What Can a Farm Animal Biography Accomplish? The Case of Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf

In: Society & Animals
Author: Ariel Tsovel
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Abstract

Agricultural reports and guides, nonhuman animal welfare studies, and animal rights reports attempt to document and convey the condition of nonhuman animals in agriculture. These disciplines tend to resist a prolonged and methodically versatile examination of individual animals. In his pioneer work, Lovenheim (2002), The author produced such a biographical documentation of calves in the dairy and meat industries. He provided an exceptionally prolonged and detailed tracing of their lives as individuals, establishing an emotional attachment in both documenter and reader. Yet, sentiments for the farmers, typical urban conceptions of communication with nonhuman animals, and difficulties in obtaining the relevant information limit Lovenheim's success and imply similar difficulties in other cases.

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