David Nibert (born 1953) is an American author and professor of sociology at Wittenberg University, and the co-organizer of the Section on Animals and Society of the American Sociological Association.
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Animal Oppression and Capitalism (2017)Edit
- Most humans know little about the daily oppression and suffering of other animals. Few ponder the sentience or experience of life of other animals; most are too busy trying to make ends meet financially, or merely survive day to day. Even among the relatively few human animals who do consider, grieve, and even protest their circumstances and those of the other animals on the earth, even fewer consider the underlying roles played by the capitalist system and patriarchy. Pervasive problems such as illness, warfare and inequality are thought to be merely the way of the world, perhaps the product of human nature, and simply not amenable to change. But such a point of view fails to explain why human animals lived relatively peaceably and communally with one another, as well as with other animals, For most of the 200,000-plus years that our species existed in its present form.
- Introduction: The Unsavory Origins and Nature of Capitalism (p. xii)
- Humanity's systematic killing of other animals, as well as the subjugation of groups of humans, did not begin until males created weapons and began hunting other animals, approximately 50,000 years ago. The emergence of increasingly aggressive males, brandishing weapons, began to degrade the egalitarian nature of human societies, and the status of women and less powerful males began to decline. The corruption of human society was powerfully furthered 10,000 years ago, when humans began to capture and confine other animals and control their reproduction, and the consequences for human societal development were enormous and tragic.
- Introduction: The Unsavory Origins and Nature of Capitalism (p. xii)
- The enslavement of other animals necessitated invasion and large scale warfare due to the need of fresh pastures and water, and their oppression enabled the widespread warfare due to the use of other animals was rations, laborers, and weapons of war. For thousands of years, violent patriarchal societies led by warmongering men continually seeking greater wealth and power did enormous harm to the foundation of human societies and to human relationships with other animals. Millions of humans and countless other animals suffered enslavement, torture and death—and their fates were deeply intertwined.
- Introduction: The Unsavory Origins and Nature of Capitalism (p. xiii)
- The capitalist system was and is not a benevolent social force created to best serve the needs of humans through the "marketplace," contrary to the propagandizing that has inundated at least the citizens in the West for a century and a half and that continues in educational systems and mass media today. Indeed, it would be impossible for an egalitarian, beneficial political-economic system to emerge from thousands of years of hypermasculine, violent, oppressive, and war-torn reality. In truth, capitalism, which morphed from the highly oppressive systems of "economic development" of the Eurasian past, simply represents a more sophisticated form of social relations in which the accumulation of wealth continues to result from exploitation, predation and violence.
- Introduction: The Unsavory Origins and Nature of Capitalism, (p. xiv)
- Under the early capitalist system, genocidal invasions and the oppression of indigenous humans and other animals around the world continued. Spain ravaged what is now Latin America, Britain wreaked havoc everywhere from Ireland to Australia to North America, and the capitalist class in these and other nations of Europe scrambled to accumulate wealth through the plundering of Africa, with the bodies of countless humans and other animals left in their wake.
- Introduction: The Unsavory Origins and Nature of Capitalism (p. xiv)
- The rise of the capitalist class in North America similarly was founded on terrible exploitation. Some enriched themselves through the killing of beaver, deer and other animals for their skin and hair, while other continued and expanded the deadly expropriation of the homelands of indigenous humans and other animals for ranching enterprises. Still others began exploiting children, women and men in mines, nascent factories and fields, where tens of thousands of people were ruthlessly enslaved.
- Introduction: The Unsavory Origins and Nature of Capitalism (p. xiv)
- By the mid-twentieth century, elites had to find ways to surmount the natural limitations to the basic and destructive imperative of the capitalist system—the imperative for unending growth and expansion—in order to continue the accumulation of vast wealth. They turned to the ideology of neoliberalism in a renewed drive for laissez-faire policies, in which government largely withdraws from "interfering" with the economy, leading to nearly unrestrained profit-taking. While capitalists were able to fend off or minimize government interventions proposed to create or improve the quality of life for countless humans, they were quite focused putting the power of the state to work to aggressively protect and advance their interests (i.e., "corporate welfare"). Through deregulation, tax breaks and the squandering of taxpayer dollars, large corporations and elites have flourished while masses around the world face harsh austerity programs. And in the United States, enormous public resources are diverted into the military-industrial complex and twenty-first century invasions and warfare.
