Kasandra L. David
Feminist Empiricism and the Livestock Industry
By, Kasandra L. David, Activist Scholar
Today there is considerable research on the connection between the oppression of women and the oppression of non-human animals. However, that relationship is often absent in research that documents the livestock industry’s material conditions. A particularly relevant example is Stull and Broadway’s Slaughterhouse Blues. Although Stull and Broadway mention that where meatpacking facilities set up, domestic violence becomes the number one reported crime, they fail to address women’s issues in their recommendations for communities living with the industry. I argue that their omission is more than an a mere oversight. Rather, it is a necessary result of analysis lacking a feminist lens. In order to resolve or even just ameliorate the livestock industry’s various harms it is necessary to use knowledge-gathering practices that internalize feminist values. Otherwise only symptoms reveal themselves and the critical factors sustaining the industry’s various oppressions will remain hidden. Said another way, feminist epistemology is necessary to any substantive effort to change how non-human animals intended to be food are treated, as well as industry workers, and their families. Efforts that fail to use feminist epistemology are doomed to be inadequate since the industry’s sexism will remain hidden and thus be unaddressed when such an epistemology is not used.
Kasandra L. David is an activist-scholar-philosopher combination from Toledo, Ohio. Her research is primarily in epistemology and applied ethics, which she sees as mutually dependent on one another. Anything she writes has three commitments: good philosophy encourages action in the social realm, is motivated by relevant data, and can be communicated in such a way that a diverse audience can appreciate it. Currently her activism is focused on the Black Lives Matter movement in Toledo. She teaches philosophy at the University of Toledo and is also a professional dog groomer. She is a longtime vegan and animal liberationist, and a caretaker to two horses, three dogs, a cat, and a rat.