This paper describes how language contributes to the oppression and exploitation of animals by animal product industries. Critical Discourse Analysis, a framework usually applied in countering racism and sexism, is applied to a corpus of texts taken from animal industry sources. The mass confinement and slaughter of animals in intensive farms depend on the implicit consent of the population, signaled by its willingness to buy animal products produced in this way. Ideological assumptions embedded in everyday discourse and that of the animal industries manufacture and maintain this consent. Through analysis of texts, this paper attempts to expose these assumptions and discusses implications for countering the domination and exploitation of animals.
In the past, pigs were kept near their guardians' (owners') homes, ate leftovers from their guardians' kitchens and enjoyed a generally close relationship with humans. The closeness of the relationship, combined with its ultimate end in the killing of the pig, led to a sense of shame (Leach, 1964). This shame manifested itself in negative expressions about pigs within the English language, which remain to this day. However, the relationship between humans and pigs is becoming increasingly distant, with decisions affecting pigs' lives made in the offices of agricultural industry executives far from the intensive farms on which the pigs live. The new relationship has led to the evolution of a new discourse about pigs, that of the modern pork industry. Because of its technical and scientific nature, this new discourse does not contain the explicit insults of mainstream discourse.Yet, embedded within it are a series of implicit ideological assumptions designed to justify the confinement and exploitation of pigs in high intensity farms. This paper investigates the discourses surrounding pigs in both mainstream (British) culture and the pork industry and discusses attempts to challenge these discourses.
This article explores the representation of fish in ecological discourse through analysis of the recently published Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005) synthesis report. The analysis utilizes an ecological framework based on "deep ecology" (Naess, 1990), examining how the discourse of the MA asserts or denies the intrinsic worth of fish. The discursive construction of fish is particularly relevant given the massive expansion of the aquaculture industry, which is having a negative impact on ecosystems and the fish themselves, particularly the Atlantic salmon. There are alternatives to traditional ecological discourses, such as the lyrical discourse drawn on by Rachel Carson (1962) in her description of salmon. The article concludes with a discussion of the potential of such discourses to represent reality in ways that are more comparable with the welfare of the fish and the protection of ecosystems.