The staggering rate of environmental pollution and animal abuse despite constant efforts to educate the public and raise awareness challenges the prevailing belief that the absence of serious action is a consequence of a poorly informed public. In recent decades alternative explanations of social and political inaction have emerged, including denialism. Challenging the information-deficit model, denialism proposes that people actively avoid unpleasant information that threatens their established worldviews, lifestyles, and identities. Environmental and Animal Abuse Denial: Averting Our Gaze analyzes how people avoid awareness of climate change, environmental pollution, animal abuse, and the animal industrial complex. The contributors examine the theory of denialism in regards to environmental pollution and animal abuse through a range of disciplines, including social psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, cultural history and law.
Tomaž Grušovnik is associate professor of philosophy of education and senior research fellow in the faculty of education at the University of Primorska in Slovenia.
Reingard Spannring is a sociologist at the Institute for Educational Science, University of Innsbruck in Austria.
Karen Lykke Syse holds a PhD in cultural history from the University of Oslo and is an agronomist and ethnologist.
Introduction: Introducing Denialism in Environmental and Animal Abuse
Tomaž Grušovnik, Reingard Spannring and Karen Lykke Syse
Chapter 1: From Denial to Moral Disengagement: How Integrating Fundamental Insights from Psychology Can Help Us Better Understand Ongoing Inaction in the Light of an Exacerbating Climate Crisis
Chapter 2: Denial as a Sense of Entitlement: Assessing the Role of Culture
Arne Johan Vetlesen
Chapter 3: Skepticism and Animal Virtues: Denialism of Animal Morality
Chapter 4: Human Uniqueness, Animal Minds, and Anthropodenial
Chapter 5: Suffering Animals: Creaturely Fellowship and its Denial
Chapter 6: Brave New Salmon: From Enlightened Denial to Enlivened Practices
Martin Lee Mueller and Katja Maria Hydle
Chapter 7: The Animal that Therefore was Removed from View: The Presentation of Meat in Norway, 1950-2020
Karen Lykke Syse and Kristian Bjørkdahl
Chapter 8: Political Economy of Denialism: Addressing the Case of Animal Agriculture
John Sorenson and Atsuko Matsuoka
Chapter 9: Celebrate the Anthropocene? Why “Techno-Eco-Optimism” is a Strategy of Ultimate Denial
Helen Kopnina, Joe Gray, Haydn Washington and John Piccolo
Chapter 10: The Horse in the Room: The Denial of Animal Subjectivity and Agency in Social Science Research on Human-Horse Relationships
Reingard Spannring and José De Giorgio-Schoorl
Chapter 11: Still in the Shadow of Man? Judicial Denialism and Nonhuman Animals
This volume is a most valuable resource for facilitating awareness and understanding of the patterns of denial that serve to buttress destructive environmental policies and injustices against other animals. This powerful work should be on the bookshelf of every scholar/activist working for a nonviolent and sustainable future.
Environmental and Animal Abuse Denial: Averting Our Gaze is a timely contribution to the growing discussion of denialism in the context of animal exploitation and the global destruction of nature – the rage of inhumanity. Its interdisciplinary essays encourage readers to deconstruct taken-for-granted assumptions, practices and structures, and move toward a more compassionate and just world.
It is encouraging to find rampant environmental and animal denialism given the attention it so urgently needs. The authors in this book have made a valuable start in moving beyond the cognitivist and rationalist assumptions which have hampered a full understanding in the past, and I hope this work itself will reach a wide audience and have a significant positive effect on its subject.
Patrick Curry, editor of The Ecological Citizen
Contributors to this important and timely collection grapple engagingly with the maddening question of why knowledge of massive environmental distress and animal abuse does not lead most people and societies to respond in a constructive or caring manner. They elucidate psychological and societal sources of personal and public apathy toward nonhuman animals and the planet, even where human interests are knowingly harmed by our disinclination to corrective action.
– Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns
Environmental and Animal Abuse Denial is the most urgently important book I've read in many years. Anyone interested in environmentalism or animal advocacy needs to read it. Anyone interested in seeing life on earth continue needs to read it.