Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies

A Historical Collection

by Anthony J. Nocella II (Volume editor) Amber E. George (Volume editor)
©2019 Textbook XXII, 318 Pages


Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection represents the very best that the internationally scholarly Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS) has published in terms of articles that are written by public critical scholar-activists-organizers for public critical scholar-activists-organizers. This move toward publishing pieces about engaging social change, rather than high-theoretical detached analysis of nonhuman animals in society, is to regain focus for liberation at all costs. The essays in this collection focus on intersectionality scholarship within the realm of Critical Animal Studies, and discuss issues related to race, gender, disability, class, and queerness. Not only are these articles historically significant within the field of Critical Animal Studies, but they are integral to the overall social justice movement. Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection should be read by anyone interested in the Critical Animal Studies field, as we consider them to be classic writings that should be respected as foundational texts. There are many interesting and innovative texts, but these are historical, not only because they were published in JCAS, but because they were among the first to publish on a particular intersectional issue.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Advance Praise For Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Foreword (Sarat Colling)
  • Preface—Critical Animal Studies: Tracing Historical Lines in the Sand (Richard J. White)
  • Introduction: Respecting the Past, while Defending the Future of Critical Animal Studies (Amber E. George / Anthony J. Nocella II)
  • Part I: Queerness
  • Chapter One: The Love Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken: Queering the Human–Animal Bond (Carmen Dell’Aversano)
  • Chapter Two: From Beastly Perversions to the Zoological Closet: Animals, Nature, and Homosex (Jovian Parry)
  • Chapter Three: A Queer Vegan Manifesto (Rasmus Rahbek Simonsen)
  • Part II: Disability
  • Chapter Four: From Marginal Cases to Linked Oppressions: Reframing the Conflict between the Autistic Pride and Animal Rights Movements (Daniel Salomon)
  • Chapter Five: Intersectionality and the Nonhuman Disabled Body: Challenging the Neocapitalist Techno-scientific Reproduction of Ableism and Speciesism (Zachary Richter)
  • Chapter Six: Animal Crips (Sunaura Taylor)
  • Part III: Class
  • Chapter Seven: Doing Time in Slaughterhouses: A Green Criminological Commentary on Slaughterhouse Work Programs for Prison Inmates (Amy J. Fitzgerald)
  • Chapter Eight: Getting Their Hands Dirty: Raccoons, Freegans, and Urban “Trash” (Lauren Corman)
  • Part IV: Race
  • Chapter Nine: The Subhuman as a Cultural Agent of Violence (Maneesha Deckha)
  • Chapter Ten: Animal Advocates for Prison and Slave Abolition: A Transformative Justice Approach to Movement Politics for an End to Racism (Anthony J. Nocella II)
  • Part V: Gender
  • Chapter Eleven: “Most Farmers Prefer Blondes”: The Dynamics of Anthroparchy in Animals Becoming Meat (Erika Cudworth)
  • Chapter Twelve: Home Is Where the Food Is: Barriers to Vegetarianism and Veganism in the Domestic Sphere (Kathryn Asher / Elizabeth Cherry)
  • Chapter Thirteen: Feminism and Husbandry: Drawing the Fine Line between Mine and Bovine (Carmen M. Cusack)
  • Part VI: Decolonizing
  • Chapter Fourteen: Ecological Indigenous Foodways and the Healing of All Our Relations (Claudia Serrato)
  • Chapter Fifteen: “Where Is the Seat for the Buffalo?”: Placing Nonhuman Animals in the Idle No More Movement (Adam J. Fix)
  • Chapter Sixteen: Yoruba Ethico-cultural Perspectives and Understanding of Animal Ethics (A. O. Owoseni / I. O. Olatoye)
  • Contributors
  • Index
  • Series Index

