Animal Studies Bibliography
Davis, Karen. 1988. Farm animals and the feminine connection. The Animals' Agenda 8(1): 38- 39.
Many thinkers have made the connection between the treatment of animals and the treatment of women and minorities. This formulation, however, does not account for the fact that while some animals are abused and looked down upon, men have also revered and sought to emulate certain animals. The more proper analogy is between women/minorities and farm animals. Both these groups represent domesticity, tameness, and docility, traits that our culture puts down. The male ethic governing Western culture values instead what is wild and untamed. We can see this bias in the kinds of animals that are considered similar to humans--they are always animals seen in the wild, viewed with this masculine ethic, and are never animals revered because they have good feminine qualities. The chances of farm animals being saved from the abuses they face is made more remote by the fact that even the animal rights community considers them a low priority. Even within the movement, then, the cultural biases remain strong. This oversight leaves the public with the impression that farm animals and meat eating are not problematic, since the animal rights people don't seem to care about them. It is all the more important to recognize the farm animal issue now when deep ecology is gaining prestige. Deep ecology has its good aspects, like recognizing value in all of the environment, sentient or not, and using a holistic approach. Deep ecology, however, is infused with a macho mystique (39) that values this natural and wild (i.e. not farm animals/women/minorities) ethic as well as hunting, fishing, and meat-eating done in the spirit of participation in nature (i.e. following Aldo Leopold). This approach is dangerous to the goal of animal rights, and one important way to fight it would be to put farm animals and our abuse of them at the forefront of the animal rights agenda.