In The Sexual Politics of Meat
Adams claims that Genesis
is set in the “meatless Garden of Eden” and that eating meat— that is, the killing of animals for food— can be read “as the cause of the Fall" (Adams, 1990, p. 125).
He is, of course, not alone in this view. Elspeth Probyn’s Blush: Faces of Shame
(2005), a wonderful and sensitively-written account of shame in different social and emotional spheres
, acknowledges that perhaps humans are not the only beings to feel shame (2005, pp. 3, 163-164 n.3), but relegates the possibility of shame in animals to a footnote and views it ultimately as one among other “interesting” ideas (2005:13). In the end, she too shares the opinion that shame “is a fact of human life” and “is an important resource in thinking about what it means to be human” (2005, p. xiii). She makes the important point that “we miss a great deal when we disregard our human similarities […] we are much more alike than we are different—whatever the measure of difference: gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and so on” and that we “must use shame to re-evaluate how we are positioned in relation to the past and to rethink how we wish to live in proximity to others” (2005, pp. xiii-xiv), but does not move on to think about how shame can be used to situate the animal and the human in closer proximity and to see how it can be used to acknowledge that our relationship to animals is exploitative
, oppressive and violent.
10 I am thinking here specifically of the following type of comments: “Just as people of colour do not exist as resources for whites, or women for men, so other animals do not exist as resources for human beings” and “By analogy, why think that permitting ‘gentler’ rape or ‘more humane’ slavery would lead to the absolute prohibition against rape and the total abolition of slavery?” both from Tom Regan and Gary Francione’s “The Animal Rights Movement Must Reject Animal Welfarism” in Animal Rights: Opposing Viewpoints (1996, pp. 195, 196).
For an exciting and invigorating array of essays devoted to the links between queer and critical animal studies see
, for instance, Volume 10, issue 3 (2012) of JCAS.
12 The concern with privacy and the individual is also discussed by Kundera in Testaments Betrayed (see especially 259-261). Here, Kundera articulates shame as “one of the key notions of the modern era” (1996, p. 259).
I am thinking here of Derrida’s description of “naked” words, implying honest ones
, from The Animal that therefore I Am
14 See, for instance, pages 47, 165, 179.
15 His name also bears significant mythical roots. See Cooper (2005, pp. 32-35).
16Notes Many recreational anglers practice catch and release fishing. This form of fishing is not discussed in this essay because the anglers in the focal novels are not identified as catch and release anglers. Contrary to popular belief, catch and release fishing is not unproblematic where fish welfare is concerned. See Braithwaite (169-171) and A. Dionys de Leeuw (1996).
Subsistence fishing involves catching
, killing, and consuming fish as an essential food source. In this essay, where fish are caught primarily for recreation, with consumption being a secondary motivation, it is not considered to be subsistence fishing.
18 Today, many women also practice recreational angling (Crowder 2002).
In What Animals Mean in the Fiction of Modernity
, Philip Armstrong discusses how “emotionally laden relationships between humans and animals” were increasingly viewed as “immature and unrealistic” by modernists during the early-mid twentieth century (134). Sentimentality was thought best confined “to the socially disempowered spheres of feminine domesticity
, maternity and child-rearing” (Armstrong 134).
21 Nociception is the term used to describe the body’s unconscious “detection or perception” of noxious stimuli (Braithwaite 32).
22Notes Throughout this paper I draw from pedagogical scholarship on the Holocaust that addresses how visual artifacts are used to learn about it. While some may object to comparisons between the Holocaust and factory farming, I refer to Corinne Painter’s (2014) defense of the analogy.
23 Although not the focus of this paper, it would be remiss not to acknowledge similar uses of disturbing photos by anti-abortion groups and animal rights groups. As well, legal restrictions and prohibitions on displaying such images have recently challenged both groups’ freedom of expression. In 2012 a Colorado Court of Appeals ruled on Scott vs. Saint John’s Church in the Wilderness and determined that there is a “compelling government interest in protecting children from disturbing images” of mutilated fetuses or dead bodies (Liptak, para. 7).
24 Elma Winters is a pseudonym. My contact requested anonymity. She works for Proctor and Gamble, a company that has a contentious history with animal rights organizations.
