Fur, feathers and fashion – the use of animals in the fashion industry & the rise of cruelty-free fashion
May
10
5:00 PM17:00

Fur, feathers and fashion – the use of animals in the fashion industry & the rise of cruelty-free fashion

Abstract:

Contrary to the significant swing in public opinion against fur in fashion in the 1990’s, today there are more designers using fur than ever before, with approximately 500 fashion designers using fur in their ready-to-wear fashion lines. The global fur industry is now worth over $40 billion US dollars, and the global leather industry is even larger, valued at over $200 billion US dollars. In light of the significant welfare issues raised by fur production, numerous high-end fashion designers have gone fur-free, including Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani. Various jurisdictions around the world have also banned the production, importation and sale of fur. In contrast, the leather industry hasn’t faced the same reaction, although fur and leather alternatives are both increasing in popularity, with the synthetic leather market projected to reach $85 billion US dollars by 2025. Signalling change in the air, last month LA held the very first vegan fashion week, showcasing designs from a new generation of compassionate designers. Organic leather alternatives are also on the rise, including vegetable, pineapple, mushroom and even apple leather entering the market. All of these developments indicate that we are genuinely starting to take the first steps towards a cruelty-free fashion future. Come along to the presentation to discuss this important issue with Dr Meg Good, Animal Law & Education Manager at Voiceless.

Speaker bio:

Dr Meg Good is the Animal Law and Education Manager at Voiceless, the animal protection institute. She holds a PhD in environmental law, and an appointment as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Tasmania where she runs the ‘Animal Law’ unit and supervises animal law honours theses. She has held positions with various animal law organisations, including the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel, the Animal Law Institute, and the Australian Animal Protection Law Journal. She created and co-ordinated Tasmania's first animal law conference, and was awarded the inaugural RSPCA Australia Sybil Emslie Animal Law Scholarship.

Please register for free at the link below: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/fur-feathers-and-fashion-the-use-of-animals-in-the-fashion-industry-the-rise-of-cruelty-free-fashion-tickets-60336217250

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Ethical implications of robot pets
Jul
26
5:00 PM17:00

Ethical implications of robot pets

Abstract:

The age of artificial intelligence and robotics is upon us. Amongst the many possible applications of this technology, so-called “social” robots, both humanoid and zoomorphic, are touted as future companions. The prospect of robot pets evolving into social actors and companions for children, older adults, and others raises ethical and philosophical issues: Will sophisticated robot animals deceive some of us into believing they are sentient? Can robopets really offer companionship? What can artificial animal companions offer us that “real” animals cannot? And what effects, if any, will robopets have on our relations with living beings? Roboticists, human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers, and philosophers are beginning to seriously ponder questions like these. This presentation will make a start at reflecting on some of these issues, and will suggest that the evolution of robot animals may potentially carry both advantages and dangers.

Speaker bio:

Simon Coghlan PhD, BVSc, is a veterinarian and ethicist. Currently he is a Research Fellow at the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne, where he is researching ethical questions related to social and companion robots. He also lectures in medical ethics at the University of Adelaide, in the Faculty if Health. Previously, he worked as a small animal veterinarian in private practice. Other research interests include veterinary ethics, animal ethics, and animal-assisted therapy.

Please register for free below: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/ethical-implications-of-robot-pets-tickets-60336659573

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Duck Lake: an anti-duck-shooting, art-meets-activism event
Apr
18
5:00 PM17:00

Duck Lake: an anti-duck-shooting, art-meets-activism event

The Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network is pleased to announce our next public lecture, 'Duck Lake: an anti-duck-shooting, art-meets-activism event' by Dr Yvette Watt. Vegan afternoon tea will be provided.

Abtsract: 

On March 5, 2016, just before dawn, an art-meets-activism event unfolded at Moulting Lagoon on the east coast of Tasmania at the opening of the duck shooting season.Duck Lake was the brainchild of artist and animal activist (and academic), Yvette Watt (and involved a troupe of dancers in hot pink tutus and hard hats performing on a floating stage to music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Designed to both draw attention to the duck shooting issue in view of ending it, to deter the ducks from the shooters guns, and to draw attention to the issue in the media this project was the culmination of a year’s planning and preparation and was the result of a large team of people coming together to make the event a reality.

Paying attention to issue around gender, visibility/invisibility, the role of the artist as activist, I will discuss the outcomes and the complexities of bringing Duck Lake to fruition, as well as reflecting on the project and its effects 3 years later.

Speaker bio: 

Dr Yvette Watt is Studio Head of Painting at the  School of Creative Arts and Media at the University of Tasmania, and Lead Researcher of the College of Arts, Law and Education Animal Studies Research Group. Yvette was a founding member of the Australasian Animal Studies Association and is a current committee member of Minding Animals International.

