I recently read a very disturbing post claiming that once dogs are passed the puppy stage they are “irrelevent” and that they should be “put in the garbage”. This deeply disturbed me when I read it, claiming that an animal, let alone a pet, is worthless past the typically cute baby stage of development. Marie Houser, author of Grace for a Cure: Poisoned Ethics and Disabled-Nonhuman Images, would most likely have some interesting things to say about this. In a sense, based off the view of the above post, the age of older dog could be viewed as a disabiltiy in a way. Often a person or animal with disabilites is viewed as ‘lesser’ or ‘not whole’ and therefore not important or valued. This is a surprisingly common attitude that authors such as Houser are trying to change. Houser confronts the tendency of many to be placted by “knowing without knowing that nonhumans are used and abused” but then are ‘saved’ or ‘rescued’ by individuals via pictures on social media or news outlets (2014). The inspiring stories of a dog with no legs being saved and allowed to walk with help of a device crafed by a team of experts captures and warms our hearts. But it also lets most of us turn a blind eye to other abuses and neglect going on. Houser states that, “that we do violence to nonhumans—a sustained, totalizing violence in which multiple industries collude to breed and raise up nonhuman animals to maimand kill them. That even companion animals arrive in shelters abused, neglected, injured by cars, and starved by the eradication of “vermin” and garbage from our urban places” (2014). These stories and pictures of ‘our good will’ and ethics cure us and relieve us from our guilt, making us complacent and inactive in combating animal cruelty. This alows for a society where posts like the above are common place and animal abuse still goes on, as long as we don’t see it. Houser seekings to comabt this tendency by drawing it into the light making us aware of what we are ignoring. This awareness helps us to combat binarires and perspectives put on us by socitey and help us change the way we act towards other humans and non-humans.
Houser, M. (2014). Grace for a Cure: Poisoned Ethics and Disabled-Nonhuman Images. Journal for Critical Animal Studies, 12(2), 17-37. Retrieved May 1, 2017.