- Introduction: The Unsavory Origins and Nature of Capitalism (p. xvi)
Animal Oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism, and Global Conflict (2013)Edit
- Animal Oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism, and Global Conflict. Columbia University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0231151894
- Today, based on the growing body of work by ethologists and biologists about the profound mindedness and emotional life of other animals, we can assume that, for the most part, the other animals' experience of capture, enslavement, use, and slaying was one of suffering and violence. While much of their treatment unquestionably was in the form of direct physical violence, the animals' systematic enslavement and oppression also resulted in their inability to meet their basic needs, the loss of self-determination, and the loss of opportunity to live in a natural way—an indirect form of violence known as "structural violence." Archeological findings of the remains of early enslaved other animals provide evidence of their suffering. Generally, examination of the remains of animals held captive thousands of years ago reveals bone pathologies resulting from physical trauma, poor diet, chronic arthritis, gum disease and high levels of stress.
- Nomadic Pastoralism, Ranching, and Violence (p. 11)
- The "domestication" of highly social animals—which developed out of hunting them—was no partnership at all, rather, a significant extension of systemic violence and exploitation. The emergence and continued practice of capturing, controlling and genetically manipulating other animals violates the sanctity of life of the sentient beings involved, and their minds and bodies are desecrated to facilitate their exploitation: it can be said that they have been domesecrated. Domesecration is the systemic practice of violence in which social animals are enslaved and biologically manipulated, resulting in their objectification, subordination, and oppression. Through domesecration, many species of animals that lived on the earth for millions of years, including several species of large, sociable Eurasian mammals, came to be regarded as mere objects, their very existence recognized only in relation to their exploitation as "food animals" or similar socially constructed positions reflecting various forms of exploitation.
- Nomadic Pastoralism, Ranching, and Violence (p.12)
- Some may suggest the promotion of veganism is injurious to the poor and marginalized human population of the world. It is true that many people around the world continue to exploit animals for basic subsistence. The continued use of both domesecrated and free-living animals as food because of the absence of other dietary alternatives, linked to poverty, is itself an indictment of the capitalist system . . . Until nutritious, affordable plant-based food is available to all throughout the world, criticism of peoples who have no alternatives to exploiting animals for subsistence should be redirected against the capitalist system.
- New Welfarism, Veganism, and Capitalism (p. 262)
- Domesecration fueled the rise of capitalism, and many of its most deplorable colonial and imperialist practices have shaped the contemporary world. Today, capitalism promotes domesecration on an enormous level. Tens of billions of animals are tortured and brutally killed every year to produce growing profits for twenty-first century elites, who hold investments in the corporate equivalents of Chinggis Khan. These new khans are the corporate "persons" whose ranks include Tyson Foods, ConAgra, Smithfield, Pilgrim's Pride (a subsidiary of JBS "Beef"), Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Perdue Farms, Maple Leaf Foods, Vestey Foods, United "Egg" Producers, United "Poultry" Growers Association, National Corn Growers' Association, American Soybean Association, the National Restaurant Association, the International "Meat" Trade Association, McDonalds, Wendy's, "Burger" King, Red Lobster, and YUM! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers). They display a pathological, single-minded pursuit of profit that is often more subtle but certainly as violent, destructive, and ultimately deadly as the practices of the murderous khans of Eurasia's past. These and other actors in the animal-industrial complex—including the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agricultural departments in major land-grant universities, the Chicago Board of Trade, innumerable advertising and marketing firms, and related enterprises—exert enormous economic, cultural, and political influence to promote the consumption of "meat," "dairy," "eggs," and "seafood" and to protect the interests of those who profit from it. Contemporary domination of the world by global capitalist elites is furthered by corporate-friendly, so-called free-trade agreements and by the World Trade Organization, which has joined the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as a champion of corporate capitalism.
- New Welfarism, Veganism, and Capitalism (p. 266)
- Truly free and democratic discussion, planning, and policy implementation for the good of all will be possible only in a democratic socialist world order free of elite social engineering and control of the state and without consciousness-consuming economic marginalization and deprivation. Moving toward an end to domesecration and the related injurious practices would be much more likely in a societal and global order characterized by economic democracy and a democratically controlled state and mass media. Under a more egalitarian system, one with a much greater potential to inform the public about vital global issues—including their connection to domesecration—campaigns to improve the lives of other animals would be more abolitionist in nature.
- New Welfarism, Veganism, and Capitalism (p. 270)
- It is essential for those interested in promoting justice for other animals to work together with all those who are striving to replace capitalism with a just and sustainable global system. Conversely, for everyone working for social justice and a better world for humanity, it is imperative to recognize that such a future can only be achieved by ending domesecration. It will be through such realizations and alliances that the momentum and power will arise for the creation of both a democratic social and economic order and the concomitant abolition of the oppression of other animals.