Yvette has a background in animal advocacy and her artwork and academic research is heavily informed by her activism and her interest in the changing nature of human-animal relations. Her research also reflects an interest in the relationship between how nonhuman animals are used and depicted in the visual arts and what this might have to say about how these animals are thought about and treated. Related to this is an interest in the role that art can play in engaging the viewer with social and/or political issues.

Event image courtesy of Michelle Powell.

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Taussig: The Cry of the Donkey
Mar
4
5:00 PM17:00

Taussig: The Cry of the Donkey

In this lecture Prof. Michael Taussig will share some of his latest thoughts related to multispecies matters. A question and answer session moderated by A/Prof Eben Kirksey will follow the lecture.

Michael Taussig is a Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University and at The European Graduate School / EGS in Switzerland. Known for his provocative ethnographic studies, he earnt a PhD in anthropology at the London School of Economics. He is widely published in anthropology, especially medical anthropology, but he remains most acclaimed for his commentaries on Karl Marx and Walter Benjamin, especially in relation to commodity fetishism. He is the author several books including: Palma Africana (2018),What Color is the Sacred? (2009), Walter Benjamin’s Grave (2006), My Cocaine Museum (2004), Law in a Lawless Land: Diary of a Limpieza in a Colombian Town (2003), Defacement (1999), Magic of the State (1997), Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses, and The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America (1980).

Brought to you by the Culture, Environment, and Science Stream of ADI, the Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network, the J. M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at The University of Adelaide, and the Centre of Visual Art.

Register for free: www.eventbrite.com.au/e/taussig-the-cry-of-the-donkey-tickets-55613700074


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How to Profit from a Virus (or, The Financial Life of the Capitalist Pig)
Dec
11
4:00 PM16:00

How to Profit from a Virus (or, The Financial Life of the Capitalist Pig)

Between 2013 and 2014, PED virus (PEDv) swept through American pig farms, killing over 10 million animals and causing a market panic that drove the prices of both physical pork and lean hog futures to all-time highs. This, however, allowed some producers to feed surviving pigs to supra-standard slaughter weights to capitalize on fear-driven price fluctuations via a unique form of biological arbitrage. Seemingly paradoxically, the most deadly virus to ever strike the American pork industry led to the most profitable year in its history. How did this happen and what does it tell us about contemporary animal agriculture?

This talk, rooted in extensive market research and ethnographic fieldwork at both farms and commodity brokerages, lays out the role and functions of finance capital in animal agriculture, examining the modern pig as a financialized commodity. First, it traces the historical relationship between agricultural capital and financial capital, and then shows the impacts of the emergence of futures markets for pork bellies, live hogs, and lean hogs on animal production, animal producers, and financial markets themselves. It then turns to the more structural role that finance plays in shaping the operation of American agriculture, casting it as both a disciplinary tool and a method for transferring power within value chains to financial actors. Throughout, it foregrounds the place and function of mass-produced animals in financial markets, drawing attention to the relationship between finance and life itself. While much work on finance focuses on understanding financial derivatives (like futures), the case of hog farming draws attention to the effects of financialization on the underlier itself (in this case a flesh-and-blood animal). Third, returning to the case of PEDv, this talk argues that, on the one hand, finance dictates the meaning and value of animal life and death, but also, on the other hand, that animal life allows financial capital to overcome its contradictions by monetizing its frictions and failures. This talk concludes with a reflection on the forms opposition to animal exploitation can take under contemporary financial capitalism.

Bio

Jan Dutkiewicz is the Connie Caplan Post-Doctoral Fellow in American Politics in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. His current research focuses on the political economy of meat, including both large-scale animal agriculture and the emergent meat alternative industry. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Gastronomica and Society & Animals, and he has written about the politics of food for The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Jacobin

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The cow with ear tag #1389 and other stories: Unthinking commodification
Dec
11
4:00 PM16:00

The cow with ear tag #1389 and other stories: Unthinking commodification

Kathryn Gillespie, PhD (University of Washington, USA)

What does it mean to commodify a living being—a cow—so thoroughly that her life and body, her reproductive capacities, and even her body beyond the point of death become commodified? What are the ethical and political consequences of this commodification? In this talk, based on her new book The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 [University of Chicago Press, 2018], Gillespie shares stories from fieldwork on the lives of cows raised for dairy production in the United States to theorize the cow as a living commodity and to reveal the lived reality of animals in the dairy industry. These insights suggest a need for a careful theorization of the commodification of life that prompts alternative ways of thinking about and living with farmed animal species.

