Not enough feathers flying!!

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Animal exploitation for human benefit has received much media publicity, and industry response, to outcries to end 'un-necessary' practices. Examples of recent changes include banning animal use for cosmetic testing in America and Australia, greyhound racing in parts of Australia and using animals for military medical training in most NATO countries. While these changes are heartening for specific species affected, widespread animal exploitation continues globally for animals used in agricultural research (AAR). AAR is an issue largely unknown and/or absent from much animal welfare and rights discourse, largely because of scientific discourse cloaking exploitive practices. AAR has also seemingly evaded critical animal studies and sociology's radar. Investigations exploring sociology's anthropocentric beginnings and/or examining human-animal
interactions (i.e. companionship, entertainment, human health, food), while vital, are arguably missing copious agricultural practices executed for human profit that, if addressed, may assuage much unnecessary suffering of sentient beings commonly considered only for their use-value as commodified production units. This paper's foray into the controversial practice of chicken debeaking argues why AAR should be an urgent sociological issue. Thousands of animals are mutilated and killed annually for agricultural research to confirm already-known scientific knowledge about debeaking, such as benefits of enhanced housing, reduced flock sizes, and decrease in capacity to eat and socialise normally. Exploring social values and norms personified by industries, researchers, and consumers, we highlight priorities and actions perpetuating non-human
suffering caused by debeaking and the science underscoring debeaking research. We note alternative practices, dispel myths (such as free range chickens are not debeaked), and expose hegemonic ideologies underlying justifications for/against debeaking, concluding with innovative insights seeking to empower industry and consumers to critically question the value of continuing oppressive and/or unethical research on chickens, reconsider who/what is driving research priorities and agendas and challenge sociologists to engage with AAR.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImagined futures
Subtitle of host publicationsociology, science and the arts
Place of PublicationNew Zealand
PublisherSociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventConference of the Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand 2016: SAANZ 2016 - East Pier Hotel, Napier, New Zealand
Duration: 22 Nov 201624 Nov 2016 (Conference website) (Conference booklet saved in Wayback Machine)


ConferenceConference of the Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand 2016
Abbreviated titleImagined futures: sociology, science and the arts
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
OtherWith the 2016 SAANZ Annual Conference we aim to interrogate these propensities and the numerous critiques generated in response. What are our imagined futures? With what sort of normative and disruptive intent do and can we interrogate scientific and technological solutions to human problems? What forms of organization are presupposed for the transfer of research findings into transformative social interventions? What kinds of subjectivity and collectivity are assumed as necessary for the success of inquiry and intervention? What kinds of leadership and subordination do they also presuppose?
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