Category Archives: BCM310

Animal Rights are Human Creations


Animal Rights? A simple understanding about the fair treatment and preservation of animals. Decided by looking at the livelihood of current day animals much like chickens and pigs and justifying that the way they live is no condition for what they deserve. That word, ‘deserve’, defined by Oxford as “Do something or have or show qualities worthy of”. Does every animal deserve the fair treatment of comfort? What are the standards in which animal farms need to be in line with in order for people to feel that animal rights are fulfilled? Are animals that are bred for the sole purpose of food worthy of being taken care or in a human manner.

Everywhere there are people, there are animals to serve a purpose. In our households, we have dogs, cats, birds and reptiles (among a few) as pets. Humans affinity for animals is both a simple and tricky thing. With the animals, we have as pets we see them as a part of the family, a companion, someone who we keep in high regard, this emotional attachment that we have to our pets is the result of a connection we have created with them. The same connection (to some degree) we would make for other people – family, friends and colleagues. This relation is placing human like characteristics and abilities on our animals. Described as Anthropomorphism – the attribution of human characteristics or behaviour to a god, animal, or object. For dogs, they react to our emotions, as do ours to them. We sympathize with what our pets go through because to us they are only a part of our life but we are the entirety of theirs. Our choice is to look after them, so we do.

Unlike the relationship of having a pet there are animals that we use for food. We breed them on farms so that we can keep up to the demand of consumption – chickens for eggs and meat for example. Long has there been videos showing that the condition where chickens have been raised for both laying eggs and for their meat are in horrible/uncomfortable conditions. Which can be seen in the video below.

By what standard should we give chickens the freedom to live a healthy life. While we describe human characteristics for our pets we change the emotional connection to one of well-being and disgust. The connection we have for animals is the driving force behind the fight for animal rights. Though, that is conflicted when it comes to human survival as there is an obvious hierarchy of who needs to be looked after first. People have to eat, people eat chicken, there is a large demand for chicken so farmers need to increase demand. Chicken farms need to increase their supplies to meet those demands. Prices for the meat fluctuates based on that supply. Does that money go back into the farms to care for the chickens or does it go back into the farmers pockets for other purposes? Their livelihood is their farm, which is their chickens so it can be perceived it would be beneficial that it would go back into the farm.

fight for animal rights

Fight for Animal Rights. Source

When we give animals the voice of humanity you turn the intention of what the animal represents. A dog is no longer just a pet; a pig is no longer just bacon and a chicken is no longer just an egg laying machine. Giving the voiceless a voice, determining that there are specifics in the way these animals needs to be treated and cared for needs to be understood. We look at the problems that are around us, such as the overcrowded breeding farms and say “this is wrong”, but our solutions are not a guaranteed fix nor are the implementations of those solutions continually looks after. Much like the standard for free range eggs, there are standards that need to be followed to meet the “free range” label though many farms are not adhering to those rules.


Suffering in the Media; Flint City


Suffering in the media is about the representation of people who are less fortunate than the rest of us. Those that live in low socioeconomic areas that are run down, have high crime rates and high rates of teen pregnancy among many other problems. These issues are presented through social media to show everyone else how they live and to get a sense of what these people have gone through. How they got where they are and how they are dealing with their day to day life. This portrayal of people who are not ‘like the rest of us’, becomes a commodity and something to view on our television screens. In hope to where we can relate and show empathy for their situation and do something.

The American City of Flint; population around 98,000 has been without clean water for years. Among the issues of lead pipes, corrosive rivers and fecal contamination among the city the unsanitary water issue hit a peak on social media around the world, much like this article from Australia talking about the issue. With only a short resolve of buying water from nearby Detroit the impact of getting clean water back into Flint has been a slow-paced solution. Online campaigns have been created to give people the chance to donate money to help the cause. The suffering is throughout the entire town, where the access to clean drinking water was once a basic need for human life. Kids who were drinking and bathing in the water have run the risk of lead poisoning which could come back with horrible effects later in life.

poisoned kid

A child from Flint holding a sign “I’ve been poisoned by policy” Source

Through the many social media platforms people gave their money, their hope and their opinion on wanting to solve the Flint water crisis. This emerged the trend “Us” and “Them” – the have and the have not. Research done by Lund University, found here, identify that Poverty Porn is a haven for monetary gain as it provides a resource to be consumed, exploited and contained. Where there are groups of people who are in the group of “Poverty”, highlighted as “Having less than an objectively deadline, adsolute minimum”, “Having less than others in society” or “Feeling you do not have enough to get along”. Every poverty-stricken group plays a part in being the objective “outsider” for everyone else, as they are not something people want to be but something people want to not have to deal with. In both behavioural habits and financial struggle.

