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Abstract

This article acknowledges the void in international law around the general protection of all nonhuman animals and suggests that the framework currently set out in inter- national law requires development. It will be argued that the idea of protecting certain vulnerable animals within international law be adopted and the definition of “vulnerability” be viewed in a less anthropocentric way to include groups of animals who experience vulnerability in different ways, such as companion animals who are victims of violence in the home. It will be suggested that due to the nature of domestic violence and its effects on numerous victims (women, children, and companion animals), inter- national domestic violence law must be developed to include all possible victims of domestic violence in the home who include both children and companion animals.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Neuroscientists have recently asserted that human and nonhuman animals share comparable brain structures and processes that govern cognition, emotion, and consciousness. This unitary, species-common model of trans-species neuropsychology compels a transformation from the current model of wildlife conservation to wildlife self-determination. Self-determination supports wildlife agency and resilience at the individual and population levels and is based on principles of positive assistance and supportive intervention, parallel sovereignty, and fair terms of cooperation in wildlife-human interactions. The case of Asian elephants (Elephus maximus) in Thailand illustrates how wildlife capture and domination-based captivity, even when intended to conserve animals, can impede self-determination by producing psychophysiologically traumatized wildlife. This article integrates concepts germane to individual animals (agency and trauma recovery) with characteristics of wildlife populations and species (self-determination). It contends that psychosocial data on the mental, emotional, and social functioning of wildlife societies and their members should be included in wildlife assessments and policies.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Despite the ubiquitous presence and vital role of invertebrates in all known ecological systems, insects and arachnids are largely viewed as repugnant by people. Consequently, until nature intervenes in the form of infestations, swarms or plagues, we largely prefer to ignore them, lest our attention invite unwelcome interaction. In contrast, the people of ancient Egypt did not distance themselves from invertebrates but instead celebrated their myriad forms. Egyptian appreciation of insects and arachnids is reflected in a range of art, artefacts, and texts dating from the predynastic era until the Greco-Roman period, revealing many positive cultural roles, from practical to conceptual. By assigning them a useful function, they were rendered visible and relevant to Egyptian society. The Egyptians’ example suggests that as necessity forces us to acknowledge the value of invertebrates—from their function as pollinators to becoming future food sources—our respect for them may also grow.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

While insects are eaten by around two billion people globally, they are a relatively new addition to the UK’s culinary landscape. A domestic production sector has begun to emerge to supply this new appetite for insects. Social scientists have been quick to explore consumer attitudes to “edible insects” but insect farmers have thus far been largely ignored. This paper addresses this gap by drawing on interviews with the UK’s current and recent edible insect farmers to explore their understandings of, and approaches to, insect death, something about which all participants expressed concern. The paper examines: 1) reasons for farmers’ concerns around how they kill their insects, ranging from anxieties around insect pain to perceived consumer attitudes; and 2) farmers’ ideas about what constitutes a “good” death for insects, and how they incorporate this in their practices.

In: Society & Animals
In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Wildlife tourism is often associated with charismatic megafauna in the public imagination (e.g., safaris, whale watching, bear viewing). Entomotourism (insect-focused tourism) typically is not on the radar, but each year thousands of peoples visit monarch butterfly congregations and glow worm caves, and participate in guided firefly outings. Elsewhere, millions of peoples visit butterfly pavilions, insectariums, and bee museums. Calculations of visitation numbers aside, researchers in tourism studies have largely ignored the appeal of these animals, relegating these types of activities to the recreational fringe. By highlighting the popularity of entomotourism, this article challenges the vertebrate bias prevalent in the social sciences and seeks to move entomotourism from the margins to the mainstream of research on tourism in human/animal studies.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

A hermit crab housed in a broken glass bottle or inside a plastic cap is becoming like a polar bear stranded on a tiny, melting iceberg: those pictures are emergent icons of the plight faced by oceans and creatures, caused by human waste excesses and wrongdoings. These inventive crustaceans fulfill a warning role akin to charismatic megafauna, and induce empathy with varied sources, dominated by human projections like the housing crisis metaphor. Crabs emerge like a cluster where many opposed notions collapse, while they stage the frictions of a complex, fractured balance. They are wild animals, and controversial companion animals, and when they live inside human trash, they show resilience that questions the natural-artificial divide. Simultaneously, they remind humans of strains imposed upon them, the oceans, and the planet, becoming tokens of the unbalances with which humans have to deal in their often-misguided attempts to fix the things they are rupturing.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

The field of Human-Animal Studies (HAS) is about human-animal relations. However, which nonhuman animals does the field encompass? In recent years, some scholars have noted a bias towards vertebrate species, especially domesticated mammals. To assess how prevalent (or not) invertebrates have been in HAS scholarship, a three-stage scoping study was conducted of two pioneering journals in the field: Anthrozoös and Society & Animals. This article reports on preliminary findings and confirms that human-animal scholarship, as presented in these two leading journals, is characterized by “institutional vertebratism,” albeit the extent of this invertebrate knowledge gap needs to be fully assessed. If the next generation of HAS scholars are to comprehend the extensive range of interspecies contexts, they must be more inclusive in terms of the diversity of animal species studied. Widening the species net is therefore a necessary corrective to address vertebrate bias in this field.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

This essay introduces the rationale for and the contributions to the special issue The Silent Majority: Invertebrates in Human-Animal Studies.

In: Society & Animals