Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Representations of Animals in Mass Media

While at the International Society for Anthrozoology conference in Toronto, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Emmanuel Gouabault. Currently, he is a postdoctoral fellow in a research team investigating trends in how Swiss mass media portray animals.

This team hypothesizes that, over the last 30 years, portrayals became more sympathetic overall but that more negative views have recently emerged -- and they provide as examples BSE, avian flu, and dangerous dogs. Note that their examples all refer to human health.

One question that arises from their work, for me at least, is: To the extent that animals and animal-sourced foods contribute to human health, how can threats to human health be publicly acknowledged without generating panic, undermining animal welfare, and deepening social inequalities locally and on a global scale?

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