BC, leaping over bulls was a sport of agility in 1450 BC in Minoan society, and baiting humans with dogs was practiced in Etruscan society in 510 BC.
The next two articles discuss the meaning of pitting animals against humans or against other animals in the context of providing humans with something they need. In Garry Marvin's essay, bullfighting is a spectator sport that represents the opposition between nature and culture, with the wild bull eventually tamed (killed) by the civilized, cultured matador. The process of "taming" (or domesticating) animals in public spectacles is an excellent example of Yi-Fu Tuan's dictum in the last section, "domestication means domination." In the article by Evans, Kalich (Gauthier) and Forsyth, dogfighting in the southern US is revealed as an activity that reflects and validates the masculinity and honor of the white males who participate in the sport.
Seeing, observing, and looking at the spectacles of nature, whether in events of the slaughter of wild animals or just gazing at exotic animals in confined places, is a central theme in this section. Randy Malamud writes that all institutions that bring together captive animals as spectacles for humans to
gaze at (zoos, circuses, carnivals, sea worlds, wildlife centers) help shape the cultural representation of animals. This last point is driven home by Malamud when he links Michel Foucault's ideas about power and surveillance with the famous menagerie at Versailles and Jeremy Bentham's panopticon, a useful design for any institution that required the continual watching of the activities of others. Many of the themes that make an appearance in this section on spectacle and sport are discussed throughout the volume, particularly on how issues of power and control figure in the human-animal relationship.
We end this section with an essay by Matt Cartmill that focuses on the meaning of the human-animal and culture-nature boundaries in the history of hunting in Western culture. In antiquity, hunting was armed confrontation between humans and the untamed wilderness, or wild, hostile animals. (Cartmill's logic is clear when he writes,"You can kill cows in the dairy barn, but you cannot hunt them.") Anti-hunting sentiments gained popularity with the rise of the notion in the 1500s that the human-animal boundary was arbitrary and that humans were not superior to other animals. The symbolic nature of the distinction between animals and humans (and the lack thereof) has been expressed by many writers, and we turn to that topic in Section 5.
Charting our experience of the world using animal signs has occupied and sustained humans from the earliest times. While we don't know the range of significance of animals for our Paleolithic ancestors, it is clear from their art that animals were greatly admired, and perhaps much like zoomorphic cultures, their worlds were experienced in animal forms and attributes. This veneration of animals continued for as long as humans kept to an agrarian way of life, but disappeared with the rise of cities and increasing urbanization. We begin this section with John Berger's classic essay, "Why Look at Animals?" While animals were our first symbols, Berger argues, the human veneration of animals has disappeared with urbanization and, further, animals themselves (real animals — not Donald Duck, pets, stuffed animals, or zoo animals) have disappeared from our lives.
The second extract is from Claude Lévi-Strauss's "Totemism," and includes one of the most widely cited phrases in animal studies — animals are "good to think." While Berger mourns the loss of animal explanations, names, and characters for human experiences, Levi-Strauss argues from his analysis of food taboos in certain societies that our relations with animals are in fact real, not symbolic, and that totemic animals have a "perceptible reality" that enhances the "embodiment of ideas." Animals are not conceived as direct ancestors or relatives or emblems of human clans, but rather incarnates of a clan's god(s) and the respect accorded them is gained indirectly, through a unique relationship that the clan has with the animal in its specific natural environment. Thus, humans have a special way of thinking about animals.
In the third essay, Boria Sax applies Lévi-Strauss's ideas to the notion of "animals as tradition." Sax argues that a respectful relationship with animals and the natural world comes with understanding the stories told about animals throughout human history. Stories and myth figure importantly in Sax's work on animal symbolism, with frog kings and animal brides indicative of a human merger with animals through magic, metaphor, and fantasy. As does Berger, Sax considers animals integral to "our heritage as human beings."
Human-animal mergers are also central to the work of postmodern animal studies, particularly in motifs that reconfigure the animal form representing multiple meanings and blurred boundaries. These are characteristics that define postmodern art and engage with Deleuze and Guattari's notion of becoming-animal discussed in Section 1. Steve Baker's work is exemplary in this regard — his project is to "read" art and philosophy in relation to each other. In the essay reproduced here from The Postmodern Animal, Baker examines what he calls animal-sceptical art which critiques the notion that the value of animals lies in what they mean for humans. Postmodern animal art is body-focused, such as "botched" taxidermy and animal biotechnology that render the corporeal unrecognizable, awkward, fragmented and disrupted.
The last essay in this section, Jonathan's Burt's "Illumination of the Animal Kingdom," elaborates on the concepts central to Baker's work — visual imagery, bodies and technology. Burt draws on late
nineteenth-century British history to analyze the link between the visual and the moral [Here we suggest readers reflect on William Hogarth's Three Stages of Cruelty as a superb example of the power of this connection.] Burt examines two kinds of technology in relation to the visibility of animals that construct their representation [symbolization]: technology that enhances their visibility such as film and zoo display, and technology that conceals their visibility such as the use of electrical stunning in slaughterhouses. He concludes that seeing animals as metaphors for human attributes is "too limiting" and that animal representation is related to ethical practices and social control.
The readings in this section echo the concerns expressed by those writing on animals as symbols — the representation of animals transcends seeing them as metaphors for human attributes or experiences and is related to broader social issues such as ethics and power. The use of animals in science is an objectifying process that has deep ethical implications. Using animals as objects of scientific speculation, classification, and experimentation has a long tradition in human history. Animals have been dissected by Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, and George Stubbs; vivisected by Galen, Vesalius, and Descartes; and used by very many to test scientific hypotheses, such as Frederick II who took some vultures, sewed their eyelids shut, kept their noses free, and observed whether or not they located meat by smell or by sight [the vultures went hungry].