The people of Flint did not put themselves into the problem that they have, poor decisions made from their government changed the source for Flint’s water and poor investigation was conducted to make sure the water from Flint’s River was sanitary enough for human use. The slow decline into unsanitary water placed the entirety of Flint into Poverty where every local was at the hands of someone else to cater to the need of fresh drinking water.

There are articles written about Poverty Porn, much like in The Conversation’s Steven Threadgold’s article “Struggle Street is poverty porn with an extra dose of class racism” and The Guardian’s Gay Alcorn’s article “Struggle Street is only poverty porn if we enjoy watching, then turn away” that determine there is an issue in how this topic is presented and the ongoing action that takes place afterwards. The way information is presented to us and what we do with that information justifies what we can do and see. When there is a problem that society needs to take care of it benefits to give everyone the information about the topic. While the medium for which that information may be subjected to criticism there are only so many mediums that can have a huge audience or be academically unbiased on the topic. The choice to inform millions of people comes down to the platform chosen and in a manner, that appeals to a mass audience. When wanting to have an unbiased representation such as in an academic journal there is no information to everyone else outside of the academic sector. So, would it be best to give a mass audience some perspective on an issue that is affecting a lot of people that will generate some form of response or leave it for academics to decide what information is to be presented and how. When looking at the websites created to aide in the Flint disaster relief, the people are not academics but people from the general populace. When the goal is awareness then “Poverty Porn” works.

It’s just another day with nude Kim K


Social media plays an important role in identifying oneself for everyone else to see. The pictures we post, the comments we make and the information we provide on social media platforms create a basis for who we are as an individual. With all the information, we present on social media the ability to communicate back and forth presents a time where what we post can be judged by everyone else. When we post a Tweet on Twitter people can respond with in the means for which Twitter allows, when we post a video a YouTube people can comment, up-vote and down-vote to show how they feel as a response to the content posted. This ability for immediate feedback allows for a strong connection between content creators and having an audience. In turn creating a loop between content creation, responses about how effective the content is to the audience, by having them react and then the potential to create a bigger audience.

The Selfie for instance, defined simply by Oxford Dictionary “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media” is enough to warrant this back and forth of communication. An individual posts a selfie on their social media and then their followers react to it. Instagram being a photo sharing application caters to the selfie culture quite well. Anyone with a mobile phone can access this service and start posting away. Where the audience will present responses in the form of likes and comments of the selfie taken. For everyday people and celebrities this is a good way to show a glimpse into a life that they would not ever see and create a way in which people can communicate effectively with their fan base. While there are benefits with being a celebrity on social media there are negatives that can affect how the person is represented also. Celebrity Kim Kardashian for instance creates a persona of her [fabulous] lifestyle on Instagram for all her 94.7 million followers to see. With such a large following, what Kim does and how she presents herself is scrutinized publicly for everyone to see. For example, Kim’s nude Instagram selfie below:

Posted with the comment from Kim K “When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL“, there are many aspects of this image that an audience can take. Shown in some of the comments presented with the picture people are saying Kim is a body positive role model as having the confidence to post a picture, let alone a nude picture showing off her curves gives people the personal empowerment for their own body confidence, though this confidence may not create anything else of its own except that personal uplifting feeling to the individual. Other audience members condemn the nudity justifying that Kim made her money from being nude, presenting that young girls should not have to get naked to be in the situation that Kim is in – that of a celebrity. For what people take away from the image being present is up to the interpretation of the individual viewing it. When there are no specifics as to the full intention of why something like this is being posted, it gives the audience the freedom to choose whatever they want and to ridicule or be empowered whichever way they want, though that is the freedom of social media and a result of using it. People will always have different interpretations because everyone sees things differently. So, post what you want, just be the things you enjoy.