The Fable of Wolf and Hound

At night, a hound left its body, its cage and the laboratory and went for a walk in the woods. There he met a wolf, who said: There is nothing new, thus one can only deal with what already exists. But then how do you think about what you do? asked the hound. Ironically, said the wolf. I understand, answered the hound, now I must take my leave. Tomorrow will be a long day and I must die. Just one thing more : I, too, have already seen everything, but it was so dark that I couldn’t recognize anything.

„Revolt of the Pets“ (p.13 ff)

by Thomas Macho

(3. Slaughter animals and lap dogs)

Only the transformations in the order of human life which were brought about by the Industrial Revolution have put an end to the to the agrarian game of animal-human ambivalences and metamorphoses. At least since the end of the eighteenth century, historically strongly rooted traditions have been replaced by functional institutionalisation processes; the estate system of societies were surmounted by a society of „disciplines“ (after Foucault1). In place of birth rights came general human rights; in place of extremely diversified hierarchies, interest groups, open to compromise; regionally differing training systems (endo-socialisation) were replaced by literacy programmes and compulsory education (exo-socialisation2); the old standing army through the levee en masse. Sedentary tendencies increasingly lost their importance in favour of a new mobility that had to be orientated on the migration movements of capital (as it was earlier on the roaming of livestock herds); diachronic views and genealogic principles were relativised or completely overridden by synchronous perspectives (such as in the horizon of media-technological networking processes). The agrarian logic of differentiations was robbed of power by egalitarianist homoginisation impulses. „Modernisation“ – this is the title we have given to the transition between two social systems: the transition from the agrarian revolution to industrial society. „The first of these constitutes a social order that propagates cultural difference and externalises a complex system of roles, whereas in an industrial society mobility, anonymity and the semantic character of human work dominate life.“3

The Industrial Revolution owed its unparalleled dynamic to the boundless use of fossil energy sources (such as coal and oil). These substances offered much more energy for human use than could ever have been achieved through the conventional solar energy system. This provided an amount of fuel, well above that which could be obtained from renewable biomass. This is historically unique – and perhaps also in the earth’s history. There may have been agrarian societies from time to time, which used more wood than would regrow on their territories in the same time, but this sort of behaviour would have been fairly quickly punished by a rapid deterioration in forest stand, so that a whole social structure could not be established here. Persistent overuse of the ground would also be comparable to this, in that it allows, for a short time, more food to be produced than the ground really yields. At some point the actual capacity of the land makes itself felt through clear reductions in harvest.“ As we now know, the resources of fossil fuels are not inexhaustible, but they are not currently limited. Therefore a superfluous abundance of energy must be seen as an important „characteristic of the fossil energy system“, while certain attributes of hunter-gatherers and of agrarian societies can be traced back to the fact „that energy had to be used particularly economically“. Only the „huge abundance of energy in the industrial system led to the formation of behavioural structures which seemed absurd as far as energy was concerned. Transport problems, which in agrarian societies could only be solved by careful planning (and the active application of animals), could be dealt with wastefully for years in an industrial age. „If settlement and the special structures in solar energetic societies were constructed on the principle of minimising transport times (and costs), at least since the implementation of the mineral oil economy, transport became an almost cost-free affair. In the development of transport systems, energy consumption is no longer of consequence.“ Even in agriculture much more fossil fuel was invested than could be regained. Under the conditions of industrialism, agriculture stopped cultivating a solar energy system for energy production in order to transform itself into a fossil fuel system of simple material conversion: „it converts carbon dioxide, water and minerals into more or less tasty food, whereupon the energy source is on balance fossil.“4

Obviously the cultural perception of animals began to change dramatically in the course of implementation of industrial forms of life and organisation. The unlimited use of fossil energy sources meant first of all that much of the work done by animals could be completely substituted. Oxen were replaced by tractors, combine harvesters and other agricultural machinery; goats and sheep through the production of synthetic clothing. The cavalry was exchanged for tank divisions; increasingly, the once „knightly“, militarily idealised animals were degraded to draught animals, which were at best used to pull the field kitchen, in which they would be cooked and fed to the soldiers if the need arose. The coaches gave way to engines and automobiles, pack animals to cranes and bulldozers, messenger pigeons to computers and telephones. If one wished to express the basic tendency succinctly, a main theme would have to be the outdoing of agrarian machines by „automatic“ industrial machines, which work, as far as possible, independently. This „improvement“ of agrarian machines can be described as a progressive elimination of animals. For somewhat more than two centuries a creeping exclusion of animals from all relevant social spheres has taken place; and anyone now protesting in the name of their Persian cat or canary does not even know what we are talking about any more. Some new fields of activity have opened up for livestock and pets – for example in drug detection; yet it is easy to imagine that this „occupational therapy“ for otherwise „unemployed“ German Shepherds could also soon be rendered redundant through perfected drug detectors.

