LARGE-SCALE LIVESTOCK FARMING: Animals in the Society of Humans: Privileged and Enslaved

A series of texts NON-HUMANS, HUMANS, CLIMATE, MACHINES about large-scale livestock farming from the viewpoint of theorists, artists and activists views large-scale livestock farming as an area primarily related to ethics and animal rights, but at the same time draws attention to the fact that large-scale farming is a capitalist mechanism, and is the result of economic and power-related interests and pressures that allow and normalise slaughter on a large-scale. The texts try to identify a network of actors, agents and relationships that are involved in large-scale farming and present them as a complex problem.

The series is published in parallel with the ongoing campaign All Farm Animals Deserve to Roam Free. We call to end this inhumane practice by banning all cages for farmed animals. Cages are cruel.

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Tereza Vandrovcová is the author of the third text for the series. Her text deals with the ambivalent relationship of our society with other animal species. On one hand people show a very positive approach to animals, and do not like to see them killed, yet on the other they consume large quantities of animal products, usually industrially produced. In buying these products, they participate in the premature and violent deaths of sensile creatures, as well and contribute to an environmental threat to our planet. The existence of this contradictory relationship is made possible by a wide range of psychological and sociological mechanisms, which anyone who wishes to achieve positive change in this field should know about.

PhDr. Tereza Vandrovcová, Ph.D.  is an academic employee in the Department of Psychology at UNYP (The University of New York in Prague), where she teaches An Introduction to Sociology, Social Psychology and a course on Animals in Human Society. As a guest lecturer, she teaches An Introduction to Animal Studies in the Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Humanities at Charles University (in Prague) and in the Department of Environmental Studies at Masaryk University (in Brno). In the framework of the project, she runs seminars for people who are dependent on nicotine and the vegan server

Animals in the Society of Humans: Privileged and Enslaved

Tereza Vandrovcová

Our current society has a very ambivalent relationship with other species. On the one hand, more and more people are known to be animal lovers, and in opinion polls they state their opnion that it is very important that animals are treated well (Special Eurobarometer 442 2015), and they also usually can’t abide the idea or image of another creature suffering or being killed (Lamm et al. 2010).

On the other hand, the vast majority of these people consume a large quantity of animal products daily from large-scale, industrial livestock farms, where animals are treated as utility units rather than as individuals with their own needs (Twine 2010). Through the excessive consumption of these products, consumers participate not only in the unnecessary suffering and killing of sentient creatures (Pluhar 2010; Discanto et al. 2014), but also in an environmental threat to our entire planet (FAO 2006; Thaler et al. 2013; Scarborough et al. 2014 Springmann et al., 2016).

How do people come to terms with this blatant contradiction? What mechanisms allow the existence of a contradictory relationship in which we love one animal and kill another? Is there any way to allay this paradox and promote a more sustainable way of life and a more empathetic relationship with the other inhabitants of our planet? Contemporary social science research is trying to answer these and other questions.(…)

The whole text available in English in PDF version: