Shared oppression: The relationship between the exploitation of nonhuman animals and workers in slaughterhouses




Venable, Jennifer

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Although many scholars address the interconnected nature of oppressions, most scholarship concerning animal welfare and human rights issues neglects the connections between the shared suffering of nonhuman animals and employees in slaughterhouses. In this thesis, I demonstrate and theorize about their shared oppression while presenting evidence for the unjust treatment and abuse of both nonhuman animals “produced” for our food and slaughterhouse employees. Utilizing Iris M. Young’s articulation of the five faces of oppression, extending Carol J. Adams’ concept of the absent referent, and considering the consequences of upholding a patriarchal, dualistic mentality, my thesis contributes to ongoing conversations about animal welfare and human rights by suggesting that we must see the exploitation of both nonhuman animals and employees as interconnected within the industrial agricultural system. Examining these issues separately only alleviates the symptoms that the industrial agricultural system engenders, rather than addressing the root causes of their oppression. By considering animal welfare and human rights issues independent from one another, we can only attempt to mitigate some of their suffering rather than advocate for their liberation. Instead of examining animal welfare and human rights issues in isolation from one another, I propose a more holistic and collective approach towards achieving the shared liberation of these groups by addressing their interlocking oppressions.



Philosophy, religion, and theology, Social sciences, Absent referent, Animal ethics, Exploitation, Interlocking oppressions, Oppression, Slaughterhouse workers