Using Feminist Theories to Explore Human-animal Relationships: Pigeons in the City
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The unequal human-animal relationships regard human beings as superior to other species. They exit in various kinds of human-animal interactions (i.e. our consumption of animal products, and our use of animals as tools or entertainment). This human-dominant relationship is the result of the hierarchy culture and the dualism view rooted in the western society. Embedded in the culture, it plays a profound role in affecting how we regard the nature and treat other species nowadays. The human-animal hierarchy has generated a lot of ecosystem problems and is regarded as problematic. Therefore, a new kind of human-animal relationship is needed, which is more harmonious and sustainable. This paper examines the unequal human-animal relationships with a feminism view, and advocates to apply the feminist theories to animal study filed to call for a new human-animal relationship. A feminist view illustrates inequitable hierarchical relationships between social groups, provides insights on the implications of these relationships, and seeks liberation of marginalized groups. The idea of linking feminism to speciesism points out the similarities between these two unequal relationships as they have the same origin and both the marginalized ones (women and non-human animals here) suffer from this hierarchy system in many ways. In addition, sharing the same goal of decentralization, the liberation of all marginalized groups can be addressed simultaneously. With the guidance from a set of feminism theories, the paper reveals how these feminism ideas can be applied to and benefits the animal study by providing new dimensions of thinking. Focusing on the case of urban pigeons, the study examines it in details with a feminism perspective, especially the feminist standpoint theory. The results again confirmed that animals tend to suffer from human development and the underlying reason is rooted in the western hierarchy system. At last, the study suggests that we should change our way of thinking and shift towards a new human-animal relationship.