The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of the struggle betweenhumans and non-humans.
What would literary studies look like if animal rights had attained the same priority and the same urgency of concern as the kinds of human rights…?
...[a]s I worked on the texts and as I read around and researched the field I found myself frequently overwhelmed with anger and dismay. Tragedy is marked by pity and terror and anyone who spends as much time as I have in the last few years studying the ways in which humans treats animals will encounter plenty of both.
When we turn to relationships of struggle between humans and non-humans we immediately note that only one side has any ability to effect a voluntaristic participation. To use an example that puts it plainly: we eat animals because we want to, we do not have to and common sense suggests (pace arguments about the revolutionary benefits of domestication, which is not voluntaristic anyway) that animals do not like being eaten. If you doubt that, visit a slaughter-house. It therefore follows that to speak of ‘Animal Liberation’ is to use the term ‘liberation’ quite differently from the way it is used in a quaint old phrase like ‘Women’s Liberation’. There is no social contract between humans and non-humans and therefore their interactions are not at any fundamental level socialised. Which is not to say that individual humans and individual animals cannot interact in ways that may properly and sensibly be described as social.