Masculinity and Dairy Industry as Causes of Animal Abuse

Social and behavioural scientists have paid little attention to the causes of animal abuse, despite the pervasive nature of such abuse and the tremendous suffering involved; Bryant and Snizek in fact, have gone as far as to state that no area of human-animal behaviour is more neglected than animal-related crime and deviance. Beirne has also commented on this neglect, and has called on criminologists to devote more attention to this issue. It's important to analyse the roots causes of animal abuse for two reasons; first, animals are worthy of moral consideration in their own right, moral philosophers, social theorists, and feminist theorists have made compelling arguments to this effect, although there is still some debate over the precise moral status of animals. Moreover, survey data suggests that most US citizens grant animals some moral consideration.

It can be argued that masculinities play a significant influence in animal cruelty and abuse, and it is well known in academic debate that criminality is mostly a male issue. Masculine based animal harm is also connected to other forms of offending, such as in domestic contexts, where animal harm is a means for men to display and validate their masculinity in difficult social contexts. As a result, animal harm may be linked to male control, where a perceived loss of power or challenge to masculine authority may result in animal cruelty. As a result, animal cruelty is arguably used to reestablish masculinity, and animal victimisation is part of a larger concept of victimisation of the defenceless; however, relying on prison as a primary deterrent or consequence may be counterproductive, encouraging the very masculinities that underpin criminal behaviour. The public policy response to 'masculine crimes,' defined as crimes of a distinctly masculine nature and with stereotypically masculine behaviours, indicates acceptance of male criminals' proclivity for violence and is comparable to that used for organised crime.

Agricultural intensification is based on an agricultural modernisation narrative that measures progress in terms of efficiency and productivity gains. Following WWII, dairy systems in the EU, North America, Australia and New Zealand grew rapidly. Traditionally, livestock producers produced both meat and dairy, but specialised dairy farms have become more frequent. The dairy sector was further revolutionised by the shift from pasture-based to confinement feeding systems, which enabled constant output year-round to meet expanding demand for milk. Individual cows, farms, and dairy production regions all benefited from these processes; for example, the US dairy herd produced three times as much milk in 2001 as it did in 1950, although having 30% fewer cows. Larger herds, breeding technologies, indoor housingfeeding, energy and protein-dense commercial feeds, antibiotics and growth hormones, specialised workers or machines are all part of farm specialisation and mechanisation strategies. Cows are artificially inseminated at a young age and milked for just a few years until their productivity begins to decrease due to the steep declines in animal health caused by continuous pregnancy and lactation. Cows are frequently housed indoors, sometimes year-round, in highly intensive operations, with stall-feeding regimes of imported cereals and oilseed proteins to assure consistent milk production. As a result, intensive dairy operations rely substantially on external inputs such as feed produced off-farm and carried long distances, water for animals, pasture irrigation, and infrastructure for milking and waste treatment.

Depending on farm management practises, the environmental impacts of dairy production can differ significantly. Intensive dairy systems' increased dependence on inputs has the potential to worsen certain negative environmental effects, both directly and indirectly. Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), soil and water contamination, habitat loss and wildlife health, nutrient cycles (primarily nitrogen and phosphorus), and land use change are all common environmental impacts of dairy systems.

Overall in one sentence it can be said that animal abuse is said to result from ignorance about the abusive consequences of our behaviour for animals, the belief that abuse is justified, and the perception that abuse is personally beneficial. 

01 August 2022
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