The social elimination of useful animals reduced suddenly reduced animals to a single function, which no wild or companion animal has ever had to fulfil on a comparable scale: the function of mass slaughter animals. As soon as animals were no longer needed, they could be eaten; all breeding interests could be brought down to one common denominator as soon as it was clear that the animals would not have to achieve anything else besides becoming big and fat so that they could land in the pan as a steak or cutlet. The slaughterhouse created the precise pendent of energy abundance, which was made possible through the use of fossil fuels: a sheer tireless enterprise for the production of meat for food; sacrificial machinery without any sacrificial ritual. Napoleon Bonaparte had the first slaughterhouses built in Paris: his decree, with which he ordered the erection of public slaughterhouses, was issued in 1807. All butchers were obliged not to slaughter in any other place. „In this way, five slaughterhouses were built outside of the old city walls, three north and two to the south of the Seine. In 1810 Napoleon issued a second decree in which he demanded that public slaughterhouses should be built in all towns in France.“ Only fifty years later intensive efforts were made to replace the Napoleonic abattoirs with more functional newer developments. George Eugéne Haussmann, the powerful prefect of the Seine department, invested more than twenty three million Francs in the erection of the central abattoir La Villette, which was opened on 1st January 1867 – the year of the Parisian World Exhibition. La Villette was „the first central slaughterhouse for a population of a million. According to Haussmann’s own statement, its stalls had room for as many animals as Paris ate in a day“. In his memoirs, Haussmann noted that the „large complex“ was one „of the most important works carried out by my administration, of the same rank as the building of major roads“. At the same time as Haussmann had the central abattoir planned and built however, a ruling was made in Chicago to build the biggest combined livestock market and slaughterhouse of its time – the so-called Union Stock Yards. Soon over five million pigs a year were slaughtered in its labyrinthine wooden halls and sheds, linked by passages, streets, staircases, suspension bridges; crossed with more than a hundred miles of railway tracks. The daily capacity of the facility was even then „around two hundred thousand pigs, a number that La Villette never reached within a year during the same period“. Assembly line slaughter. As Sigfrid Giedion emphasised, in the slaughterhouses of Cincinnati and Chicago mechanised mass extermination was developed and tried out, which – as the „mechanis ation of killing“ – by the Second World War made it possible that whole classes of the population were rendered as defenceless as the slaughter animals, which hung head-down from the conveyor belt, and annihilated with practised neutrality“.5 Humanity has always done unto itself, what it cares to do unto animals.

The rapid expansion of slaughterhouses in France and America corresponded on the other hand with an equally striking increase in a love of animals and downright nostalgic zoophilia. The latterly „useless“ domestic animals returned to the metropolises as zoo and lap animals, as idealised „pets“. Maurice Agulhon has analysed this process, which by the revolution of 1830 had began to establish itself: „At the time of the July-Monarchy the martyrdom of the horse, the cart horses who, reined to carriages or heavy wagons, were subjected to abuse by brutal carters, had become almost commonplace. One could get the impression that all the coach companies of Paris had delivered their horses to a coarse, rough, unqualified sub-proletariat, which knew no instrument other than the whip and insults; we still have the slang expression „jurer comme un charretier“ („cursing like a carter“). If a horse fell to the ground under an excessive weight or because of an acciden! t, the carter did not help the animal by de-reining it or lightening its load; he forced it to stagger back on its feet with kicks to the stomach“.6 Many poets have hauntingly described these scenes: Victor Hugo, Eugène Sue and especially Dostoyevsky.7 Literary accounts combined with public animal welfare debates created „countless images of this type, as if they were as common in the big cities of 1840 as traffic jams and ‘road accidents with body damage‘ are today“.8 The comparison is telling – it broaches the issue of a possible connection between the sympathy for the horses and the technological revolution in transport, which would actually lead to beasts of burden and draught animals being completely replaced. Even before the first law to protect domestic animals, in particular horses, was passed – on the initiative of General Jacques-Philippe Delmas de Grammont im 1850 – the first railway trains were already running. A steam engine began to operate be! tween Darlington and Stockton (England) in 1825; the first continental railway was established between Brussels and Mecheln in1835. The Leipzig – Dresden route (115 km) was opened in 1839and by 1850 Germany had over 5470 km of railway tracks. In the year 1868, shortly after the opening of La Villette, the first „motorbike“ was introduced – a steam powered engine aboard a bicycle frame. From now on vehicles that ran on their own machine power could drive forward, whilst the horses disappeared from the townscape. Not coincidently were the horse drawn trams (in mining) the actual model for railways; not coincidently is the capacity of an automobile still measured in horsepower.