25 Darder, Baltodano and Torres (2003) describe Freire’s concept of “conscientization” as a process of “deepening awareness of the social realities which shape their lives” and the discovery of “their own capacities to recreate them” (14).
28 Later on, I could also play that role for him. I once gave him a piece of cucumber and he refused to eat it until I took a bite.
29 After Olli arrived
, the relationship between Pika and me also changed. We became partners. My attitude towards her has always been respectful, and I let her make her own decisions when possible, but now I simply trusted her to do the right thing; for example, in the park
, she now walks off leash and I can’t watch her because I keep my eyes on Olli. I also noticed how very attuned we are to each other. Pika can read my mind, or, more probably, she can read the smallest movements of my body. We do not touch as much as Olli and I do, but we often look into each other’s eyes and there are many small gestures in which we connect throughout the day. Pika became more active since Olli came
, he challenges her to walk more and we spend more time outside. With him she feels more secure in the evening (her sight is deteriorating and she was a bit insecure when it was dark outside). They sometimes play together in the park, very roughly, which shows their mutual trust. I have not seen Pika play with another dog with that intensity for years.
30 The only thing they taught him in the shelter was to sit and give his paw and in the first weeks he did this all the time, to show he meant well.
31 He also started to yawn when I yawn and to sigh when I sigh deeply.
32 Discourse is expressed in language and is existentially language (1962:162).
33 Olli and I also had to learn to listen to each other in both senses: we had to learn to hear the other and to follow the other.
“To get used to a hat
, a car or a stick is to be transplanted into them, or conversely, to incorporate them into the bulk of our own body.” (Merleau-Ponty 1962: 143).
Something similar happened with my horse Joy when I was younger. She was always slightly nervous in traffic, and I internalized her responses so that when I rode my bicycle
, plastic bags also scared me.
36 Ideally, I would have left all choice of participation in our household with him. It took him only a few days to start to appreciate having a house, both in terms of safety and food, so I suspect he would have chosen to live with me (at least over his former situation).
37 Small acts of violence towards dogs are completely accepted in our society: almost every day I see humans drag dogs along (with collars that almost choke them), yell at them or even hit or kick them.
For Foucault, power is not simply oppression: power produces and is mutual
; there is always the possibility of a reversal of power. This is literally true for the leash as instrument: we are both on a side exercising pressure, with the leash between us as a topic for discussion. The power relations between us are not fixed; I often follow him and use no force. The leash can of course also be a tool for oppression, depending on the human and dog and the training strategies involved.
40 The leash makes some dogs feel more confident. Small dogs often feel confident knowing their human is on the other side of the leash, something they express by barking loudly to dogs twice or three times their size.
In Olli’s profile on their website, Dierenhulp Orfa described him as a very happy dog. Much of his “happy” behavior is actually an act to try to get attention and food. When he became more relaxed, he stopped acting in the ways he previously did. He still wags his tail
, but not all the time; he can lie somewhere without watching me all the time now and I sometimes get to see a really happy face (for example when I come home with groceries) – like a smile.
45 I had just published a new novel on the topic of animal rights, so there was some attention for my work and persona in newspapers and magazines.
He makes Pika happy. He is very sweet, playful and joyful and likes to make jokes. With a joke I mean an act that is meant to amuse me or to draw my attention to something in a joyful
, playful way. Jokes are similar to games but they refer to something outside of the situation. Pika and he also make jokes together. They like to roll in the dirt and sniff each other afterwards, wagging their tail as if they give the other a high five for smelling bad. And they form a team if they want to put pressure on me to give them food.
Although Olli and Pika understood each other well from the beginning, their contact deepens. In the beginning, Olli lied next to Pika on the couch and the bed. Pika accepted this but was slightly indifferent. Later on, she also sought out his company. They often greet the other during the day
, kissing and wagging their tails. They also team up to pressure me for food.
Richard Twine identifies several “positions” that have emerged in the literature: a “moral veganism” associated with Carol Adams and Deane Curtain, among others; Val Plumwood’s semi-vegetarianism deriving from a critique of factory farming; Clair Jean Kim’s arguments for an anti-cruelty diet
; and Marti Kheel’s “invitation approach” to veganism, which denies that meat-eating is a compulsory feature of the human diet (205).