Attic bird (Ocell de golfa)
Attic bird (Ocell de golfa)
“Being flesh and blood beings as we are and having a materiality-based existence, our lives are always overflown by other people’s life. Whatever we do, we relate with others. When a highway or an airport are built, the landscape left by our ancestors is modified in order to facilitate our trips and commerce. Our activities affect animals also, and some of it actually affect them in a direct manner: stockbreeding, fishing, hunting, wild animals commerce, agriculture, real estate activity, deforestation, cities’ expansion, etc. In this sense, our policies are always zoopolitics (…)
Zoopolitics –this is, the mixed community we do form with animals– is de facto a community. It is a political community too, as far as pretty often our interests will collide with those of the animals; and that sets out a justice conflict because it implies animals’ interests are subordinated to those of the humans (…)
We cannot be political representatives of the animals, because political representation implies the representated ones being able to revoke the representant (…) Animals cannot be our cocitizens as far as they do not consider themselves members of our political community (…) Only human beings are able to be true citizens, whichever their ability to express their will and to participate in collective decisions is. Animals are political subjects because they have individual interests and preferences and they are able to communicate, even if usually their living conditions do not allow them to do it. This agentivity will be the starting point for the negotiations that human beings will have to establish in order to stipulate the egalitarian rules of coexistence between human and non-human animals (…)
Justice does not need subjects to be in a symmetrical and reciprocal position derivated from their equality of power or aptitude. Since the structure of political liberalism has been transformed through the question of dependent and vulnerable people, symmetry is not a condition for justice (…) The politicization of the animal issue uses this contribution, which does not mean that the condition of animals must be confused with that of people in a situation of dependency (...) This argument serves to denounce the fact that we give predominance to reason and articulated language, turning them into moral and legal criteria, doing experiments with monkeys which we would never impose to anencephalic babies or people with serious brain damage –despite having less developed cognitive abilities than those of the animals used in laboratories.
There can only be justice with animals and people in situations of vulnerability because humans decide so and renounce to the idea of justice based on the quid pro quo or on speciesist criteria (...) Politicizing the animal issue means organizing the coexistence between humans and non-humans in such a way that the interests of the latters are included in the definition of common good (...) But between both humans and non-humans there is an insurmountable asymmetry: and this aggravates our responsibility when dictating laws which do not serve only for humans”.
PELLUCHON, Corine. Manifeste animaliste : politiser la cause animale
Artwork: Attic bird (Ocell de golfa). Lluís Masriera, 1898. Oil on canvas.