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Piers Beirne's Syllabus on Animal Abuse Animals

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Animals and Society Syllabi

Piers Beirne

Animal Abuse

Fall, 2001
CRM 350-02/SOC 380

Department of Criminology
University of Southern Maine

 

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the study of animal abuse. Key questions about the nature and forms of animal abuse are subjected to interdisciplinary inquiry spanning sociology, criminology, moral philosophy, and law. The course begins with individualised forms of animal abuse, such as cruelty, neglect  and sexual assault. It then examines institutionalized forms of abuse in research, zoos, hunting,  sport/entertainment and food production. Attention is also given to the link(s) between animal abuse and interhuman violence. Prerequisite: Criminology (CRM215J).
 

Required Readings

-- Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan (eds), Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations    [A/D]
-- Peter Singer, Animal Liberation  [S]
-- Randall Lockwood and Frank R. Ascione, Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence   [L/A]
-- Course Readings “Animal Abuse”  [R]  (on reserve at the Glickman Library)
 

Class Format

You will be participating in a mixture of lectures, class discussion and in-class discussion groups. It is your responsibility to attend classes and to be well prepared in the readings.
 

Examinations

You alone are responsible for completing exams at the designated time. There are two exams: (1) a take-home mid-term (50%) and (2) a closed-book final exam (50%). Only in very unusual circumstances (e.g., a serious medical problem) may you take an exam at a time other than that designated. Your course grade may be lowered or raised by one point (e.g., from “B+” to “A-”) according to your attendance and the quality of your class participation.
 

Academic Support Information

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, please make an appointment to discuss it with me as soon as possible. At any point in the semester, if you encounter difficulty with the course or feel you could be performing at a higher level, consult with me. Students experience difficulty in courses for a variety of reasons. For problems with writing skills or time management, make an appointment to see a student tutor at the Academic Support Center, 242 Luther Bonney (780-4470). Help is also available through the Counseling Center, 106 Payson Smith (780-4050) and the Disabled Student Services, 237 Luther Bonney Hall (780-4706).
 
 

Caution!

In this course videos will occasionally be shown that depict or portray animal abuse. Some scenes contain graphic images that you may find disturbing. Though I do not wish to encourage your absence during these videos, you may wish to excuse yourself from viewing them and you will not be penalised for doing so.
 

COURSE OUTLINE

Reading key:

[A/D] = Adams and Donovan, Animals and Women:Feminist Theoretical Explorations
[L/A] = Lockwood and Ascione, Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence
[S]   = Singer, Animal Liberation
[R]   = a reading in Animal Abuse: a Course Reader

Sept.5   INTRODUCTION

Sept.12  ANIMAL ABUSE IN SOCIOLOGY AND CRIMINOLOGY
*   Beirne, “The Use and Abuse of Animals in Criminology” [R]
*   Dunayer, “Sexist Words, Speciesist Roots” [A/D, pp.11-31]
Discussion: Why have the social sciences tended to ignore animal abuse? How does animal abuse appear in current sociology and criminology? What are speciesism and anthropocentrism? What is animal abuse? How should we talk about animals?

Sept.19/Sept.26  LAW, MODERNITY AND ANIMAL ABUSE
*   Serpell, “Working Out the Beast” [R]
*   Singer, “Man’s Dominion” [S, pp.185-212]
*   Favre and Tsang, “The Development of Anti-Cruelty Laws During the 1800s”
    [L/A, pp.32-66]
Discussion: Does the prevalence of animal abuse vary in history and across cultures?  Has a more humane attitude to animals accompanied modernity? Has the advent of postmodernity blurred the boundaries of humanity? How effective is the criminalization of animal abuse in the U.S.?

Oct.3  THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANIMAL ADVOCACY
*   Singer, “All Animals are Equal”  [S, pp.1-23]
*   Regan “The Case for Animal Rights” [R]
*   Benton, “Animal Rights: an Eco-Socialist View” [R]
*   Francione, “Animal Rights: an Incremental Approach” [R]
*   Davis, “Thinking Like a Chicken” [A/D, pp.192-212]
Discussion: What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism, liberal-rights theory and feminism? What does each imply about how animal abuse can be opposed and its incidence reduced? How do the perspectives of animal welfare and animal rights differ?  What are the goals and practices of the animal protection community?

Oct.10   ON THE PREVALENCE AND CAUSES OF ANIMAL ABUSE
*   Arluke and Luke, “Physical Cruelty Toward Animals in Massachusetts, 1975-
    1996” [R]
*   Rowan, “Cruelty and Abuse to Animals: A Typology” [R]
*   Agnew, “The Causes of Animal Abuse: a Social-Psychological Analysis” [R]
*   Yates, Powell and Beirne, “Horse Maiming in the English Countryside”
Discussion: What methodological and theoretical problems confront the attempt to measure the extent and seriousness of animal abuse? How adequate are existing explanations of animal abuse?

Oct.17    SEXUAL ASSAULT OF ANIMALS
*   Adams, “Woman-Battering and Harm to Animals” [A/D, pp.55-84]
*   Beirne, “Rethinking Bestiality: Towards a Concept of Interspecies
    Sexual Assault”  [R]
*   Singer, “Heavy Petting”,
Discussion: How and why has bestiality been censured by religion, folk dis-course and law?  What parallels exist in the sexual assault of women, infants, children and animals? Should the sexual assault of animals be tolerated, censured or criminalized?
N.B. Mid-term examination. The take-home exam is given out today (Oct.17). You must answer two essay questions from a choice of six. The exam is worth 50% of the course grade. Answers must be handed in no later than next class.

