Animal Studies Bibliography

Palmer, C. Eddie and Craig J. Forsyth. 1992. Animals, attitudes and anthropomorphic sentiment: The social construction of meat and fur in postindustrial society. International Review of Modern Sociology 22: 29-44.

The human preoccupation with the relationship between humans and animals is evidenced by the long history of animal protection efforts as well as the long history of organizations promoting and practicing various used of animals. There has been a recent growth in concern over animals' welfare, including advocacy of animal rights. Jasper & Nelkin (1992) argue that this can be connected to a rise in sentimental anthropomorphism: for most of history, people had two types of connections with animals--instrumental (animals used for food, etc.) and sentimental (companion animals, etc.). With industrialization and urbanization, however, people are separated from the instrumental uses of animals, as the production of our food, clothing, and other animal products occurs on a backstage we are unaware of, and only a frontstage of sentimental attachment to animals remains. These feelings are reinforced by the prominence of animal images in popular culture and consumer products. An awareness of the frontstage- backstage differences has caused dissonance among many people who then advocate animal rights causes. As explained by a key informant in this project, this move has been assisted by the past few decades' emphasis on extending social justice and civil rights (and the sense that animals are the next group to which rights should be extended), a sense among activists of frustration at the inability to help the disadvantaged (and the sense that a new area, animal rights, may be a place where real change can be fostered), an increased feminizing of public discourse and concerns (which allows for the concern over nurturing animals rather than using them), and the increase in concern over health and protecting the environment (which can be connected to animal rights goals of vegetarianism and the general goal of leaving animals alone in their natural habitats). Animal rights is not only connected to industrialism, but also to post-industrialism, a state in which the emphasis on producing technology and knowledge means that most people have no connection to the food chain because they do not work in food production or manufacturing. A content analysis of the Vegetarian Times from 1980-1990 shows an increasing acceptance of animal rights concerns. This trajectory suggests a potentially very large base of support for the movement, if people follow a pattern of health consciousness, to lowering meat consumption, to total vegetarianism, to support for animal rights. A questionnaire distributed at an animal rights meeting on a college campus, led by a college prof. known as an activists, shows that there is agreement among activists on the fact that more should be done to promote animal welfare and rights, but there is also disagreement on tactics, behavioral modification, and the like. 16 Rs (10 male, 6 female), ages 18-54 (x=25.5), most never married, 15 white and 1 Asian, 11 w/ BA, 2 undergrads, and 3 w/ grad degree, filled out the questionnaire. Large majorities (75% or more) believed that humane treatment of animals is important, that animals are not acceptable sources of clothing, that animals should not be used in medical or scientific research, that it is okay to keep animals as pets, that boycotts and lab break-ins are acceptable protest tactics, that anti-gun regulation was desirable, that environmentalism was good, that slaughter of animals for human consumption was a violation of animals' rights, and that specific trends could be seen in animal rights (e.g. greater public awareness, public changes in willingness to wear fur, etc.). There was more of a split on other issues. 44% were willing to be arrested for animal rights without hesitation, while 50% were only willing under certain circumstances, and 6% (1 R) was not willing. 50% were vegetarians, and 50% were not. Of 15 responses about veganism, only 20% were vegan. 31% though one must be vegetarian to support animal rights, 44% did not, and 25% (4 Rs) were undecided. The ARM aims to produce a new construction of the meaning of animals and animal use in our society. While there has been backlash, there has also been important change affected by this activism.


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