These essays address some of the most hotly debated animal issues in contemporary society — vivisection, cloning, and the "obligatory, constitutive, protean" relationship between dogs and humans in technoscience. We begin with a chapter from Coral Lansbury's classic book, The Old Brown Dog, which recounts the social context surrounding the anti-vivisection movement of the early 1900s in the UK. The movement was popular among women and the working class (both groups identified with exploited and trapped animals) and was eventually defeated by the scientific community, with particularly effective protests by the local medical students. Lansbury argues that the cause for animals is not well served when animals stand in as surrogates for others, such as woman or workers.
In Lynda Birke's essay we are drawn into the laboratory itself with her analysis of the lab's gendered and hierarchical social relationships (between scientists, technicians, and animals). She argues that this network of relationships has much to tell us about systems of domination and control in the pursuit of scientific objectivity, and that caring and compassion are labeled feminine and largely devalued.
Networked relationships also figure importantly in the next essay in this section, Sarah Whatmore's "Hybrid Geographies." From the lens of geography, Whatmore argues that the spaces that constitute nature and society are too "purified," or categorized according to binary oppositions such as real/ ideal, natural/social, objective/subjective. These places need to be reconfigured as fluid networks composed of actants-in-relation, including humans, nonhumans, technologies, the organic and the mechanic. Whatmore's work draws very heavily on Deleuze and Guattari's conceptualizations of multiplicity, fluidity, and affinity relations discussed in Section 1.
Sarah Franklin's article on the making of Dolly, the first cloned sheep, also addresses the thorny question of the meaning of nature. With the emergence of new reproductive and genetic technologies in science, animal reproduction is separated from their genealogy, producing a commodification of animal bodies that transcends maternity, paternity, gender, and sex.
We end with another piece on the construction of animals in technoscience — Donna Haraway's "Cyborgs to Companion Species." This essay is well-suited to end the volume; it makes important links with our discussion of philosophical foundations (Section 1), reflexive thinkers (Section 2), domestication and "pets" (Section 3), and symbols (Section 5). Haraway outlines the distinction between "cyborgs" and "companion species," noting that while cyborgs are multiple, subjective, and transformative, companion species are made of two things in interaction (and those "things" can be a multiplicity that consists of humans, animals, technologies, or artifacts). In her discussion, Haraway focuses on the long history of our relationship with dogs, and considers it useful to think of them in non-anthropomorphic ways — while dogs have much agency, they are not projections "nor the telos of anything," they are just dogs. She concludes that the "materially semiotically engaged" and "fleshly significant" companion species figure enhances understanding of eugenics, technology, embodiment, and the histories of class, race, gender, and nation.
Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin, Catherine Johnson (Scribner) (Audio CD- Tantor Media) Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation speaks in the clear voice of a woman who emerged from the other side of autism, bringing with her an extraordinary message about how animals think and feel.
Temple's professional training as an animal scientist and her history as a person with autism have given her a perspective like that of no other expert in the field. Standing at the intersection of autism and animals, she offers unparalleled observations and groundbreaking ideas about both.
Autistic people can often think the way animals think -- in fact, Grandin and co-author Catherine Johnson see autism as a kind of way station on the road from animals to humans -- putting autistic people in the perfect position to translate "animal talk." Temple is a faithful guide into their world, exploring animal pain, fear, aggression, love, friendship, communication, learning, and, yes, even animal genius. Not only are animals much smarter than anyone ever imagined, in some cases animals are out-and-out brilliant.
The sweep of Animals in Translation is immense, merging an animal scientist's thirty years of study with her keen perceptions as a person with autism -- Temple sees what others cannot.
Among its provocative ideas, the book:
argues that language is not a requirement for consciousness -- and that animals do have consciousness
applies the autism theory of "hyper-specificity" to animals, showing that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they "can't see the forest for the trees" -- a talent as well as a "deficit"
explores the "interpreter" in the normal human brain that filters out detail, leaving people blind to much of the reality that surrounds them -- a reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearly
explains how animals have "superhuman" skills: animals have animal genius
compares animals to autistic savants, declaring that animals may in fact be autistic savants, with special forms of genius that normal people do not possess and sometimes cannot even see
examines how humans and animals use their emotions to think, to decide, and even to predict the future
reveals the remarkable abilities of handicapped people and animals
maintains that the single worst thing you can do to an animal is to make it feel afraid
Temple Grandin is like no other author on the subject of animals because of her training and because of her autism: understanding animals is in her blood and in her bones.
The Concise Animal Encyclopedia
by David Burnie (Kingfisher) is a compact marvel – it
covers the animal kingdom from the tiniest protozoan to the mightiest mammal.
Organized by classification and packed with vibrant photographs and informative
detail, this visual safari covers the gamut of phylums, classes, orders,
families, and genuses, including invertebrates, insects, amphibians, mammals,
birds, and reptiles.
Special feature panels throughout the book focus on various aspects of animals and their behavior including camouflage, metamorphosis migration, and hibernation enhance the clear layout. Easy-to-use and authoritative, this colorful volume is an ideal resource for the whole family.
Special features include:
The Concise Animal Encyclopedia is an exciting work of reference for
children, presented in an easy-to-use, thematically arranged format, this animal
encyclopedia is comprehensive, stylish, and fun. Children will be drawn to its
informative and clear narrative, clean layout, illuminating photographs, and
stunning illustrations. Its compact size makes this a very portable
encyclopedia, ideal for children to use at home or at school.
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