The animals (or humans) were overtaken by the new type of machine. The draught animals’ power to work, built up and sustained through food, which in turn was produced by the (more or less intensively influenced) cycle of the solar energetic system, could be substituted by fossil energy: coal, petrol, all types of fuels. In a way the power output of living animals (or humans) was replaced by the power output of once living plants or animals. If one wanted to hazard a speculation, one would have to argue that the „dead animals“ have prevailed over the „living animals“.


1 Cf. eg: Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, transl. Alan Sheridan. Penguin New Ed., 1991.

2 Ernest Geller attempted to trace the distinctions between agrarian and industrial societies especially through the difference between endo and exosocialisation. Cf. Ernest Geller, Nationalismus and Moderne, Berlin, 1991.

3 Ernest Gellner, Jenseits des Nationalismus? Kulturelle Homogenität und Vielfalt in modernen Gesellschaften. (IKUS-Lectures 3+4. Vienna, Institut für Kulturstudien, 1992) p.39.

4 Rolf Peter Sieferle, Der unterirdische Wald. Energiekrise und Industrielle Revolutio, Munich, 1982, pp.62-64

5 Sigfried Giedion, Die Herrschaft der Mechanisierung. Ein Beitrag zur anonymen Geschichte, Frankfurt/Main, 1982, pp. 238-241 and 277.

6 Maurice Agulhon: Das Blut der Tiere. Das Problem des Tierschutzes im Frankreich des 19. Jahrhunderts. (Der vagabundierende Blick. Für ein neues Verständnis politischer Geschichtsschreibung, Frankfurt, Fischer 1995) p. 119, transl. Michael Bischoff.

7 Cf. Raskolnikov’s dream of horses being killed in the first part of Crime and Punishment: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment, transl. David McDuff , Penguin Classics, 2003.

8 Maurice Agulhon: Das Blut der Tiere, l.c., p. 119.

„Das Mensch-Tier-Verhältnis in der kritischen Theorie“

by Moshe Zuckermann

Civilisation, in the sense of the reproduction of conditions necessary for the continued existence of humanity, has always involved the domination of nature. This domination necessarily involved alienation from nature. Out of this also follows the suppression of the internal nature, and consequently the physiological impulses of the human as an animal. The human’s alienation from his or her self is not least due to this. (…) One can devise a philosophy of animals and ask whether the human or the animal is being referred to. For the Frankfurter School, I would say that both movements are there: one which basically speaks about the animal in order to speak about humans; and another, which naturally never puts itself in the position of the animal, but which does imagine the animal in it’s way of being. The first says: how nice it would be if we were just like the animal! Which, for example, means to imagine a world in which the incomprehensible would enable humans the devotion to their Other. That would entail worshipping a topos of the Romantic – the self- oblivion, the devotion to the objective as animal existence. (…) This is the condition which is offered as the antithesis to the thesis of the conscious being. (…)

A different question entirely would be, whether the Frankfurter School also intend to speak about the animal itself here. But how could the human do anything other than speak about animals as a human? Which conception could there be to speak of animals in their ontology and thus from the perspective of their animality? The German philosophical nineteenth century offered the suggestion of sympathy in connection with this. „Sympathy“ implies a symmetry of suffering. And this notion of sympathy with the Other, also with the creature, is philosophically indebted to Schopenhauer – in a major secular philosophy of compassion, which also addressed the question of compassion towards animals. A major sin in killing animals is to be found in the work of the perhaps most rigorous Schopenhauer follower of the nineteenth century, in Richard Wagner.