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Amber and Anthony would like to thank all the contributors of this book Carmen Dell’Aversano, Jovian Parry, Rasmus Rahbek Simonsen, Daniel Salomon, Zach Richter, Sunaura Taylor, Amy J. Fitzgerald, Lauren Corman, Maneesha Dechha, Erika Cudworth, Kathryn Asher, Elizabeth Cherry, Carmen Cusack, Claudia Serrato, Adam J. Fix, and A. O. Owoseni. We would like to thank everyone with the amazing and outstanding Peter Lang Publishing, especially Sarah, Tim, Chris, and Sophie. We would also like to thank Sarat Colling for her Foreword and Richard J. White for writing the Preface and their dedication to helping develop and defend the field of critical animal studies. Without her support and involvement in the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS), it would not be where it is today. We would also like to thank the ICAS and everyone with and supportive of ICAS—Lara Drew, Carolyn Drew, John Lupinacci, Ian Purdy, Carol Mendoza, Richard White, Erik Juergensmeyer, Judy K. C. Bentley, Janet Duncan, Mecke Nagel, Peter McLaren, Sinem Ketenci, JL Schatz, Scott Hurley, Helena Pedersen, Vasile Stănescu, Stephanie Eccles, Kaden Maguire, Mara Pfeffer, Jess Ison, Les Mitchell, Aragorn Eloff, John Sorenson, John Alessio, Julie Andrzejewski, Sarah Smith, Colleen Mollentze, Luis Cordeiro-Rodrigues, Andrea Marais-Potgieter, Jörg Hartmann, Carlos García, Daniela Romero Waldorn, Alexandra Navarro, María Marta Andreatta, Gabriela Anahí González, Cassiana Lopes Stephan, Eduardo Rincón Higuer, Iván Darío Ávila Gaitán, Fernando Bottom, Colin ← xi | xii → Salter, Samuel León Martínez, Ariadna Beiroz, Andrea Padilla Villarraga, Carlos Andrés Moreno Urán, Bogna Konior, Sara Tsui, rocky Schwartz, Daniel Frank, and Terry Hurtado. We would also like to thank Save the Kids, Poetry Behind the Walls, Wisdom Behind the Walls, Institute for Hip Hop Activism, Outdoor Empowerment, Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice Journal, Green Theory and Praxis Journal, Total Liberation Working Group at Northern Arizona University, Eco-ability Collective, National Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth, Arissa Media Group, and POPS Movement. We would also like to thank most importantly our friends and families.

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In the spring of 2011, students, professors, and community members met at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, for the 10th Annual North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies (CAS). The conference, “Thinking About Animals,” was cohosted by the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) and Brock’s Department of Sociology. Conference participants covered a wide array of topics through panels and presentations that discussed the links between human and animal oppression/liberation, gender and meat consumption, postcolonial studies, animal liberation theory, abolitionist history, social attitudes and prejudice, veganism, and activist repression. There were also those focused entirely on vivisection, farmed animals, or the plight of one species such as elephants. I recall hearing the welcoming address given by Dr. John Sorenson, the founder of the concentration in CAS offered at Brock University, in which he included a statement from Animal Liberation Front (ALF) founder, Ronnie Lee. CAS is a continuation of early radical movements for animal liberation such as the ALF, which like CAS is grounded in anarchism and supports direct action. The framing of the conference using ALF philosophy signaled that despite corporations and governments labeling those who pursue direct action against animal enterprises as “terrorists,” CAS will resist being panopticized. Dr. Sorenson’s welcoming address was followed by a discussion on “Capitalism and Exploitation” in relation to animals, during which an audience member raised the question: How can those working on ← xiii | xiv → the streets put these ideas into practice? It was determined that these were key issues the conference would address. Like so many CAS conferences that came before it, this conference welcomed presentations that engaged both theory into practice and non-hierarchical grassroots organizing. Furthermore, the overall format of the event was designed to build these bridges by including an activist component—a protest against the Canadian seal hunt—and by welcoming advocacy groups to participate. The organizers welcomed various local, national, and international animal advocacy groups to set up tables throughout the conference space.

This scholar-activist approach is what CAS and the ICAS is founded upon. ICAS, which was formed at the dawn of the 21st century, is an entirely volunteer scholar-activist organization that supports collective liberation and radical animal/earth activism from a fully engaged intersectional praxis. I was first introduced to CAS by reading the anthology, Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (2008). Edited by ICAS founders, the book uses activist and academic stories to critique the unjust targeting of animal activists by the US government and, in the tradition of non-violent direct action, to tell the stories of individuals risking their own freedom to liberate animals. It was after reading this text that I began working with ICAS, from 2009 to 2012, while attending Brock University. My experience at the Brock university conference as an organizer and presenter was highly formative in shaping my future involvement with CAS. My own presentation, “A Transnational Feminist Critique of the U.S. Slaughterhouse System,” discussed how both the animals killed in slaughterhouses and the undocumented migrant workers, mostly from Mexico, employed in the industry are highly exploited by animal agribusiness and relegated to the margins of society; they are viewed as outsiders and unlawful intruders due to racism and speciesism. The presentation included a slide of a cow, eventually named Molly, who had escaped from a slaughterhouse and ran through an urban neighborhood. Showing the complexity of human–animal encounters, Molly was removed as an unlawful intruder from the community into which she fled, but also invoked public affection as people demanded that she be spared from slaughter. Within this conference space and CAS as a whole, I found a home for my interests in the decolonial politics of transnational and postcolonial feminism, politics of race and culture, and narratives about animals’ agency and resistance

