Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State

By Kimberly K. Smith | Go to book overview

3
Property

Thus do the lines of owning, owning up to, possessing someone else through responsive-
ness to who they are, to what their particular happiness consists in, expand…. You cannot
have interests or rights in relationship to me unless we own each other.

— VICKI HEARNE, Animal Happiness

PETE THE MOOSE was barely five days old when he was attacked by a dog and left in the woods to die. The couple who found him were advised by officials at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department that they should leave him to his fate. Instead, they took the injured moose to David Lawrence, a retired Vermont dairy farmer, who said he felt an “instant connection”: “How could you refuse to take care of a baby who’s gonna die if you don’t care for him?” He named the moose Pete, and Pete has flourished under Lawrence’s care. Boarded at an elk farm owned by Doug Nelson, Pete enjoys regular treats of fruit, bread, and jelly doughnuts. Lawrence visits him daily and has grown quite attached to the moose.

But Pete’s home is under threat. According to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Nelson’s elk farm is a “captive hunting facility”: Hunters pay to shoot the elk, moose, and white-tailed deer that live in the six-hundred-acre fenced reserve. Vermont, like many other states, has recently imposed regulations on these hunting facilities, and they want Nelson to get rid of the wild moose and deer—including Pete. The chief rationale for these regulations is to prevent the spread of diseases, such as chronic wasting disease, that wreak havoc on populations of game animals throughout the United States. Animals confined in high densities are particularly at risk, and fences do not prevent the spread of these diseases. Opponents of hunting (like the Humane Society) also support these regulations, arguing that hunting captive populations is particularly cruel and unsporting. “Shooting animals trapped within a fenced enclosure and calling yourself a sportsman is like hiring an escort service and

-70-

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Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - Trials 3
  • 2 - Contracts 35
  • 3 - Property 70
  • 4 - Representation 99
  • 5 - Reform 126
  • Conclusion 155
  • Notes 167
  • Selected Bibliography 193
  • Index 201
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