 Bio: Kathryn Gillespie, PhD is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Washington. She is a feminist geographer and critical animal studies scholar working on normalized forms of violence in human-animal relations. Gillespie is the author of The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 [University of Chicago Press, 2018], coeditor of Critical Animal Geographies [Routledge, 2015] and Economies of Death [Routledge, 2015], and author of numerous journal articles. She is currently co-editing with Yamini Narayanan of Deakin University a special issue on animal nationalisms for the Journal of Intercultural Studies. In her free time she volunteers with Pigs Peace Sanctuary, Food Empowerment Project, and the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound.

 

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Dogwhistling: Australian Racism and Animal hate
Oct
12
9:30 AM09:30

Dogwhistling: Australian Racism and Animal hate

Dog Whistling is an Australian colloquial term for political speech that carries coded messages – most commonly used to describe a form of racist speech that contains ‘plausible deniability’, subtext that can be denied: I didn’t mean that, I was talking about this (see Fear 2007).  It is speech with a forked tongue and locates its cut, its doublespeak along the faultline of the human/animal, disowning and disavowing the ‘bad’ speech to the realm of the animal Other.  That is, it makes racism the home of the dog. The racist is the dog, and the dog is the subhuman racist who laps it up. My concern today is with the dog, and how and why the dog and the dingo (the focus of my talk) is so tangled up in racism.  I want to highlight how animal studies research in Australia requires a good ear for dog-whistling, something which colonial states like Australia, with our haunted landscapes and disawowed histories become adept at producing and also avoiding.  

Fiona Probyn-Rapsey is Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Fiona’s research connects feminist critical race studies and Animal studies (also known as human-animal studies), examining where, when and how gender, race and species intersect. She is the author of Made to Matter: White Fathers, Stolen Generations (2013), and co-editor of 3 books, Animal Death (2013) and also Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical Perspectives on Non-human futures (2015) and Animaladies; Gender, Species, Madness (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2018) with Lori Gruen. Fiona is also Series Editor (with Melissa Boyde) of the Animal Publics book series through Sydney University.

Press, http://sydney.edu.au/sup/about/animal_publics.html

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"If it’s not gay, it’s not gay”: Animal exploitation and queer liberation'
Aug
31
5:00 PM17:00

"If it’s not gay, it’s not gay”: Animal exploitation and queer liberation'

Late last year the Aotearoa based RainbowYouth Team broadcast an advertisement tackling homophobia, particularly targeting the derogatory use of the word gay. Set on a farm, the advertisement depicts an idyllic image of country life and comradely masculinity. The highlight of the ad uses the mateship of men to call out a baffled white man for using the word “gay” when he dropped his meat pie. The ad ends on a picture of the smashed pie and the words “If it’s not gay, it’s not gay”. The advertisement has a worthy cause, showing that using gay as a negative is more than just using a word. However, in this advertisement, the joke is premised on the silent and unacknowledged exploited animal. This use of animal exploitation as the background for queer liberation discourse is not a singular event. In fact, this draws on a long history that, in the past, associated queerness with animality; this association is strongly distanced from most LGBTQIA activism today. For example, as gay marriage was labelled as a slippery slope that would invite people to marry their dogs, homonormativity dug its heels in. Avoiding the slippery slope arguably prompts publicised acts of normativity, such as some people during the Australian marriage vote hosting an “equality sausage” party, to prove that gays and lesbians could be just like meat eating straight Australians.


This paper will look through some of these cultural examples of animal exploitative homonormativity. It will situate this in a longer history, through looking at how sodomy has been treated historically. This discourse still pervades both the law and culture today. Basing a liberation discourse on animal exploitation and homonormativity is one that will inevitably serve the status quo, so this paper asks, what would a queer-animal liberation look like?

Please join us for drinks and dinner afterwards!

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Presenter Bio:

Jessica Ison is in the final stages (hopefully) of her PhD at La Trobe University, where she also tutors in Gender, Sexuality and Diversity Studies. Jess is the representative for the Institute for Critical Animal StudiesOceania, co-founder of the La Trobe Animal Studies Association and a rescuer for the Coalition Against Duck Shooting. She is also an editor for the journal Writing from Below and a co-convenor of the La Trobe Violence Against Women Network

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Jul
4
5:00 PM17:00

Peter Singer: Animal Liberation, Past, Present and Future

 

Peter Singer is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, a position that he now combines with the position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne.  He is the author of Animal Liberation, sometimes credited with triggering the modern animal rights movement, and never out of print since its publication in 1975.  His other books include Practical Ethics, The Ethics of What We Eat (with Jim Mason), The Life You Can Save, and most recently, The Most Good You Can Do.  He also has edited In Defense of Animals and its successor, In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave.  Together with Paola Cavalieri, he cofounded The Great Ape Project, an attempt to gain basic rights for great apes, and co-edited an anthology, also called The Great Ape ProjectTime has named him among the world’s 100 most influential people.  An Australian, in 2012 he was made a Companion to the Order of Australia, his country’s highest civilian honour.

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