Philosophy > General AR Philosophy
Critical Theory and Animal Liberation

United Poultry Concerns
23 May 2011
Critical Theory and Animal Liberation

Edited by John Sanbonmatsu
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011
Cover Art: Factory Pharm by Sue Coe

Review by Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns

I first met John Sanbonmatsu, a professor of philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, at a 2007 conference on animals at Brock University, in Ontario Canada, where we were both speakers. John urged me to develop my talk, "Procrustean Solutions to Animal Identity Problems,"* into the essay which, following his masterful Introduction, leads off this volume of critical inquiries into the social and psychological bases of humanity's relationship to nonhuman animals and the natural world.

Contributors examine how our hidden, institutionalized violence to animals, epitomized by industrial farming and laboratory experimentation, coexists with spectacles of human-caused suffering, degradation and destruction of animals in "visible but not seen" forms, such as circuses and road kill. A theme throughout is the conflict in human life between a desire for "absolute mastery" over animals versus "a deep, primary disposition of sympathy" for animals. Thus far, the desire for mastery has outstripped the disposition of sympathy to such a degree that the driving forces of modern life and their psychological underpinnings are inflicting unprecedented terror and violence on animals across the earth.

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*See Chapter 5, "Procrustean Solutions," in my book The Holocaust and the
Henmaid's Tale.

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