Eating E.T.: Carnism and Speciesism
This article takes as its point of departure an event in which a plant-based version of the space alien, the Extra-Terrestrial (‘E.T.’), from the science fiction film bearing its name, was barbecued and served as a meal to participants at a conference. The soy dish produced different reactions: some laughed, while others seemed appalled. These different sentiments provide the basis for a broad green cultural criminology analysis of the traditions of meat-eating, tracing its role in human history and in the barbecue. The purpose of this is to explore why humans treat different categories of animals so differently. To understand the reactions the meal produced, the article addresses two contrasting aspects of the human–non-human animal relationship—‘carnism’ and ‘pet-keeping’—and contemplates these in relation to the reactions to eating E.T. The goal is to expand on the study of the human–animal relationship, particularly speciesism—understood as ideology and practice that legitimise and produce animal abuse through the analytical concept categorical discriminatory speciesism.
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