- New Welfarism, Veganism, and Capitalism (p. 271)
The Global Industrial Complex: Systems of Domination (2011)Edit
- The modern animal industrial complex, a massive network that includes grain producers, ranching operations, slaughterhouse and packaging firms, fast food and chain restaurants, and the state, has deep roots in world history. Historically, the treatment of both devalued humans and other animals has been characterized by exploitation and violence, and the fates of the two groups have been deeply entangled. From the time humans first captured, confined and controlled the reproduction of such animals as cows, pigs, sheep, goats and horses—which largely benefited powerful elites—in turn [those activities] facilitated human social stratification, domination, and widespread violence.
- The consequences of these decades of activity of the animal industrial complex, in conjunction with other complex industrial systems, such as the military industrial complex, global international banking systems and global media conglomerates, have been cataclysmic. In Latin America, for example, subsistence farmers who resisted forcible removal from the land—displacement usually caused by the influx of international loans to expand ranching, feed-crop cultivation, and related enterprises—were subjected to violent repression and death by governments backed by the United States government and commonly by soldiers trained at the U.S. School of the Americas. Many subsistence farming families were forced to migrate to urban areas where they were transformed into proletarians and became vulnerable to transnational corporations seeking exploitable workers.
- Environmental destruction is another consequence of the animal industrial complex. Raising large groups of cows and sheep has long been tied to deforestation and desertification in many parts of the world. In Central America, for example, between 1950 and 1990 the most significant change in land in the region was the destruction of forests for the purpose of creating pasture. Tropical forests in the area fell from 29 million hectares to 17 million during the period. In all of Latin America the conversion of tropical forests into pastures and ranches for raising cows for food is responsible for more deforestation than all other production systems combined. The creation of pasture accounts for roughly 75 percent of global deforestation.
- Even without the horrendous health, environmental, and human rights consequences of the animal industrial complex, the horrific treatment of other animals that it produces is in itself a powerful and compelling reason to resist and reject the system. Sentient beings who have preferences and desires, who are capable of profound social relationships and who have inherent value apart from their ill use by the Complex, are treated essentially as inanimate objects, as "biomachines."
- The profound cultural devaluation of other animals that permits the violence that underlies the animal industrial complex is produced by far-reaching speciesist socialization. For instance, the system of primary and secondary education under the capitalist system largely indoctrinates young people into the dominant societal beliefs and values, including a great deal of procapitalist and speciesist ideology. The devalued status of other animals is deeply ingrained; animals appear in schools merely as caged “pets,” as dissection and vivisection subjects, and as lunch. On television and in movies, the unworthiness of other animals is evidenced by their virtual invisibility; when they do appear, they generally are marginalized, vilified, or objectified. Not surprisingly, these and numerous other sources of speciesism are so ideologically profound that those who raise compelling moral objections to animal oppression largely are dismissed, if not ridiculed.
- Thus, the entangled and violent oppression of humans and other animals, which began when animals first were captured and enslaved, has expanded under contemporary capitalism into the monstrous animal industrial complex. This complex—a predictable, insidious outgrowth of the capitalist system with its penchant for continuous expansion—is so profoundly destructive as to be the contemporary equivalent of Attila the Hun. Like Attila, the animal industrial complex is in constant pursuit of water and land to raise animals whose bodies are its source of material wealth.
- The world’s human population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050, and the animal industrial complex is predicting a 40 percent increase in "meat" production by that date. Just by 2020, it is projected that 80 percent of the world’s agricultural land will be used for pasture or for feed crop production. Despite the public health, environmental, and social consequences, the World Bank continues to promote "meat" consumption among the more affluent and states "the developing world is projected to be the most important supplier to this growing market." Such a policy will only increase violence, repression, environmental destruction, landlessness, poverty, hunger, and death.
- An essential part of any successful plan for the promotion of global justice must be a campaign for the elimination of the practice of oppressing other animals, especially as sources of food. As we work for a democratic global economy, we must transform the system that uses increasingly precious land and water for profitable “meat” production into a truly "green" form of agriculture organized to provide nutritious plant-based food where it is needed throughout the world—and to parts of the world where many have few alternatives to exploiting animals. In a more just global economy, with plant-based diets that require much less land than is now used for "meat" production, land would be available to resettle millions trapped in urban squalor. Land also could be set aside as sanctuaries for other animals—with whom humans must learn to peacefully co-exist. Such change will take more than just a challenge to the animal industrial complex; it will require the development of a social-economic alternative to capitalism as it has developed across multiple fronts of social antagonism.