Suffering Animals: Creaturely Fellowship and Its Denial

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    No one in the developed world with any access to mass media could be unaware of the conditions under which animals are treated in being raised for slaughter for meat on an industrial scale. That all this involves enormous suffering on the part of the animals concerned can hardly be denied; the facts here are not at all in dispute. That so many of us seem impervious to these facts, are so unmoved by them, is surely puzzling. Puzzling in part of course because some among us are struck, struck dumb even, in horror at the sheer magnitude of the unending yet everyday cruelty perpetrated by human beings on other animals; the kind of horror, for instance, that both wounds and isolates the writer Elizabeth Costello in John Coetzee’s The Life of Animals.

    How can these facts amount for so many other people to so little? In this chapter, I offer an explanation why. We clearly miss something concerning our moral relations with animals, but I suggest it is not a fact, specifically not the fact that they suffer. We might begin to understand this, I argue, when we consider that our moral relations with each other are not founded on the fact that we suffer.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEnvironmental and Animal Abuse Denial
    Subtitle of host publicationAverting Our Gaze
    EditorsTomaž Grušovnik, Reingard Spannring, Karen Lykke Syse
    Place of PublicationLanham, Maryland
    PublisherLexington Books
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9781793610478
    ISBN (Print)9781793610461
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Publication series

    NameEnvironment and Society


    • Animal abuse
    • Animal rights
    • moral individualism
    • animal vulnerability
    • moral disengagement


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