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.
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.
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.
This article examines how nonhuman animals, along with land and labor, represent fictitious commodities as described by Karl Polanyi. Animals in agriculture are examined as an extreme example of animal commodification whose use resembles the exploitation of land and labor. Conceptual frameworks developed from Marxist theory, including the subsumption of nature, the second contradiction of capitalism, and alienation, are applied to illustrate how the negative impacts to animals, the environment, and public health associated with animal agriculture are caused by attempts to overcome the incomplete commodification of animals. This article illustrates how social theory can be extended to apply to animals, especially animals who are deeply embedded in human society. The inclusion of animals in social analyses also serves to strengthen our overall understanding of exploitation and oppression under capitalism.
Historical and current literature is reviewed and social psychological theory is applied to support novel theories about African Americans’ attitudes toward nonhuman animals. Due to psychological reactions stemming from their brutal U.S. history, involving shared suffering with animals, African Americans are theorized to have either negative or positive beliefs about animals. Two studies revealed the latter: that African Americans have positive attitudes toward animals overall, as measured by a new, statistically reliable Attitudes toward Animals Scale. In Study 1, African American university students’ attitudes were somewhat less positive than White students’ attitudes, but in Study 2, older African American community members’ attitudes were more positive than Whites’. This cross-study difference, however, results from less positive White attitudes in Study 2, rather than from any important difference in African Americans’ attitudes across the two samples. The results and unique theoretical framework pave the way for future research on this important issue.