Risk has become a key and much-publicized concept in modern Western societies. The hazards that preoccupy us are myriad indeed, and among the most commonly talked about are hazards to human health. In this regard humans seek to moderate or eliminate many human health hazards through scientific and medical advancement; however, the pursuit of human health safety has cost nonhuman animals dearly. Annually over one hundred million nonhuman animals are used in experiments worldwide, and human health benefits are offered as a major rationale. Although there is considerable determined opposition to nonhuman animal experiments even some of those associated with such movements argue that, in the case of human health, if there is no alternative nonhuman animals can, or indeed must, be used. How have humans sought to justify this position? In this paper, I contend that such justifications are rooted in acceptance of humans as having essential primacy over nonhuman animals and lies in the power relations associated with human primacy identity claims. To challenge essentialist notions of human identity and human primacy I utilise a performative conceptualisation of identity. By exploring discourses associated with the justification of nonhuman animal experimentation, I argue that discourses extolling scientific advancements that minimize health hazards to humans, made on the basis of experiments on nonhuman animals, reiterate an immoral human primacy identity that exploits power relations to privilege the human.
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2009|
|Event||The 2009 International Academic and Community Conference on Animals and Society: Minding Animals - Newcastle, Australia|
Duration: 13 Jul 2009 → 19 Jul 2009
|Conference||The 2009 International Academic and Community Conference on Animals and Society: Minding Animals|
|Period||13/07/09 → 19/07/09|