I suspected that this week’s post would be much easier, because animal activism has always been closely related to other activist movements, including race activisms. However, once again, the more technologically advanced discussions thwarted me somewhat.
While I did have difficulty applying the aspects of the reading to my project, I was very interested in the Loke article discussing the comments surrounding the race based murder case. Obviously there are no 19th Century comment sections, but I am interested in the way that Loke divided the comments into subsections. I haven’t found very many newspaper articles addressing Black Beauty in America, but I think it would be interesting to expand the search (which would not be in the realm of this project) to see how news articles represented animal cruelty. Given some of the information I found about humane societies in America, I would probably need to look at articles immediately after the Civil War through the turn of the century. George T. Angell depicts the views of society about animal cruelty as very disinterested. I wonder if those ideas would be supported by the news reports.
Holmes’s article could connect to my project in a similar way to Loke’s. While I have not, as of yet, found transcripts or references to specific details of political discussions (or discussions at all) about humane treatment of animals, there must be some record of these discussions somewhere. I suspect, as with Kennedy and Nixon during the Civil Rights Era, discussions surrounding the humane treatment of animals began in circular terms. Instead of directly addressing the issue, most likely the people talked around it. I am interested to see what the discussions eventually developed into. Holmes describes Nixon and Kennedy’s discussions of race as the beginning of the idea of color-blindness in our society. I do not know what the early rhetoric surrounding the treatment of animals developed into.
Young’s article also seemed possibly relevant to my discussion about Black Beauty. However, I am a bit conflicted about how much I can believe George T. Angell’s description of his process. It seems like his description of the political change that he achieved was through a form of deliberative democracy. Angell discusses the ease of open meetings where people met and developed plans for improving society through an awareness of the necessity of kinder treatment of animals. When his group made plans for new legislation, they would take it to their local or state representatives who would quickly move the legislation through. There may or may not have been a lack of discussion on the legislative level. However, at least part of this process seems to fit Young’s discussion. The next problem comes from the veracity of Angell’s discussion. I am not sure how accurate his representation of the process really was; his purpose in his autobiography was not only to share his life, but to inspire people to continue the fight for animal rights. This would be less effective if he described a long and difficult process to achieve any change at all.
While these topics are not necessarily going to be developed in my current project, they may be beneficial to explore later.