Moshe Zuckermann 2002 „Das Mensch-Tier-Verhältnis in der kritischen Theorie“ p24.ff. From „Dem blutigen Zweck der Herrschaft ist die Kreatur nur Mateial“ ,Ed. TAN, Hamburg

„Zur Verteidigung des tierlichen und menschlichen Individuums – Das Widerstandsrecht als legitimer und vernünftiger Vorbehalt des Individuums gegenüber dem Sozialen“ (Excerpt)

by Melanie Bujok

The advancement of society to a better one always contained the germ of repression as it was based on the domination of nature instead of its comprehension.1 This central thesis of the Frankfurter School’s critical theory encompassed a critique of the domination of animals,2 which according to Marcuse, means „directing mastery toward liberation“3. And that demands that the technical reshaping of nature and its historical results of the „twofold domination of nature“ must evoke a twofold liberation of nature: the liberation of the ‚inner nature‘ of humans from the repressive social constraints that appear to be ’second nature‘, as well as the liberation of men’s ‚outer nature‘ – and so, stringently taking the thought further, the liberation of animals. In Horkheimer and Adorno’s critical theory, liberation requires the will to the intellectual negation of the status quo, non-conformity (in Marcuse also political resistance), which sees through the deception of sacrificing animal and human individuals for the unreasonable society. The deception is that the domination of nature does not eliminate the blind natural context in order to reconcile nature with itself through historical labour, but that human society has conformed to the natural growth, imitated and rationalised it.4 The appearance of progress through the domination of nature also rationalised the domination and sacrifice of animals, according to Horkheimer, Adorno and Marcuse; „and the rabbit suffering the torment of the laboratory is seen not as a representative but, mistakenly, as a mere exemplar.“5 The institution of sacrifice, a „historical catastrophe“ an „act of violence, done equally to human beings and to nature“,6 is accepted in current society, a quasi-natural part of its self-image. Acts of violence against animals are consecrated as reasonable; in the sense of advancement, even as necessary, according to the critique of the Frankfurter School, because the human individual, emerging from the domination of nature in the historical process of civilisation, hopes to find his/her own self-preservation in the death of the animal, or even to circumvent his/her own death. Animal research laboratories and slaughterhouses are the sacrificial alters of old and new. The injustice of the violence against animals reinterpreted as the right of people to self-preservation makes any objection appear dumb and unsocial. The „universal solidarity“ demanded by Critical Theory is reduced to the solidarity group of human society – admittedly existing there in appearance only. Those excluded from society are stigmatised as Other, whose inclusion in the idea of universal solidarity endangers the outer boundaries of repressive society. Anyone proclaiming solidarity with the excluded or alienated becomes himself or herself „unreasonable“, „other“ or a „risk“. The mere existence of the Other involves risk because it shows the other possibility, which is denied by the absolute system, in order to stabilise itself. „The existence of one solitary ‚unreasonable‘ man elucidates the shame of the entire nation. His existence testifies to the relativity of the system of radical self- preservation that has been posited as absolute.“7

From this point of view, Critical Theory explains why the presence of animal liberationists at the dining table is an annoyance. The dining party, a micro-social image of society, replicates the ritual of nature domination, in this case, the subjugation of the animal individual as a „sacrificial animal“ through the consumption of this. As „condensed symbols“8, meat and the other „animal products“, reflect the power of human society over „the animal“.9 Anyone refusing complicity to power over animals abnegates the interspecific power structures. Anyone not eating meat (or other parts of animals‘ bodies) does not get a seat at the same table. This explains society’s disapproval of vegans, why they are imputed variously of militancy, illness or bad taste, because they so vividly prove, and therefore make undeniable, the possibility of a life without animal victims, and therefore endanger the spell, the „fetish character of [the animal] merchandise“.10 If the ‚commodity, animal‘ is deconstructed, its character as a thing is shown to be an objectification of social conditions and interests. The everyday practice of consuming parts of the animal’s body, its historical permanence and totality, barely allow a critical reflection – the consciousness is so habitualised, the behaviour towards animals as resources at disposal for human purposes is too ground in, the social order of human-animal relationships is too immune against objections or changes. In the words of the Frankfurter School, the release of consciousness from eversameness – here, the attack on animal individuals – is hindered. (…)

The naturalisation of social power veils its constructed character. The dissociation from the „other animal“ would not be bound so tightly, not be so permanent, were it carried out only cognitively. The codification of the human-animal dichotomy benefits from the social processes, which Bourdieu described as the „somatization of the social relations of domination“. Through a „stroke of violence of the social world“, individuals‘ bodies are „virtually engrained with a perception, value and action programme“ that „functions like a second nature, i.e. with the authoritative and (apparently) blind force of the constructed drive or phantasma. Through a „coup de force, the social world“ inscribes itself in individuals‘ bodies in form of “ a real programme of perception, appreciation and action“ that „functions like a (second, cultivated) nature, i.e. with the authoritative and (apparently) blind force of the (constructed) drive or phantasma.“11 The schemes of perception, value and action of the social world, to which human individuals prereflexively subordinate their socialised bodies12, are provided by „legitimatory machineries of maintainance“13, e.g. theoretical conceptions. The extent to which the prevailing theoretic concepts, which, in social sciences especially, and to some extent in philosophy and the natural sciences, position „human“ and „animal“ antithetically are distorted because usually „he (the analyst) is liable to use as instruments of knowledge schemes of perception and thought which he ought to treat as objects of knowledge“14 is an issue Bourdieu raised in another context. The categories applied have always drawn up the boundary between „the humans“ and „the animals“, because it is a social one. Of course, animal, like human individuals are not identical. But an „emancipated society (…) would be (…) the realization of universality in the reconciliation of differences“; and therefore, as Adorno said, would be „one in which one could be different without fear“.15 (…)