Oct.24/Oct.31   ASSESSING THE LINK(S) BETWEEN ANIMAL ABUSE AND INTERHUMAN VIOLENCE
*   The six essays in “Section 5: Criminology” [L/A, pp.179-244]
*   Ascione, Weber and Wood, “The Abuse of Animals and Domestic Violence” [R]
Discussion: How do the concepts of animal abuse and of cruelty to animals differ? How well established are the connections between animal abuse and sub-sequent interhuman violence?

Nov.7     ANIMALS HUNTED, FISHED AND TRAPPED
*    Munro, “Framing Cruelty: The Social Construction of Duck Shooting as
     a Social Problem” [R]
*    Kheel, “License to Kill” an Ecofeminist Critique of Hunters’ Discourse”
     [A/D, pp.85-125]
Discussion: Is hunting justifiable? Fishing? Trapping? What evidence is there for the claim that both violence against women and hunting are products of an oppressive masculinism?

NOV.14    ANIMALS USED IN RESEARCH
*   Singer, Tools for Research”   [S, pp.25-94]
*   Birke and Smith, “Animals in Experimental reports” [R]
*   Carbone, “Death by ecapitation” [R]
Discussion: What are the respective advantages and disadvantages of the utilitarian, liberal-rights and feminist approaches to animal experimentation? Is animal experimentation necessarily a form of speciesism?

Nov.28  ANIMALS AND THE POLITICS OF FOOD
*    Linzey, “The Bible and Killing for Food” [R]
*    Singer, “Down on the Factory Farm/Becoming a Vegetarian” [S, pp.95-183]
Discussion: Is it possible to rear animals for food on a large scale without abusing them? What are the ecological and economic consequences of agri-business? How strong is the case for not eating animals?

Dec.12  REVIEW
Course Readings: Bibliography [R]

Books   (at the USM bookstore)

Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan (eds.), Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations (1995, Duke U.P).  [A/D]
Randall Lockwood and Frank R. Ascione, Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence (1998).  Purdue University Press.   [L/A]
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (1990, Avon Books) [S]

Articles (on reserve at the Glickman Library)

Agnew, Robert “The Causes of Animal Abuse: a Social-Psychological Analysis,” Theoretical Criminology, 1998, 2(2):177-210.
Arluke, Arnold and Carter Luke, “Physical Cruelty Toward Animals in Massachusetts, 1975-1996,” Society and Animals, 1997, 5(3):195-218.
Ascione, Frank R., Claudia V. Weber and David S. Wood, “The Abuse of Animals and Domestic Violence” Society & Animals, 1997, 5(3):205-218.
Beirne, Piers "The Use and Abuse of Animals in Criminology: A Brief History and Current Review," Social Justice, 1995, 22(1):5-31.
Beirne, Piers “Rethinking Bestiality: Towards a Concept of Interspecies Sexual Assault”, Theoretical Criminology, 1997, 1(3):317-340.
Benton, Ted “Animal Rights: an Eco-Socialist View” [R]
Birke, Lynda and Jane Smith “Animals in Experimental Reports: The Rhetoric of Science,” Society & Animals, 1995, 3(1):23-42.
Carbone, Lawrence G. “Death by Decapitation: a Case Study of the Scientific Definition of Animal Welfare,” Society & Animals, 1997, 5(3):239-256.
Favre, David and Vivien Tsang “The Development of Anti-Cruelty Laws During the 1800’s,” Detroit College of Law Review, 1993, 1-35.
Francione, Gary “Animal Rights: an Incremental Approach”, pp.42-60 in Robert Garner (ed.), Animal Rights: The Changing Debate (1996). London: Macmillan.
Linzey, Andrew “The Bible and Killing for Food,” Between the Species, 1993, 9(1):1-8.
Munro, Lyle “Framing Cruelty: The Social Construction of Duck Shooting as a Social Problem,” Society & Animals, 1997, 5(2):137-154.
Regan, Tom “The Case for Animal Rights” at http://arrs.envirolink.org/ar-voices/case_for_ar.html
Rowan, Andrew (1999), “Cruelty and Abuse to Animals: A Typology” pp.328-334 in Frank Ascione and Phil Arkow, Child Abuse, Domestic Violece and Animal Abuse.  West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press.
Serpell, James (1999) “Working Out the Beast,” pp.38-49 in Ascione and Arkow, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Animal Abuse. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
Singer, Peter “Heavy Petting”, <http://www.nerve.com/Opinions/Singer/heavyPetting>
Yates, Roger, Chris Powell and Piers Beirne, “Horse Maiming in the English Countryside: Moral Panic, Human Deviance, and the Social Construction of Victimhood”, Society & Animals, 9(1):1-23.
*    Film: Gail Worster, Giant Horses
Miller, Karla S. And John F.Knutson “Reports of Severe Physical Punishment and Exposure to Animal Cruelty by Inmates Convicted of Felonies and by University Students,” Child Abuse & Neglect, 1997, 211:59-82.

ADD to reading:
Yates, Roger, Chris Powell and Piers Beirne (2001), “Horse Maiming in the English Countryside: Moral Panic, Human Deviance, and the Social Construction of Victimhood”, Society & Animals, 9(1):1-23.
 

Student Research Papers

You may choose to do a research paper instead of a formal final examination. Either choice is worth 50% of the course grade. If you choose the research paper then you must write an original paper whose focus is some agreed-upon topic on animal abuse in Maine. It must be handed in at the last class (December 12th 2001).

* The paper should be no more than 10pp. in total. It should contain a cover page, brief (100 word max.) abstract, text and stylised references.

* let me know the focus of your paper no later

* oral presentations (3-5 mins.) on Dec.1st or Dec.8th. Sign-up sheets are available on my office door.

 

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Last Updated: April 28, 2004
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