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Companion animals as being-objects: the role of the self/other binary in the human-animal bond

By Amanda Kelly Reed

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This research project is an investigation into the human-dog bond and the practice of pet adoption and pet surrender at the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control Center. The human-dog bond is an excellent vehicle for an investigation into how we create categories of other because it is a highly complex and intersubjective relationship with deep evolutionary roots that is often reduced to a relationship between possessor and possessed in which cultural, historical, and biological contexts are not considered. It is a relationship in which constructed meaning is taken for fact. This thesis explores how animal control centers both resist and reinforce the perception of companion animals as being-objects. The term being-objects is used to denote the tactic we employ by categorizing companion animals as beings when convenient and as disposable objects when necessary. When we categorize companion animals as objects, we other them. We create an unfair identity for them in order to distance ourselves from an uncomfortable confrontation with the reality of pet euthanasia. The author of this thesis will explore how meaning is socially constructed in the E.B.R.P. Animal Control Center through a discussion of the way we speak about animal control centers, the location and arrangement of the E.B.R.P. Animal Control Center, and the performance of adoption and surrender processes within the center.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2006
Pages 64
Publisher Louisiana State University
Location of Publication Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Department Agricultural and Mechanical College
Degree Geography and Anthropology
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animal shelters
  5. Animals in culture
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Biology
  8. Culture
  9. Dogs
  10. Euthanasia
  11. Evolution
  12. Health
  13. History
  14. Mammals
  15. Pet ownership
  16. Pets and companion animals
  17. Physical environment
  18. relinquishment