Miele, Mara, Murdoch, Jonathan and Roe, Emma
Animals and ambivalence, governing farm animal welfare in the European food sector
Higgins, V. and Lawrence, G. (eds.)
Agricultural Governance: Globalization and the New Politics of Regulation.
That humans exploit animals, often in cruel ways, is not open to doubt. Reponsibility for exploitation and cruelty lies unambiguously on the human side of any human-animal divide. For this reason, relations between humans and animals might be described as profoundly asymmetrical (Schiktanz 2004: 2). Asymmetry emerges whenever animals are confined for human purposes, for instance in farms, zoos and homes. As Schiktanz (2004: 2) puts it, “the animal itself has usually no opportunity to force its necessities – everything depends on the good will of the human ‘owner’”. Such asymmetric relations are apparently inevitable, especially in the agricultural domain where billions of animals are raised for slaughter. In fact, farm-based asymmetry is undoubtedly widespread as the modern industrial system leads to the ever-greater intensification, industrialisation and mechanisation of animal production (Fiddes, 1990; Rifkin, 1992; Strassart and Whatmore, 2003).
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