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VOX ANIMALIA: Listening to the Voices of Animals Who Resist Exploitation

At the heart of the book is a focus on the importance of listening to animals’ voices, making our best efforts to read their actions, and responding in solidarity to their resistance struggles.

MARC BEKOFF: Sarat Colling’s new book ‘Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era’ is a well-researched, extremely unique, and highly readable work that surely will appeal to a broad global audience interested in human-nonhuman relationships (anthrozoology). It reminds me of other highly original books on similar topics, and I’m thrilled that Sarat was able to answer a few questions about her latest project…

MB: Why did you write Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era?

Animals have resisted oppression for as long as human consumerism and politics have disrupted their lives. Yet, their resistance often goes unrecorded. I wrote this book to record some of their important stories and to amplify these animals’ voices…

MB: Who is your intended audience?

Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era is written to engage academics, activists, and the general public. As such, it will appeal to those interested in animals’ lives and who wish to learn more about how their agency manifests as resistance. A decade ago, there were a fraction of the viral stories of animal escapes or documentaries about animal rebels that proliferate today. Now, thanks to advocacy efforts these stories abound across the social media landscape, notably since the documentary Blackfish heightened awareness about animal resistance and the plight of animals in captivity through the orca Tilikum’s story.

The book will resonate with those interested in cognitive ethology, an area of study dedicated to understanding animals’ rich social, cultural, and emotional lives. Many nonhuman animals possess traits once thought unique to humans, like empathy or revenge (e.g., as described in your book Wild Justice). When they escape, animals can challenge unscientific assumptions about their species, such as beliefs that domesticated cows can’t survive in the wild or that chickens don’t roost in trees…

MB: What are some of the topics you weave into your book and what are some of your major messages?

At the heart of the book is a focus on the importance of listening to animals’ voices, making our best efforts to read their actions, and responding in solidarity to their resistance struggles… The book is attentive to how the intertwined processes of domestication, colonization, and capitalism have shaped our relationships with other animals and the spaces they (are often forced to) inhabit. A central theme is how animal resistance interrupts the purposeful distancing between consumers and the violence of animal industries. Threaded together with the accounts of animals resisting are the effects of their resistance and how they influenced society…

MB: Are you hopeful things will change for the better as people ponder what you’re asking them to do?

For change to happen, we must abolish the capitalist logics that render animals commodities and property. My hope is that the book will contribute to the animal rights movement by encouraging progress away from savior narratives towards a recognition that animals are active participants in their liberation movement. While taking actions to help them, animal advocates can amplify and elevate animals’ voices (exhorting others to listen to them), which helps demonstrate that nonhuman animals are individuals, not products. By acting in solidarity, we build a foundation on which to create a multispecies social justice dialog and build bridges for collective liberation. SOURCE…


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