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International Animal Rights ConferenceInternational Animal Rights Conference
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Friday, 08.09.2017   16:30-17:20   Room A
Postmodern life: Produce, profit or perish
Anthropological perspectives from vegan activism fieldwork
Katerina Vidner Ferkov, Ksenija Vesenjak Kutlačić

During a one year long intensive vegan activism program in kindergartens, public lectures, media discussions and educational programs at various venues, including universities, a persistent pattern of cultural thinking about animals in farm captivity emerged. Animals culturally appropriated as farm animals are often considered as being "tortured" if they are allowed to live till their natural death, as in the case of rescued animals residing in farm sanctuaries. Organizations and individuals caring for such animals tend to be labeled in media and other public discourses as "selfish and not contributing to society".

Anthropological fieldwork in Slovenia indicates that the life itself in neoliberal capitalism has a specific "market value", which is socially and culturally constructed and infiltrated in the science, economy and media in order to be "acceptable". According to this "market value" living beings that are not producing what current cultural concepts expect from them are considered to be an "expense" or "a burden". Like old or disabled humans, rescued farm animals are also categorized as "just suffering" and "not productive", since their "market value" is considered to be low. We would like to challenge the notion that contemporary discourse should explain our existence through the paradigm of "market value".




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