Through language other animals are made to bear the crudest human acts, the ugliest human thoughts, the deepest human guilts, the worst human crimes, the most unspeakable human evils…
While subjection to speciesism may be required by physical and political forces in the real world, no such necessity holds in imaginary worlds. The author, editor, and publisher of a story, a play, a novel, a poem, a song, a movie script, a video game, or some other piece of literature wield plenary power over the manufactured universe in which that piece is set. If we want readers and viewers to escape from speciesism, even just for a little while and even just in their imaginations, we can enable that escape by keeping speciesism and animal exploitation out of literature altogether. This end can be achieved both (i) by writing new works that are, from the outset, free from anthropocentric and speciesist content and (ii) by editing existing works to meet that criterion.
This article briefly proposes an initial framework for articulating and formalizing a literary theory informed by the values of veganism and ahimsa and for applying that theory through literary criticism of individual works of literature. “Literature” here is broadly construed so as to include fiction and non-fiction written and spoken material as well as works in the fine and performing arts and in all expressive media, from painting and sculpture to audio and video recordings to video games and computer-generated simulations.
Grey wolves’ endangered status will be lifted and hunting will resume in Idaho and Montana under a deal by wildlife … More