Abstract

Alligators were perceived as dangerous by early settlers in Florida, and they also reflected the untamed and potentially untameable Florida wilderness. By the 20th century, alligator farms capitalized on the thrill of alligator encounters in controlled theme park experiences. Alligators are tamed in the current farm context and valued increasingly for the products that can be derived from their bodies. This anthrozoological investigation of perceptions of Florida alligators explores how farms define alligators and why visitors might accept these particular constructed images of alligators, concluding with a wider view to consider these perceptions of farmed animals in relation to the idea of the nuisance alligator. The discussion is framed by multi-species studies that rest on notions of embodiment and attentiveness, which in this case push the importance of alligator experience and agency to the foreground.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Through a series of in-depth interviews asking individuals about their decisions to adopt special-needs companion animals, we discovered that a combination of anthropomorphism and empathy are at play when individuals decide to adopt them. This tendency is explained using David Blouin’s typology of guardians: humanistic and protectionistic guardians anthropomorphized their companion animals, exhibited greater empathy, and were more willing to adopt animals with special needs.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

The aim of this pilot study was to examine the effects of different videos of an unfamiliar dog (tranquil and active) on subjective mental state measures. All participants watched two videos of an unfamiliar dog (tranquil and active). Subjective measures of stress, anxiety, alertness, attention, likeability, and cuteness were assessed. The results showed that the tranquil dog video significantly decreased anxiety only. Additionally, the active dog video significantly decreased stress and anxiety. Across the videos, the results showed the active dog video significantly improved subjective alertness and attention when compared with the tranquil dog video. Lastly, the active dog video was rated more likeable and cuter relative to the tranquil dog video. The practical implications of these findings could include how to improve various subjective mental states for humans in public settings (e.g., hospital) where nonhuman animals are not always allowed.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

This paper explores the cultural context and ecological implications of two menstrual festivals in northeastern India: Rajaparba in Orissa and Ambuvaci in Kamakhya, Assam. We argue that these festivals are extremely fruitful sites to explore questions of women and power in religious communities where the Goddess is a central focus as well as their ecological implications for an integral worldview. These festivals, usually held at the beginning of the monsoon when the Hindu Goddess menstruates, are times when the earth is regenerated, when the body of the Goddess is regenerated, and when women and communities are regenerated in various ways. Participants report that pilgrimages to these festivals are indeed transformative and have positive impacts on their lives. As a result, we critique feminist arguments that claim that Hinduism is the basis for women’s social disempowerment, and as a result, the only meaningful social change must occur on a secular basis. We also use these festivals to critique contemporary feminist developmentalist ideologies.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

I outline a new approach to the question of when civil disobedience is legitimate by drawing on insights from the epistocracy literature. I argue that civil disobedience and epistocracy are similar in the sense that they both involve the idea that superior political judgment defeats majority authority, because this can lead to correct, i.e. just, prudent or morally right, political decisions. By reflecting on the question of when superior political judgment defeats majority authority in the epistocracy case, I identify considerations that also apply to the disobedience context. I conclude that disobedience in protest of law X performed by agents who know that X is wrong is legitimate when: 1) it is not reasonably disputable that the civil dissenter knows that X is wrong 2) the adoption of X is a high-stakes political decision and 3) no destabilizing effects ensue.

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy
Author: Kevin Vallier

Democratic theorists have proposed a number of competing justifications for democratic order, but no theory has achieved a consensus. While expecting consensus may be unrealistic, I nonetheless contend that we can make progress in justifying democratic order by applying competing democratic theories to different stages of the democratic process. In particular, I argue that the selection of political officials should be governed in accord with aggregative democracy. This process should prize widespread participation, political equality, and proper preference aggregation. I then argue that the selection of public policies by political officials should be governed in accord with deliberative democracy. This process should prize high quality deliberation and political equality. A process democracy is a democracy that joins an aggregative process for selecting officials with a deliberative process for selecting policies. Democracy is justified and legitimate when it is structured in this way.

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy

Abstract

Animal assisted interventions (AAI) have seen a significant development in the last fifty years. They are based on human-animal interactions, and some scientific research is beginning to provide evidence for the benefits of these interventions. However, ethical issues, particularly from the animals’ point of view, are yet to be considered properly. This article contextualizes AAI and the ethical issues concerning the animals involved. Then it outlines the potential adaptation of the Three Rs principle (replacement, reduction, refinement) to this field, considering all aspects related to animal behavior, health, and wellbeing. The analysis of the conditions for the application is accompanied by suggestions to guide research and general practice in AAI in favor of animal welfare, including assessment of the environmental conditions and competence of the professionals involved. Finally, a fourth R, Relationship, is proposed as the distinctive R for ethical AAI practice, possibly interpreted as cooperation.

In: Society & Animals
In: Society & Animals
Author: Helen Yitah

Abstract

This paper examines rural Ghanaian children’s creative performance of play songs in the context of recent scholarship on children’s rights in children’s literature. This scholarship, which has focused mainly on written literature in western contexts, seeks to give serious literary attention to children’s creative expression and thereby uphold their rights to contribute to the artistic life and culture of their societies. Kasena children of northern Ghana exhibit creative agency in adapting traditional play songs to new situations, as they re-create and reinterpret communal idioms, imagery and symbols, thus generating new forms, new concepts and new meanings. I illustrate the aesthetic qualities and transgressive features of this phenomenon by drawing on relevant indigenous Kasem concepts about art and creative resistance. If taken seriously, this dynamic heritage of children’s poetry can help us see emerging play genres as an affirmation of children’s creativity, and prompt a redefinition of ideas about childhood.

In: Utafiti