This paper employs fauna-criticism, as outlined below, as a unique perspective from which to (re)examine some of the major literary features of Black Beauty. From this perspective, we speculate on how the presentation of themes helps or hinders Sewell’s intended messages. In particular, this paper addresses Sewell’s use of anthropomorphism, animal advocacy, and the role of animals in human society. Though many of the specific concerns regarding the treatment of horses that are addressed in the novel are not as relevant in today’s world, such as genuine ‘horsepower’ which has been replaced by technology, the novel is rich in deeper messages and values that are far-reaching and possess continued relevance. For instance, Sewell repeatedly “acknowledges the special moral wisdom of women, children, and animals throughout the text” (Guest x), all of which have been historically devalued and underrepresented, and continue to be today. The book has many timeless and critical themes including the responsibility of citizens to speak out and demand justice. In a time of women’s movements such as two national Women’s Marches in Washington, D.C, #MeToo, and the Larry Nassar and Hollywood sexual assault scandals, lessons can still be drawn from old works like Black Beauty, lessons of solidarity, speaking out and taking a stand against unequal and exploitative power relations. Therefore, it is important to continually revisit classic works of literature through different lenses, such as fauna criticism, in order to provide different interpretations and perspectives on the continued cultural relevance of a work.
Dear Animalia readers and contributors,
Animalia is currently on a short break as we undergo some transitions in leadership and format. The editors have made the decision to return to our original goal of making Animalia a graduate student journal, which will be housed at Canisius College. In addition, we welcome a new leadership team to take the journal to the next level. We hope to re-launch stronger than ever in the coming months and will release more details as they are available. Thank you for your support over the past few years as we created and built Animalia.
Please note that “Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Fauna-criticism and Black Beauty” will be the last article we publish until the re-launch.
Jessica Austin, Co-managing Editor
Literature has been stimulating minds for centuries, as has science. This essay explores the need for both in the emerging field of anthrozoology. Anthrozoology is unique in its interdisciplinary approach to the sciences. By integrating zoology, anthropology, psychology, biology and others, this emerging field of study is examining interconnectivity in new and exciting ways. Literature and literary fiction play a large part in mental development. Literature is often a child’s first introduction to the other animals that share the planet and can act as a bridge to future animal interactions. People who read literary fiction show improved theory-of-mind and empathy scores. Reading and writing literary fiction improves mental processing. Literature can serve as a catharsis, an escape, and a mind-builder. Because of this, literature is a critically important tool in the anthrozoology toolbox.
This paper critically examines in vitro meat by the fundamental fact that it is a technological fix for problems associated with industrial meat production and a growing human population. Some issues discussed are applicable to technology in general, and others are particular to in vitro meat. Throughout the article, examples of other technological products are used to show precedence for the existence of uncertainties from technology, and thus we should also expect in vitro meat to give rise to unforeseen consequences. I take as a starting point that industrial meat production poses serious environmental and welfare concerns to both human and nonhuman animals. Further, in vitro meat is said to address all such issues with industrial meat. The literature on in vitro meat has so far been decidedly favorable on the whole, so this paper aims to balance these viewpoints by adding in a critical perspective. I end by discussing a general framework for a critical science and critical ethics that would be necessary in order to accept in vitro meat as a widespread and ethical alternative to traditional meat. If such conditions cannot be met, I argue that in vitro meat is not a responsible solution to current problems associated with meat production and consumption.
The demand for support for families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues to grow, and one increasingly popular avenue of support is the use of companion canines. Parents searching for service canines trained to work with children with ASD, however, face formidable obstacles surrounding the availability and cost of canines. Due to these challenges, parents may seek less formal routes to support their children with ASD, often adding companion canines to their family. Despite enthusiasm, little is known about human-animal bonding in children with ASD and research identifying factors that influence children on the spectrum’s ability to bond with a companion canine is meagre. Using a Family Systems approach and Bowlby’s Attachment theory, this exploratory case study sought to identify the pathways through which child-canine bonding occurs and the factors contributing to this bonding process. Families (N=6), with a child aged 5-14 years with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD and their family canine, participated in the study. Findings revealed that the child-canine bond in children with ASD can be conceptualized as an attachment relationship. Furthermore, seven themes characterizing child-canine bonding emerged. Findings highlight theoretical and applied implications within the fields of human-animal interaction (HAI) and ASD.
Anthropologists and conservationists have a long history of conflict, largely stemming from the creation of protected areas that are frequently placed on the land belonging to Indigenous communities for which anthropologists advocate. While this paper does not wish to diminish the values of either group regarding this conflict, it argues that anthropologists and conservationists actually have much to agree upon. The industrocentric paradigm, which places great value on continuous growth and profit, is increasingly degrading the land and threatening both the humans and nonhumans who sustain off of it. Not only do activities such as mining, logging, and globalized agriculture pollute waterways, decimate valuable forest habitat, and facilitate the poaching of a number of species, but they also destroy the homes and impinge upon the lifeways of various human populations who rely on the land and the species that live there for survival. Recognizing that industry is a common adversary of both humans and nonhumans opens up possibilities of bringing people together for a mutual cause.