This paper explores a philosophical praxis of paying attention, and the importance of bodily comportment, in human-animal interactions. It traces some of the beginnings of the notion of attentiveness as it has arisen in contemporary Western environmental and animal ethics, and its further development into both a philosophical approach and actual practice as a kind of interspecies etiquette. It is informed by the kinds of comportments of openness and responsivity found in diverse examples of practical phenomenology. Through a wide-ranging interdisciplinary (...) discussion, I suggest that a praxis of attentiveness can inspire practical applications of ethical interactions between species. (shrink)
Research at the intersections of feminism, biology and philosophy provides dynamic starting grounds for this discussion of genetic technologies and animals. With a focus on animal bodies, I will examine moral implications of the genetic engineering of “domesticated” animals—primarily pigs and chickens—for the purposes of human consumption. Concepts of natural and artificial, contamination and purity, integrity and fragmentation and mind and body will feature in the discussion. In this respect, Margaret Atwood’s novel, Oryx and Crake, serves as a cogent medium (...) for exploring these highly contentious practices and ideas as it provides hypothetical narratives of possibility. Moreover, it is used to highlight contemporary hegemonic assumptions and values in ways that make them visible. Particular attention is paid to issues of growing human organs in pigs for xenotransplantation (resulting, for Atwood, in “pigoons”) and the ultimate end of the intensive factory farming of chickens through the genetic engineering of ‘mindless’ chicken tumours (or, as Atwood calls them, “ChickieNobs”). Integral to these philosophical considerations is the provocative question of the genetic modification of animal bodies as a means to end the suffering of domestic food animals. The ultimate implications of this question include an ongoing sensory and moral deprivation of human experience, potentially resulting in a future mechanomophosis, the extreme manifestation of an existing mechanomorphism. (shrink)
Metamorphoses of the Zoo marshals a unique compendium of critical interventions that envision novel modes of authentic encounter that cultivate humanity's biophilic tendencies without abusing or degrading other animals. These take the form of radical restructurings of what were formerly zoos or map out entirely new, post-zoo sites or experiences. The result is a volume that contributes to moral progress on the inter-species front and eco-psychological health for a humankind whose habitats are now mostly citified or urbanizing.
The places where humans meet other animals matter. This is especially true when considering encounters with animals in captivity. Myriad factors come into play in these instances, not the least of which involve the physical structures of each place and the kinds of organized activities that are offered, encouraged or discouraged there. Motivated by a strong desire to get up close to a dolphin, many people seek out tourism activities offering opportunities to "swim with dolphins." But what is the nature (...) of these swim-with-dolphin programs and how are they actually experienced by participants? If people are seeking genuine, spontaneous contact with a dolphin, does the place and activity of encounter make a .. (shrink)