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date: 23 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces the field of animal studies as an interdisciplinary scholarly endeavor to understand the relationship humans have with other animals. That relationship is mapped into five major categories, reflected in the titles of each of the handbook’s five parts: “Animals in the Landscape of Law, Politics and Public Policy”; “Animal Intentionality, Agency, and Reflexive Thinking”; “Animals as Objects in Science, Food, Spectacle and Sport”; “Animals in Cultural Representations”; and “Animals in Ecosystems.” The chapters in each part are summarized and key issues in the “animal question” are explicated. Chapter topics include animals in research, entertainment, law, political theory, public policy, agency, tourism and ecology. Concluding remarks include an appeal for altruistic coexistence for all beings in the earth’s ecosystem.

Keywords: politics, legal status, public policy, no-kill shelters, agency, intentionality, human-animal bond, property, critical animal studies, coexistence

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