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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 Eight: Getting Their Hands Dirty: Raccoons, Freegans, and Urban “Trash” (Lauren Corman)

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← 158 | 159 →

CHAPTER EIGHT

Getting Their Hands Dirty

Raccoons, Freegans, and Urban “Trash”

LAUREN CORMAN

 

Introduction

During the summer of 2005, a local radio show prompted me to investigate the meaning(s) of raccoons (Procyon lotor) within urban landscapes. During the call-in program, listeners were invited to share their thoughts about raccoons and the implementation of Toronto’s municipal Green Bin waste management program. I was amazed by the callers’ largely vitriolic responses. Positioned as pests, raccoons were understood as enemies worthy of elimination, a so-called “problem” in need of fixing. Yet, the problem was an old one: the Green Bin Program simply drew the tensions between humans and urban animals into sharper focus.

The Green Bin Program began in 2002 within the Toronto municipality of Etobicoke. By September of 2004, central Toronto residents were introduced to the Program. Initiated by the city’s Waste Diversion Task Force, the bins were part of a three-pronged plan to eventually eliminate the exportation of 907,000 tons of annual garbage to Michigan (City of Toronto, 2010a).1 Some might guess that such a move to concentrate organic, edible waste2 would benefit nonhuman foragers, such as raccoons: making the disposal of organic waste municipally regulated meant that nonhuman animals could potentially gain greater access to food, as the city-donated bins were placed curbside by residents each week. ← 159 | 160 →

Although the public was assured that the bins...

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