Suffering Animals: Creaturely Fellowship and Its Denial

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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
ISBN (Electronic)9781793610478
ISBN (Print)9781793610461
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameEnvironment and Society


  • Nature / Animal Rights
  • Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
  • Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy

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