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Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies

A Historical Collection

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Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II and Amber E. George

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.

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Chapter Six: Animal Crips (Sunaura Taylor)

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CHAPTER SIX

Animal Crips

SUNAURA TAYLOR

 

A few years ago I found a story about a fox with arthrogryposis, which is the disability I was born with. The fox was shot by a hunter because “it had an abnormal gait and appeared sick” (McBurney, 1999, p. 9). The animal, who had quite significant disabilities, had normal muscle mass and the stomach contained a large amount of digested food, “suggesting that the limb deformity did not preclude successful hunting and foraging” (p. 10).

The shooting was presented as a mercy killing. (Of course, a hunter would have shot a normal fox too, just for less sympathetic reasons.) However, this fox was actually doing very well. The hunter’s assumptions about the fox’s quality of life were formed by stereotypes of disability as a struggle, as pain, as something worse than death. The concept of a “mercy killing” carries with it two of the most prominent responses to disability: destruction and pity. The fox was clearly affected by human ableism, shot dead by someone who believed disability equaled only suffering.

In her book Contours of Ableism (2009), Fiona Campbell writes: “From the moment a child is born, he/she emerges into a world where he/she receives messages that to be disabled is to be less than, a world where disability may be tolerated but in the final instance, is inherently negative” (p. 17). Ableism at its simplest is...

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