Since animal individuals, as opposed to humans, do not internalise the social constraints of human society, the constraints on them are purely external and therefore especially violent. (…)

The animal individual is de-individualised, anonymised, quantified; and finally disembodied, cut up, prepared; every referral point to a „someone“ is thus annihilated and „something“ is produced. Complex chains of action and the fragmentation of action sequences in a functionally differentiated society render an attribution of responsibility unclear. The act of violence becomes adiaphric, indifferent, irrelevant; possible „moral impulses and evaluation standards of agents, inflamed by the act of violence are neutralised as far as possible.“16 (…)

In his essay, Materialism and Moral, Max Horkheimer formulated the aim of bringing to light the „objective“ of the interests, which lie behind the social norms, and to demonstrate in how far these interests promote or hinder a rational society.17 For its own part, this society can only be conceived of as the negation of the existing, that which is bad, negative; without the possibility of it being reconciled to something positive: „Even in extremis a negated negative is not a positive.“18 „Because the „absolute Other“, as Horkheimer sees rational society, must be produced by social subjects within the process of history – since they are themselves entangled in this – yet history itself, due to its „total decay“, cannot deliver any orientation for action; only critical reflection about existing society in contrast to the imagined rational form of society remains an option. This is to be reflected upon on the basis of the available possibilities, e.g. technological and scientific potential.19

The potentialities of the current global human community hereby deprive the exploitation of animals of the reasons given for its necessity – to alleviate hardship and to enable self-assertion – and unmask animal exploitation for what it is: a business.

However, contrary to Adorno and Horkheimer’s pessimism of ever being able to substantiate the contents of a rational practice, this is characterised by the declaration of that what it has to negate in each of the social and historical realities, which then urges towards overcoming these practically: „It is possible to identify the bad of the prevailing society but not a praxis leading to change towards something good. But it is only possible to labour that finally the bad will distinguish.“20 Or as Marcuse put it more explicitly: „The elimination of violence, and the reduction of suppression to the extent required for protecting man and animals from cruelty and aggression are preconditions for the creation of a humane society.“21 And elsewhere: „[…] the experience and understanding of the existent society may well be capable of identifying what is not conducive to a free and rational society […]. Freedom is liberation, a specific historical process in theory and practice, and as such it has its right and wrong, its truth and falsehood.“22 (…)

How is a general interest in the liberation of animals from the structures of violence of the speciesist society to be generated, since animals cannot be subjects of their own liberation due to their real powerlessness? Their powerlessness is total and therefore so terribly cruel. No dissent with which they can confront societies stories, no deed with which they can escape the violent hand of the animal exploiting industries. Animals cannot even conceive of there being people who are fighting in solidarity with them and for their liberation. No protest, no resistance, no getting away, no concrete hope – totalitarian unfreedom and powerlessness. Animals are subject to the absolute force of human domination; the force is, as already mentioned, external and not internalised. For that reason, animals are in chains that are entirely material. For them, the society of humans, in any of its historical forms, was never one, which would have freed them from the fears of the so-called natural condition: the constant latent threat to life and limb. Human society is for them this „natural condition“. Within it most animals are in absolute danger. In this social reality, however, it is a danger that no longer comprises the extreme situation, but everyday normality, that which is, for the individual animals affected by the violence, the ultimate, the worst evil.

The constant pain inflicted on or expected by so-called livestock animals, the isolation, leads to imprisoned animals becoming completely lethargic or to mania, as can be observed in most modern animal prisons. Finally, outwardly regarded, it leads to annihilation of the animals‘ individuality: their consisting of pain and suffering inwardly equals the loss of their delimitation outwardly. Blurring the boundaries, animals are made to fit in the social environment so that their bodies seem to be one with it: appear to be an amorphous „biomass“ in the great outdoors or in „animal rearing units“ at one with the cage bars, with the stalls, with the fabric of animal exploitation, which viewed from outside makes up the body of the „animal machine“. Present, animals become absent, their bodies disappear; begin to in the „keeping of animals“ and definitively in the cruel torture of vivisection, in slaughter and hunting etc. In institutionalised animal exploitation (as opposed to private violence against animals) the torture23 of their bodies and minds is not the end but the means – to keep the material of false progress and to continually oppress animals. (…)

Where violence is ubiquitary, the extreme state of emergency is socially repealed; tyranny is clothed as law and order. Violence against animals is semantically renamed as production, research, conservation, zoo or show, the act of violence linguistically neutralised to avoid scandalising, dramatising and ultimately politicising24. (…)

As the true being of animal individuals, as opposed to their capacity for suffering (…) cannot be directly experienced, only refraining from all deliberate curtailment of individual animals‘ freedom by humans remains as the obligation to the truth in all human-animal relationships. The animal individual must remain an „unavailable entity“25 because every determination of its being and its will would be violence against it. The rejection of institutional violence against animals means eliminating social coercion against animals. The domination over animals is a historical reality, and a catastrophe, not the natural laws of evolution. (…)

The banishment of animals from social-political considerations in all affirmative theories, despite its literal socialisation […], is justified by the trick of a change of perspective: that from the state of society that has just been described, to the „state of nature“. The „state of nature“ in which they could defend themselves, at least an imagined symmetry, or at any rate chaos in which they could save their own skins has been abolished; at the same time, in these societal conditions, animals are still being treated and combated as „wolves of the natural condition“, although they have long been defenceless. (…)

The living reality of animals is now one that is always formed by humans; a spatial beyond no longer exists, and always was seldom. Humans and animals have always been inhabitants of the same spaces, always contemporaries of a shared history, even if it is one that has mainly been imposed on animals. Through the existing entanglement of a so-called natural-geographic environment and the social organisation and culture of societies, but above all through the omnipresence of the destructiveness of capitalism and imperialism – in whatever historical form it appears – and a global dereliction of all beauty, animals are nowhere „untouched“ by the social; as animals they remain within a society of humans. As their legitimate freedom and their abilities must be made possible and animals must have the potential to realise freedom, in this „administered world“ animals are mainly dependent on people’s cooperation – solidarity and the provision of possibilities.

Techniques of dissociation and desensitising of speciesist society shatter a practice in solidarity with animals. If the injustice towards animals does become too clear for a moment, penetrates too deeply into the consciousness, so that cognitive dissonance26 and emotional disturbance eliminate the mindlessness normally used to gaze past the suffering of animals, the speciesist institutions send forth their demagogy to set things right again with the help of myths. One is the Lupus Myth, the admonition to the „natural state“, in which the human and mouse and all were against all wolves, in which constant fear of death and the merciless fight for existence reigned. And yet even the wolf himself was never a true wolf. Harking back to the Lupus Myth, the mass media reports of „killer sharks“, „killer minks“, „devil dogs“, „flying vermin“ and the „problem bear“. The fear of the ungoverned calls for control/order. The animal „monster“ has to be created, in order to keep the emotional, cognitive and social distance from the animal and not to place the sacrifice of animals into doubt. „The animal to be devoured must be evil“, according to Adorno, „the not-I, l’autrui [French: the others], all that reminds us of nature is inferior, so the unity of the self-preserving thought may devour it without misgivings.“27 (…)

Every single attack by an animal individual against a human one gets generalised to an attack of „the animals“ on humanity, which justifies the total violent access of social institutions on every animal individual, like an equivalent exchange of mortal fears, which in reality is extremely asymmetric. A dog bite legitimates a whole era of animal suffering, which every day is a dies ater. (…) In this (…) deceit of the animal, his potential threat is used against him to deny him solidarity, although just before, a lack of potential threat was alleged, which excluded animals as addressees of justice. In actual fact, animals are only seldom a threat; all the slaves in the animal factories and laboratories are obviously none. Anyone who seriously claims to be threatened in body or soul by even one of the hecatombs of chickens, cattle, fish, mice, guinea pigs … that are second for second violently exterminated by society stupefies his or her self and insults the intelligence of others‘. Most animals practice a refusal to kill de facto. (…)

The Enlightenment must (…) be fully thought out, brought to its identity, also on the animals‘ terms, because the true thought insists on this. And it is therefore duty in the fight for animal rights and liberation to remember the ideas of the Enlightenment and to demand these for peaceable human-animal relations; concretely that means to demand freedom for animals (as the absence of violence and annihilation through humans as well as of unreasonable restrictions of freedom) and solidarity with animals (as active partiality and assistance, especially in defending their lives and their freedom in the sense of solidarity). With the negation of animal exploitation, the goal of animal liberation, as a demand critical of domination, must be brought on the way to a complete upheaval of the existing bad whole in order to achieve the promise of a rational society, as is promised in nature. That this promise does not apply to animals is an axiomatic aberration of affirmative theory against animals, which, as already stated, mostly holds dear the reciprocity postulate (animals don’t recognise the rights of humans either), or constructs lifeboat cases: the boat is too small and one has to get out – „human“ or „animal“? These scenarios, which always drift past reality – humans do not die or become ill when there are no more slaughterhouses or animal research laboratories – have become general knowledge: „Should testing be done on humans (or even children) then?“ Lifeboat cases hardly ever exist in the reality of human-animal relationships – there is no human adversity that requires a sacrificial animal for its alleviation. These are not, as the image of the lifeboat might suggest, decisions of particular, hopeless situations, which demand either/or decisions. Hence they cannot be generalised or boiled down to plain recipe knowledge. The boat is always too small for the humans, whose innermost – their wishes, needs, feelings, and imagination – has been narrowed by society; and the construed Strangers, human or animal, get thrown overboard. Because human individuals have the potential to build larger, or a larger number, of boats, or ones that don’t sink as easily, also more beautiful boats, the hopelessness of escape from the Enlightenment’s dialectic is all the more incomprehensible and unacceptable. (…)

As the suffering of all „torturable bodies“ is objective, the cessation of deliberately inflicted suffering is not an actionistic Odyssey, which elevates its means to a fetish, as Adorno criticised of pseudo-activity28, but as praxis preceded by reflection upon its purposes. With the direct closure of animal exploitation enterprises, the disposal of the executioner’s tools, the destruction of the killing machinery, the act(-)ual opening of shackles and cages, not only has a means to negate animal exploitation been described, but the rational has actually been reached: liberation.

As shown at the beginning, the structures of domination are inscribed on the body. And with the body, comes a possible boundary of negation. The incorporation of the fundamental structures of a society, the „second nature“ may be negated, but not the „first nature“, the body itself, for otherwise it would become nothing. The body is always something positive. Therefore, there is at least the possibility to offer the body, freed from violent influences, as a positive statement about „rational society“. And because of the fact that societal force against the bodies of animals is applied externally, as stated earlier, and does not become „second nature“ to them, the animal individual (as opposed to humans) becomes liberated from society’s coercion the moment that the mechanisms of violence are halted and it is freed from its cage. Therefore, contrary to Adorno’s denial, even in the prevailing bad whole, certain particulars can be turned to good, even though in view of the gigantic size of the „existing negatives“ the particular may seem marginal; for the individual animals it is everything: their lives. The destruction of their bodies could not be reversed; their bodies could not be substituted. The liberation of their bodies makes animals differentiable, truly individual, present. And, as physically present, they are witness to all the suffering that is inflicted on them; the „coup de force of the social world“ is made visible on their bodies, and thereby perceptible and protestable. This is one reason why the state authorities, accomplices of the animal exploitation industry, pursue so repressively activists who directly liberate animals from cages.29 Animal liberationists reverse the previously described anonymisation of the victims and perpetrators, break the spell of reification, re-establish the relation of, recreate the points of reference, and name those responsible. Animal exploitation no longer appears as an unchangeable state of affairs, but an affair with perpetrators and victims. The animal victim loses its status as a commodity: that animal „thing“ becomes a „being“ and, recognised as such, all the still-imprisoned „beings“ urge for their liberation.

First published in „Das steinerne Herz der Unendlichkeit erweichen“, Ed. Susann Witt-Stahl, Alibri Verlag, 2007, pp. 310-343.


1 Max Horkheimer, „The End of Reason“, Studies in Philosophy and Social Science Vol. IX, 3, 1941, p. 387.

2 That „for the Critical Theory [… the] universal-emancipatory orientation“ is constituative that recognised animal individuals explicitly […] as oppressed, exploited and degraded by society and its structures of power and violence – and did not use animals only as metaphors for „human distress“ is something Birgit Mütherich discussed in detail (Birgit Mütherich, Die Problematik der Mensch-Tier-Beziehung in der Soziologie: Weber, Marx und die Frankfurter Schule, Münster 2000, p.150ff)

3 Herbert Marcuse, , p.251.One Dimensional Man:. Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, London, 1964, p 240.

4 Max Horkheimer, cited by:Carl-Friedrich Geyer, Kritische Theorie: Max Horkheimer und Theodor W. Adorno, Freiburg i.Br/Munich 1982, p.66.

5 Max Horkheimer/Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment. Philosophical Fragments,

6 Ibid

7 Max Horkheimer, The End of Reason, Studies in Philosophy and Social Science Vol. IX, 3, 1941, p. 385.

8 Mary Douglas, Natural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology, London, 1996

9 Nick Fiddes, Meat: A Natural Symbol, London. 1991

10 Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, transl. by E.B. Ashton, London 1973, p. 346. Part III. Models. World-spirit and Natural History. Excursus on Hegel,

11 Pierre Bourdieu, Die männliche Herrschaft“, in Ein alltägliches Spiel, Irene Dölling/Beate Krais (eds.), Frankfurt/Main 1997, p.168

12 Ibid, p. 165

13 Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, New York 1966

14 Pierre Bourdieu, Masculine Domination, California, 2001, p. 115

15 Theodor W.Adorno, Minima Moralia, Reflexionen aus dem beschädigten Leben, in his Gesammelte Schriften, Rolf Tiedemann (ed.) and Gretel Adorno/Susan Buck-Morss/Klaus Schultz, Frankfurt a.Main 2003, 4, p.116

16 The term „adiaphorising“ was coined by Zygmunt Baumann, quoted in Rainer E. Wiedenmann, „Die Fremdheit der Tiere. Zum Wandel der Ambivalenz von Mensch-Tier-Beziehungen“ ,in: Tiere und Menschen. Geschichte und Aktualität eines prekären Verhältnisses, Paul Münch/ Rainer Walz Eds., Paderborn, 2nd edition,1999, p.375.

17 See Geyer, Kritische Theorie, p. 121, note 4

18 Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, transl. by E.B. Ashton, London 1973, p. 393

19 See Reinhard Kager, Herrschaft und Versöhnung, Einführung in das Denken Theodor W. Adornos, Frankfurt a. Main/New York 1988, p.87. Horkheimer also speaks of „boundless torture [of animals] performed without a break in the middle of society“ (Max Horkheimer, „Erinnerung“, in: Das Recht der Tiere, issue 1/2, Munich 1959, p.7, quoted in Mütherich, Die Problematik der Mensch-Tier- Beziehung in der Soziologie, [see note 2].

20 Max Horkheimer, „Kritische Theorie gestern und heute“ in his Gesellschaft im Übergang. Aufsätze, Reden und Vorträge 1942-70, Ed. Werner Brede, Frankfurt am Main 1972, p.164

21 Herbert Marcuse, „Repressive Tolerance“, in Wolf, Moore, Marcuse, A Critique of Pure Tolerance, Boston 1969, p. 82

22 Ibid, p. 87

23 Horkheimer also spoke of an „excess of torture (of animals) constantly committed amid society“

24 Cf. Peter Imbusch, „Der Gewaltbegriff“, in Internationales Handbuch der Gewaltforschung, Ed. Wilhelm Heitmeyer/John Hagen, Wiesbaden 2002, p. 52. Cf also Michael Fischer, „Mensch-Tier-Vergleiche und die Skandalisierung von Gewalt“ in: Kriminologisches Journal, 33/1, 2001, pp. 2-6

25 The idea of the „unavailable“ is based on Annette Barkhaus und Anne Fleig gebraucht (Annette Barkhaus/Anne Fleig, „Körperdimensionen oder die unmögliche Rede von Unverfügbarem“, in Grenzverläufe. Der Körper als Schnittstelle, Ed. Barkhaus/Fleig, Munich 2002, pp.20-23).

26 The term „cognitive dissonance“ comes from Leon Feistinger’s Psychological Dissonance theory (1957).

27 Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, transl. by E.B. Ashton, London 1973, pp.22f.

28 Theodor W. Adorno, „Catchwords, Critical Models 2“, in his Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords, transl. and with a preface by Henry W. Pickford, New York 1998, p.269.

29 The rage against the animal victim, which was explained elsewhere, is now directed against animal rights activists and animal liberationists – they are „monsters“, „terrorists“. In the USA a federal law was passed to protect animal exploitation businesses, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, which pursues every successful attempt to cause animal exploiters economic damage, e.g. through the direct liberation of animals, as „Animal Enterprise Terrorism“ (Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992. Public Law 102-346-Aug., 1992, 102nd US Congress, in