Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dead Animals/Dead Animal Images

Animal rights advocates have long used images of dead and suffering animals as a way to draw attention to the exploitation of non-human animals by humans, just as anti-abortion advocates have long used images of aborted fetuses to protest abortion. In both cases, activists use the stark images of dead animals or fetuses to arouse in the passerby empathy, moral outrage, and, ultimately, action. They hope that people will change their outlook and take action to stop the suffering that they are witnessing.

Photo by Lawrence JC Baron
While these tactics are well-used, these photos from 2011, sent to me by Eric Greene, represent a much less common approach. These protesters, from the Spanish animal rights group, are not holding signs of dead animals, but are actually holding the bodies of  recently dead animals. Many of the protesters, as in the case of the man at the left, have been moved to tears by the animals they are holding and the action in which they are participating.

Photo by Lawrence JC Baron
As Eric mentioned to me when sending me these images, animal bodies are around us in many ways: we see them hanging in butcher shop windows or in pieces in the meat section of the grocery store. We see them on the side of the road as "roadkill." If we live in a hunting state, we see them whole in the backs of pick up trucks. If you have ever lived with a companion animal, you have probably cradled that animal in your arms while he lay dying, just as the man in the photo above is doing. But to see people standing in the street with hundreds of dead animals in their arms? It certainly begs attention.  This second picture, in fact, reminds me of a military cemetery like Normandy, with each human/animal body as a tombstone. Certainly for the activists, it is a war that they are fighting, and while the animals won't get a grave with a marker, this act is their commemoration.

No comments:

Post a Comment