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Loving Animals

Loving Animals: Toward a New Animal Advocacy

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 288
  • Book Info
    Loving Animals
    Book Description:

    The contemporary animal rights movement encompasses a wide range of sometimes-competing agendas from vegetarianism to animal liberation. For people for whom pets are family members-animal lovers outside the fray-extremist positions in which all human-animal interaction is suspect often discourage involvement in the movement to end cruelty to other beings. InLoving Animals, Kathy Rudy argues that in order to achieve such goals as ending animal testing and factory farming, activists need to be better attuned to the profound emotional, even spiritual, attachment that many people have with the animals in their lives.

    Offering an alternative to both the acceptance of animal exploitation and radical animal liberation, Rudy shows that a deeper understanding of the nature of our feelings for and about animals can redefine the human-animal relationship in a positive way. Through extended interviews with people whose lives are intertwined with animals, analysis of the cultural representation of animals, and engaging personal accounts, she explores five realms in which humans use animals: as pets, for food, in entertainment, in scientific research, and for clothing. In each case she presents new methods of animal advocacy to reach a more balanced and sustainable relationship association built on reciprocity and connection.

    Using this intense emotional bond as her foundation, Rudy suggests that the nearly universal stories we tell of living with and loving animals will both broaden the support for animal advocacy and inspire the societal changes that will improve the lives of animals-and humans-everywhere.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7880-8
    Subjects: Philosophy, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xxii)

    The world of “animal rights” in the first part of the twenty-first century is busy, perplexing, and extremely uneven. Sometimes, people who call themselves animal rights activists simply mean they don’t eat meat or wear leather; sometimes they eat fish, cheese, or eggs, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, these activists break into scientific research labs and steal animals used in experiments. Sometimes they kill animals in “shelters.” Sometimes, the term animal rights refers to people who rescue injured wildlife for rehabilitation and release them back into the wild. Sometimes it means people who run permanent sanctuaries for retired entertainment animals...

    (pp. 1-28)

    It’s important to understand the abstract ethical theories that underpin any social movement because those theories form a foundation for the various directions a movement takes. The easiest way to see this is in retrospect with other social movements, movements that are perhaps more self-reflective about their foundations than animal rights is today. The women’s movement, for example, spent many years debating different strategies for the eradication of sexism. Some feminists sought equality and worked for change within existing political and economic structures; other feminists sought ways to celebrate women’s differences and focused on cultural changes to valorize women and...

  5. TWO THE LOVE OF A DOG Of Pets and Puppy Mills, Mixed Breeds and Shelters
    (pp. 29-72)

    Perhaps the most heartbreaking arena of animal exploitation is the way we treat unwanted pets. Puppy mill dogs born and raised in conditions of unspeakable filth, unwanted dogs and cats at a pound killed in makeshift gas chambers and stacked like cordwood, strays on the street used as target practice, captured pets—dead and alive—loaded into dumpsters to be crushed, faithful pets abandoned for poor or no reasons. Most of the millions of pets killed each year are perfectly healthy and don’t need to die. We just don’t want them. So we kill them and throw them away with...

  6. THREE THE ANIMAL ON YOUR PLATE Farmers, Vegans, and Locavores
    (pp. 73-110)

    If the world of pets is perhaps the most heart breaking aspect of the way we treat animals, the world of meat, eggs, and dairy products is without question the largest and most horrifying. The vast majority of our animal products come from “factory farms” or CAFOs (confined or concentrated animal feeding operations): these industrial operations house our food animals in automated cages, tin sheds, and feedlots where animals are packed in at astounding rates. They never once get to walk in the sunshine and smell the clean air and kiss and cuddle their mates or children. As a result...

  7. FOUR WHERE THE WILD THINGS OUGHT TO BE Sanctuaries, Zoos, and Exotic Pets
    (pp. 111-152)

    Throughout this book, i have argued that animal advocacy can and should be expanded to embrace affective realms. In some ways, as I’ve suggested, practices are already emerging today that can be seen as examples or illustrations of this new orientation. These include the recent rise in money and time spent with companion animals, as well as the movement to return animals to free-range living on small farms. I have argued that the intense power of love for other animals, whether dog or pig or cat or cow, can be used to expand our ethical thinking about animals. Using the...

  8. FIVE FROM OBJECT TO SUBJECT Animals in Scientific Research
    (pp. 153-186)

    Nowhere is the debate about human use of animals more incoherent than in the domain of invasive somatic research on animals, also known as vivisection. Scientific researchers and their advocates claim that using live animals in experiments is absolutely necessary to the advancement of science, that without animals, we would not have developed vaccines, antibiotics, and almost all the drugs and products on the market today. Without animals, they say, research and development in medical science would come to a complete halt.¹ Animal rights activists disagree. Some argue that we actually learn very little from experimenting invasively on animals; indeed,...

    (pp. 187-204)

    The fifth and final way we humans use animals to enhance our lives is through clothing. Debates rage between abolitionists, utilitarians, and welfarists on questions of fur, leather, and wool; animal products are also used in the production of lotions, perfumes, and hair-care products. For the most part, positions taken up by various stakeholders mirror the arguments made elsewhere about the human use of animals. While orthodox animal rights proponents often wear no leather, wool, or fur, and work hard to avoid not only products that use animals but also ones tested on animals, utilitarians and welfarists often take more...

    (pp. 205-216)

    I’ve told lots of stories in this book because i believe affective connection is the basis for mass change, and because those connections are often best displayed through narratives. Just as I was finishing this book, an event at my house drove home the critical importance of “being with” animals in a way that is based on affect. So let me end this book with one more true and heartfelt story. It illustrates well, I think, why paying attention to affect is so necessary.

    It happened Easter weekend 2009. My next-door neighbor and I often host “Dog Park” and open...

    (pp. 217-218)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 219-232)
    (pp. 233-246)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 247-260)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 261-261)