Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of posts from contributors to Animal Metropolis: Histories of Human-Animal Relations in Urban Canada (University of Calgary Press, 2017). In each entry, the contributors use their own chapters as the basis for wider discussions about contemporary developments that highlight the complex interactions between humans and animals. The editors of ActiveHistory.ca are pleased to publish these pieces that originally appeared in late February in The Otter, the blog of the Network in Canadian History & the Environment. In this first post, Darcy Ingram speaks to strategies in the animal rights movement.
Every year in June the Ottawa RibFest takes place along Sparks Street, a block from Parliament Hill. And every year that event gives animal rights protesters a perfect opportunity to express their views. A Huffington Post Québec article offers a good indication of the 2016 response from PETA: identity inverted, a fleshy female protester is transformed into a fleshy animal on the grill. A roast to roast the RibFest.
This is the kind of powerful imagery charged with sexuality and violence for which PETA has become infamous. It is also part of what presumably separates the modern animal rights movement from that of its predecessor, the animal welfare movement, which traces its origins to the eighteenth century and which blossomed in the Victorian era. Continue reading