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Animal Welfare

Cracking the Lens of Consumerism; An Analysis of Exploitation in Animal Industries

Anjali Venkatesh and Suzannah Smith

Animal Justice: Oregon led by Anjali Venkatesh and Suzannah Smith

Trip Bio

Over the course of the semester, our DeCal will explore the systemic exploitation of human and non-human animals that takes place within animal-based industries and the effects they have on society. At each of our gatherings, we will focus on a different animal justice related issues and consider its significance in the context of the world around us. We will discuss the tendency in our consumerism-driven culture to separate the product from the system that creates it and how it in turn legitimizes exploitation within animal industries. We will also analyze the philosophical aspects of “othering” animals and the role it plays in perpetuating cruelty within animal related industries. We will examine how institutions, self-interest, and a general lack of awareness have fueled anthropocentrism in our society. While we will focus on the many concrete injustices faced by animals today such as the systematic abuse of animals in factory farms, we will also discuss the abstract connections between animals and other marginalized groups. In addition, we will explore environmental, economic, political, health, and legal aspects to animal welfare. On our Spring Break trip we will visit various animal sanctuaries that aim to create a union between species by offering both animals and humans a space to heal and find refuge together. We hope that by exploring human-animal relationships, we will be able to connect animal justice to other social justice issues and re-evaluate our personal choices and the capitalist system in which we live to create a more peaceful world for human and non-human animals alike.