This paper has five parts. These parts seek to accomplish two tasks—first, address the expanding studies known variously as “Animal Studies,” “Anthrozoology” and a host of other names, and, second, explore how these fields stand in relation to the popular term “animal rights.” Exploring these tasks pushes all of us to engage which dimensions of our human lives must be mobilized to engage the profoundly important fact that each and every human lives in a multispecies world that is well described as a “more-than-human world.” Our citizenship in such a multispecies world not only suggests the possibility of non-anthropocentric worldviews—our awareness of this larger community also begs a broader, more inclusive perspective than the human-centered and exceptionalist approaches that dominate our education establishment, political realms, legal systems, businesses and many religious institutions. What further begs such breadth and inclusion is the fact that personally, ecologically and thus ethically each of us lives in a fascinating and distinctive series of nested communities replete with other-than-human neighbors. Our local lives and places are embedded in a world that is so clearly shared and more-than-human that our natural abilities to be curious and caring are sparked by the mere presence of nonhuman living beings. We are creatures that need to notice this spark, then protect and ignite it, in order to ground our own personal moral and cognitive development and that of our children.
In the last decade, research evidence has increasingly demonstrated a co-occurrence of human interpersonal violence and abusive behaviour toward nonhuman animals although the actual nature of this intersection continues to remain controversial. While livestock and wildlife can also become victims, more often the abuse is directed at a family pet whose ‘owners’ view them as members of the family, forming strong emotional attachments with them and grieving their loss when they die. Whether we view animal abuse as a harbinger or a red flag, a discussion about the protection of other animals from abuse must include a critical examination of how to identify and assess situations in which they are vulnerable to neglect or violence. Intervention can be facilitated through cross-sector reporting between agencies whose professionals routinely encounter animal abuse that accompanies other forms of violence. Such a dialogue must also include a review of public policy and legislation that seeks to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, both human and nonhuman.
Over the past several decades, there has been a continued documented decline of species in their native lands and habitats, as well as captive settings. Primary causes for the continued decline, and decimation, of these species can be attributed to human activity. Accredited zoos and conservation organizations are participating in, and developing, programs to protect these species. Recently, a change in legislation enforcement of the Endangered Species Act has created a heated debate over the role of commerce in conservation. Private ranch owners are now fighting to protect their rights and property. This article will explore the facts, emotions, and the public opinion that surrounds the attempt to save a few select species of antelope from the brink of extinction, as well as the methods employed by the various individuals and organizations attempting to save them.
Science Fiction texts are in a unique position to explore human/animal relationships and explore the transformative power of such relationships. There has been a call from within the scholarship community to address this power and focus on animal studies within science fiction. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller and The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut are concerned with human/animal relationships and the important power within these relationships. Both texts provide an avenue for exploring human and animal identity, and suggest ways that these identities can be reshaped. It is through human relationships to animals that an increased capacity for compassion can be found and fostered.
In a time that predated Descartes’ axiomatic division of soul and body (human and animal) in what is known as “Cartesian dualism,” Shakespeare’s early modern London was a space replete with human/animal entanglement. This essay explores the conceptual and physical spaces where this entanglement occurs both on and off the Shakespearean stage–from Aristotelian views on the soul and the “Great Chain of Beings,” to bear baiting (a spectacle that competed with the theaters for an audience) and animals appearing on the theatrical stage (including the human ones)–threading cultural and historical co-texts through the plays in order to reveal the entangled nature of human/ animal relations in Shakespearean drama. The essay is divided into three parts, beginning with a look at how early moderns thought about human and animal identities, then looking at various places were humans and animals engaged with each other in early modern London, followed by a close reading of King Lear informed by Foucault’s Madness and Civilization and Derrida’s The Beast and the Sovereign.
Welcome to Animalia: An Anthrozoology Journal. This project has been in the making since 2011, the first year of my Master of Science program in Anthrozoology at Canisius College. Thanks to the efforts of a handful of dedicated individuals and talented scholars, we now have several articles available for your perusal, and we hope you find them educational and valuable.