This paper looks at discourses related to animal farming in a popular South African farming magazine. The paper analyzes four ar ticles using a form of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Despite varying widely in content and style, all articles draw from the discourses of production and science; two also show a minor discourse of achievement. With further work, it is possible to discern a fourth, deeply embedded discourse: that of enslavement. This also was present in all the articles. These discourses objectify nonhuman animals and support a world-view of teleological anthropocentrism that fits well with present capitalist practices.
Nonhuman animal farming, by its fundamental nature, involves a greater or lesser degree of ill treatment and oppression. Definitions of abuse or cruelty in relation to nonhumans, however, are inconsistent and ambiguous. People support nonhuman farming by purchasing its products, but the majority of people do not themselves mistreat nonhumans. How can this incongruity be explained? Any account is likely to be complex, but work in experimental psychology has identified a number of conditions that can contribute toward individuals becoming morally disengaged from abusive acts. This paper shows that a number of these conditions are embedded in the nonhuman animal farming industry, thus providing some insight into why consumers may be disconnected from the mass abuse carried out by an industry they support. Recognizing this process can help advocates for nonhumans take steps to counter this disengagement and so allow consumers to examine their ethical choices more clearly.