In today’s sociopolitical climate, issues facing the subjects of undocumented immigration, international trade, and migrant work have come to focus due to President Donald Trump’s atrocious actions. One of the central pillars of Trump’s presidential campaign, indeed perhaps his most famous campaign proposal, was to build “the wall” or the border along the southern United States–Mexico border. What is rarely mentioned is how this wall would not only negatively affect humans, forcing ← xiv | xv → them to cross the border through some of the most dangerous deserts in the world, but also other animals who balance their lives on both sides of the border. The existing wall which extends from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas into Arizona is already detrimental to animals, many of whom are endangered species. By fragmenting their habitats and inhibiting their movements, expansion of the wall would put further stress on species who live along and move across the border. Species such as the arroyo toad, Pacific pond turtle, bobcat, and the black-spotted newt would find it harder to survive. The barrier would interrupt the movements of bighorn sheep, ferruginous pygmy-owl, and roadrunner. It would destroy thick vegetative cover that animals such as the California red-legged frog, ocelot, and jaguarondi use to hide, and would divide their populations. Small populations of large animals such as pumas and black bears would become isolated, and the splitting of their population would cause reduced gene exchange and higher disease vulnerability. As temperatures warm due to climate change, some Northern migrations would also be obstructed. Thus, the wall is stopping the flow of human and nonhuman climate refugees who are fleeing due to a crises mostly created by the people in the global north.

Attention to the human and nonhuman agency and resistance to such barriers, however formidable, whether through escape, transgression, organizing, protest, strikes, or resistance narratives, is an important part of CAS. A CAS framework advocates for both the deconstruction of the human/animal divide rooted in dualistic Cartesian thought and the animals’ own destruction and transgressions of material borders. Crossings that represent potent moments of resistance are witnessed, for instance, when animals break through gates, jump over fences, leap from trailers, swim across rivers, and run through the streets, fields, and forests. Humans are used to learning about similar transgressions, as throughout history, humans who faced oppression and captivity have shared their stories as a form of revolt. For instance, some former US slaves who escaped plantations and shared their stories agitated against the institution of slavery because they showed that those held captive were discontent and doing something about it. The same goes for those escaping contemporary institutions of slavery, for example, the prison–industrial complex or other forms of slavery such as child slavery in the cocoa industry. Likewise, stories of animal escapees challenge the idea that animals are content with their circumstances, undermine taken-for-granted systems of domination and supremacy, and legitimize the efforts of animal activists. In a society where literacy is a tool of human civilization, those who have the privilege of access can self-reflexively listen to and narrate the stories of human and nonhuman resistors.

ICAS has long recognized the value of ideas from those at the margins. The critical and engaging essays in this book will appeal beyond the narrow realm of academia to a larger audience. In the past decade, there has been an increase in ← xv | xvi → publications, scholars, and events identifying with the field. ICAS continues to host conferences around the world and now has chapters on nearly every continent. Highlighting the intersectional grounding of CAS Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection offers a diverse array of topics and uncompromising perspectives that have contributed to the field over time. The chapters encompass articles that discuss queerness, disability, class, race, gender, and decolonization in relation to human–animal relationships and animals’ lived experiences. The centrality of intersectionality and alliances of CAS contribute to the perfect storm that Angela Davis (1974) speaks of, which can only arise from a collective struggle, for, “All our separate movements—political prisoners, welfare rights, national liberation, labor, women, antiwar—might generate storms here and there. But only a mighty union of them all could beget the great hurricane to topple the whole edifice of injustice” (p. 382). As this historic volume shows, building compassionate relationships between humans and other animals is a powerful anecdote to ever-growing social, environmental, and economic concerns.


Davis, A. (1974). Angela Davis: An autobiography. New York, NY: Random House.

