On that note, I found it very insightful when the son mentioned that animal rights had to focus on jaguars and other beautiful, exotic, or cuddly animals to reel in support when in reality they are mostly fighting for chickens, cows and pigs. This propaganda idea was really interesting to consider because it focused on appearance. I wonder if this has something to do with the argument against killing human babies- not only are they helpless but also beautiful in some ways, maybe? I completely and totally agreed with the argument on 143 against self-consciousness and shamelessness as traits which set humans apart from animals. Instead, the speaker said that we found it unacceptable to kill and eat babies because we must protect our own. Clearly humans are disgusted by the idea of cannibalism. This point was in juncture with the idea that we are not separate from animals because of our level of thinking. Their mental capacity does not necessarily change the importance or significance of their lives. I think that Elizabeth agreed with this argument but took it a step further; she viewed their deaths not only against morality and ethics but as acts of genocide, mass murder.
When Elizabeth first mentioned the connections between the holocaust, death camps, and mass killings to animal slaughter I agreed with the poet who wrote her the letter that this comparison was too far and in fact insulting. In the end, however, I did find myself horrified for a moment at her description of lampshades and soap made of human parts as metaphors for what she felt about the use of animals in our society. This attitude, her battle with the “am I crazy?” kind of question was present not only in these last pages but throughout. Whenever asked really what she was arguing or why she couldn’t really answer, it was just instinctive. I think this was a really interesting way for the author to set up the story, leaving it open to the reader to grapple with each argument and consider the underlying ethics or reasoning despite her denouncing those concepts.
Norma’s argument that people who categorized themselves by what they did not eat were doing so in an effort to create a hierarchy amongst their peers was interesting. She argued that by saying that they could not eat one thing or another it was presumed that the reason had to do with cleanliness and therefore they could be considered elite because they were cleaner. I also thought it was interesting that groups define themselves by what they do not eat rather than what they do. When these things were brought up over dinner Elizabeth also happened to mention that in eating animal flesh (I hate that word) we are turning it into our own, that in fact they are part of us and we are part of them. I found this extremely disgusting to think about, especially because I am already pretty squirmy and specific about the meat that I eat, unfortunately more so in terms of the idea of eating body parts rather than animal rights related reasons.
I would like to finish by connecting to our past subjects. I had never considered why it is we use prisons as punishment, only accepted that it was the way we punished. Elizabeth says we use prisons because “the freedom of the body to move in space is targeted as the point at which reason can most painfully and effectively harm the being of the other” (132). I found this extremely interesting not only in terms of human confinement but also in animal confinement. That in confining bodies we are somehow confining minds, not ideas necessarily as Jackson argued, because those can flow freely always, but just the sheer effect that incarceration of any sort has on a living being.
Humans treating animals as POW’s was also very interesting in relation to our focus on war crimes and how we hold those criminals accountable or not for what they have done based on the dehumanization that took place. The article argued that we treat our animals with contempt and without law the way we may have thought those criminals treated POW’s in Guantanamo etc. Lastly, I thought the idea of all animals being programmed to fight for their lives was really poignant. I liked the story of the chicken screaming in death and how it had “spoken”. It reminded me of Jackson maybe not textually specifically but just in his nature.