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Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation

4.63  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  22 reviews
A beautifully written, deeply provocative inquiry into the intersection of animal and disability liberation—and the debut of an important new social critic

How much of what we understand of ourselves as “human” depends on our physical and mental abilities—how we move (or cannot move) in and interact with the world? And how much of our definition of “human” depends on its
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by The New Press (first published October 27th 2015)
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Corvus
This book is spectacular. Carol Adams told me about this book about a year before it came out when I was talking to her at a conference. I mentioned that I don't know a lot of people who write about the intersection of disability and animal liberation and she told me that "Beasts of Burden" was in the works. I also read Sunaura Taylor's contribution to the Ecofeminism anthology which completely rocked my world. From that point forward, I eagerly awaited the release date of Sunaura Taylor's book. ...more
Kate Savage
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sunaura Tayler 'crips' animal liberation and critiques speciesist trends in ableism. The result is beautiful.

I've never encountered such a thoughtful, caring critical theory about other species. Those who care about other species need this: we need new ways to think about dependence and worth. I don't want to slide into that eco-theory that hates all domesticated beasts for being dependent. I don't want to slide into that veganism that idolizes thinness and health. And I also don't w
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Ireene
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I learned so much from this book and realised that I have so much more to learn. A must read for sure!
Madeline
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Yes!
Dominic
"If animal and disability oppression are entangled, might not that mean their paths of liberation are entangled as well?"

Mainstream animal rights and liberation discourse has, for the longest time, rested on a number of troubling arguments about personhood and sentience. In Animal Liberation (1975), the foundational text of contemporary animal rights discourse, Peter Singer famously writes that because humans and nonhuman animals both possess the capacity to suffer, both should be given equal considerat
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Jess
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacie
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lit-theory
This was so, so good.
Andrew
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely necessary, approachable, and nuanced interrogation of the way ableism and speciesism interconnect in assumptions of value, labour, self-determination, and ethical consideration.
Katherine Ripley
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! I have already been vegan for 2 years, but reading this book helped me to confront my ableism, whether it was informing some of my views on animal liberation, or just operating in every day life. Taylor’s argument is well-written, coherent, and powerful.
Heather
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I checked this book out. I had been interested in it thanks to a promotional article shared with me about a year or so ago, but since my background for the subject material was a single college-level survey of disability studies and maybe seeing some clips of Food, Inc. in high school, I could imagine the analysis getting away from me very fast.

Once I started, though, it was hard to stop. I was fascinated! Taylor makes a compelling analysis of how
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Corey Wrenn
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books ever to be written on intersectional veganism. This book covers the basics of disability and animal rights (such as the problematic cognitive arguments often made to promote animal rights and the problems with using disability to justify vivisection), making it appropriate for the novice. It also explores some of the more nuanced issues. The chapter challenging the negative portrayal of dependency (a quality that applies to all beings in the social world, not just ...more
Marcus Ogle Luta
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I applaud Sunaura’s ability at making this an accessible reading and I also believe this to be an important book. I felt hesitant the entire time I read this book believing that I would eventually run into something that would ruin my experience with this book for me. However- Sunaura surprised me by not demonstrating any of the problematic things I feared reading a book by a middle-class white vegan womxn.

With that being said, something that constantly came to mind when reading is that this bo
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E.F.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A strikingly concise and insightful work of urgent importance. Connecting multiple movements toward a framework for social justice, Taylor's criticisms of the shortcomings of theoretical thinking about movements for animal justice reveal the profoundly ableist assumptions at work in much of that work while establishing a new framework that brilliantly re-imagines vulnerability, interdependence, and community. by reframing conversations of ability around social rather than medical models, Taylor ...more
Sdubby
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, Sunaura Taylor has a lot of great references and did an excellent job researching the information and backing up her opinions. She did a great job of explaining the similarities and differences with the animal welfare movement and disability rights and activism. The author brought up a lot of good questions about both topics, and exposed some flaws in logic and reasoning that other people have. My one criticism of this book is that it brought up many more questions th ...more
Bobby
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's not an easy thing to do, but I believe that Sunaura Taylor pulled off what she set out to do: to show a link between our attitude toward animals and our attitude toward the disabled. I came away from this book with an increased perspective on animal liberation but also increased compassion for the disabled and how society's biases (carnism and ableism) taint our perspectives on animals and the disabled alike. By the time I was done, it seemed that my soul was bigger and broader than when I ...more
tris
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, veganism
everyone should read this.

tbh, i could have used a whole book branching off of the "freak of nature" chapter. biggest overall complaint is probably that it just didn't.....go hard enough, feeling mostly like food for thought rather than trying to dissect and dismantle opposing lines of thought - but not everyone wants to write that book. it certainly wasn't ineffectual in terms of argumentation, and managed to maybe turn me around on my views on the future of domestication.
Cat
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
A whole new perspective on the underlying frameworks underpinning disability and domesticated animals. The writing style and organization left a lot to be desired.
Ian
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Was not expecting the author to have a go at Temple Grandin's nonsense, but boy was i happy for it.
G.B. Gabbler
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Gabbler Recommends.
Dayton
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's perhaps not surprising that this challenged and expanded my thinking on (dis)ability, something I haven't (yet!) read much about. But it did the same for my thinking on animals (human and nonhuman), illuminating under-covered aspects of their oppression and altering how I understand domestication and dependency. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in building a just society--in the animal or disability movements as well as the broader Left, which needs these ideas urgently.< ...more
Shelby barker
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
life changing

this book literally changed how i view disability activism and animal rights activism in a way i have never experienced. i am a disabled vegan and yet i never knew how little i knew. this book is a great read and it references many books that also sound interesting. i will re read and i recommended it to my professors
Pandaduh
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was an eye-opener. This is, so far, the only Disability Liberation work I’ve ever read. I brought a lot of biases and assumptions to the table and am leaving with a greater understanding of my ableism–including within how I conducted my animal rights advocacy. Ableism and carnism and patriarchy and racism and sexism and speciesism are linked. I knew that. But they are linked in such a way that even fighting against one can undermine the fight against another. It will take careful pract ...more
Abhijit Muduganti
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Jun 26, 2019
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Mar 27, 2019
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Jul 14, 2017
Jessie
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Feb 19, 2019
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Sep 10, 2019
Eric
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Apr 12, 2017
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“Denying someone [else] justice just because you do not yet have your own is never a good idea. I am also convinced we cannot have disability liberation without animal liberation--they are intimately tied together. What if, rather than dismissing or disassociating for the struggle of animals, we embraced what political theorist Claire Jean Kim calls an 'ethics of avowal,' a recognition that oppressions are linked, and that we can be 'open in meaningful and sustained way to the suffering and claims of other subordinated groups, even or perhaps especially in the course of political battle'? Compassion is not a limited resource.” 1 likes
“It's not that there are no challenges to becoming a vegetarian or vegan, but in the media, including authors of popular books on food and food politics, contribute to the 'enfreakment' of what is so often patronizingly referred to as the vegan or vegetarian 'lifestyle.' But again, the marginalization of those who care about animals is nothing new. Diane Beers writes in her book For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States that 'several late nineteenth-century physicians concocted a diagnosable for of mental illness to explain such bizarre behavior. Sadly, they pronounced these misguided souls suffered from "zoophilpsychosis."' As Beers describes, zoophilpsychosis (an excessive concern for animals) was more likely to be diagnosed in women, who were understood to be 'particularly susceptible to the malady.' As the early animal advocacy movement in Britain and the United States was largely made up of women, such charges worked to uphold the subjugation both of women and of nonhuman animals.” 1 likes
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