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Critical Animal Studies: Tracing Historical Lines in the Sand



I am delighted to have been invited to write the Preface for this tremendous collection of essays, each capturing the tremendous spirit and vision of critical animal scholarship. When first rereading these essays, for many are familiar from my time as editor-in-chief of the Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS) (2009–2012), what struck me initially was the feeling that these essays haven’t aged at all. With no awareness of their history, it would have been of little surprise to me if they were being published as part of an entirely new collection. However, given their designated status as “A Historical Collection” an alternative, and more nuanced thought came into mind.

It has been over a decade now since a few visionary scholars, faced by the ever-expanding deserts of mainstream animal studies, drew lines in the sand that were to animate and embody the critical animal studies scholarship that we celebrate today. The impulse to draw these lines, it seems to me, was a culmination of many things, but (perhaps) by two interconnected desires in particular.

The first was a desire to lay down a marker: to draw militant “lines-against,” that refused and rejected the pretentious academic posturing that came with large swathes of animal studies scholarship. This was a scholarship which had wholly failed: (i) to engage with the serious ethical, social, and political issues necessary to challenge the human violence, abuse, and suffering that informed the lived experiences of billions of nonhuman animals; (ii) to address the structural genocide ← xvii | xviii → of capitalism through its commodification and destruction of life; (iii) to create meaningful intersectional dialogue and communication with other activist movements; and indeed (iv) had proffered a liberal de facto condemnation of any forms of protest and resistance that were considered illegal or militant forms.

The second desire was an affirmation of care and solidarity: “lines-for.” Outlining an explicit space for critical animal studies offered refuge and sanctuary for those who found themselves, their research and their vegan praxis, actively alienated from their own departments, disciplines, and communities. What emerged from these spaces was marvelous: new constellations of dynamic empowered/ing relationships, which led to the flourishing of exciting, uncompromising, and ultimately critical scholarly-activist research. Gaining in momentum and visibility over time, these have collectively pushed boundaries of knowledge and understanding of the animal condition in new directions: and always in the face of hostility and struggles from within and beyond academia, in ways that continue to inform and inspire an intersectional politics of total liberation into consciousness. In this respect the presence of a dedicated JCAS has been immense. JCAS has been a vital supporter of, and defender for, critical animal scholarship. The focus on queerness, disability, class, race, gender, and decolonizing selected to help structure this collection is a wonderful testament to this.

It seems to be that the fierce desire to always be alive to—and have something meaningful to say about—the intersectional crises of the time has meant that the lines drawn around a critical animal studies praxis are no longer defined firstly by “being against” something (i.e., its relationship to other forms of animal studies). Rather it is “being for” something: standing in solidarity with the broader activist and public communities that are positioned at the critical/ radical edge of total liberation; individuals and communities that define its presence, and give voice to those who are our—the world’s—best hope in the struggle against violence, domination, and exploitation in all its malevolent forms.

A decade ago the challenge for critical animal studies was to make unique and important inventions in broader animal studies, one laden with the hope of moving it away from sterility toward political and ethical relevance. In many ways this challenge is one we need to grasp and pursue in the present moment: as such I’d encourage you all not to read these essays historically: as straitjacketed by reference to a particular time and space. Rather embrace these as an ongoing dialogue, one which speaks to the present. Beyond this view the essays are entry points into (re)discovering the other, unique, and visionary literature that has been supported and nurtured through JCAS, and critical animal studies more generally.

Moving forward we need to (re-)create a radical heart and voice within critical animal studies. So in reading this collection, I hope that it inspires, enrages, and ← xviii | xix → provokes you to take direct action in some way. If this includes scholarly-activist praxis, then do so in ways that burn brightly, in ways that stand resolute both against the darkness in our world, but also—as critical animal studies does—as points of illumination for new pathways of liberation, resistance, freedom, and revolt to be viewed, and carried out. ← xix | xx →

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XXII, 318
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2019 (September)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2019. XXII, 318 pp.

Biographical notes

Anthony J. Nocella II (Volume editor) Amber E. George (Volume editor)

Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., internationally award-winning author, educator and community organizer, is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Justice Studies, and Criminology in the Institute of Public Safety and the Department of Criminal Justice at Salt Lake Community College. He is co-founder of the Journal of Critical Animal Studies, Institute for Critical Animal Studies, and the field of critical animal studies, with publishing over forty books. Amber E. George, Ph.D., is Instructor of Philosophy at Misericordia University. She is editor of Journal of Critical Animal Studies and co-editor of Screening the Nonhuman: Representations of Animal Others in the Media and The Intersectionality of Critical Animal, Disability, and Environmental Studies.


Title: Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies