The instrumentalization of rights and interests for furthering political and economic ends is a common phenomenon in contemporary societies. Routinely, these are a trojan horse to political goals that involve discrimination of disempowered groups. This phenomenon of instrumentalization is present in many social phenomena; a less explored phenomenon where this has been researched is this instrumentalization with respect to animal protection law. In this article, I explore how American animal law is instrumentalized to privilege the animal farming industry and disadvantage disempowered groups. I explain how American animal law tends to further disempower individuals according to class and perceived ethnicity. I present this argument by showing that the United States’ law treats animal farming practices differently from other animal practices, especially those practices of disadvantaged class and ethnic groups. Although some differences are sometimes morally justified, I argue that there is no plausible moral justification for this difference in treatment. Instead, all the arguments for exceptionalism can be refuted. I finish by presenting two sets of arguments to show that the hidden purpose of this different treatment is to facilitate and maintain the ongoing functioning of the animal farm industry while at the same time scapegoating disempowered groups as the agents of animal cruelty.


animal farming, privilege, race and ethnicity, class, animal law, racialization, legal discrimination

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)