Edited – February 2017 to reflect the constantly changing pet food industry.
I’m a bad cat mom.
No really, I am. I’ve been free feeding my three cats and giving them dry food exclusively.
Okay maybe that was a bit extreme. I’m not a bad cat mom, but I feel like one. I just didn’t know any better. I’ve been feeding my cats Orijen dry food for a long time. I thought I was doing great. I did my research, I knew it was the best dry food out there and “grain free,” what I didn’t know was that an exclusive dry food diet is bad for both cats and dogs, but more specifically cats. Cats are notoriously bad drinkers, and with dry food being, well, dry many cats are chronically dehydrated which can cause kidney issues, UTI’s, and an array of other health issues. Not to mention dry food is high in carbohydrates, and even the best dry food contains fillers such as fruits and vegetables that cats, natural carnivores, don’t need much of. With pet food companies regularly issuing recalls, or even being sued for killing hundreds of animals, perhaps its time to rethink the quality of the food we’re feeding our pets.
Feminism and the animal welfare are movements tightly intertwined. Like women, animals have historically been considered the “Other,” or “less than.” Our personhood serves as the elite leader in the hierarchy, deeming that non-human animals are less important than humans. But it wasn’t so long ago that women were also considered less than, only to be an extension of their fathers or husbands and unable to vote, own property, or make decisions independent of a man. Women were owned by men much in the same way non-human animals are today. There is perhaps an even a more specifically connection between farm animals and women, animals that are used for their commodification which is rooted in sexism. Today it’s estimated that the majority of people fighting for animal rights are women, suggesting a female-centric perspective between humans and non-human animals.
Chickens are arguably the most abused animals on earth, and viewed as one of the least deserving of ethical treatment and protection. Karen Davis argues in her piece Thinking Like a Chicken: Farm Animals And The Feminine Connection that “nonhuman animals are oppressed by basic strategies and attitudes that are similar to those operating in the oppression of women, it is also true that men have traditionally admired and even sought to emulate certain kinds of animals, even as they set out to subjugate and destroy them, whereas they have not traditionally admired or sought to emulate women.” Indeed, as Davis points out literature is ripe with examples of men emulating powerful creatures like the lion or whale while women are subjugated to comparisons to”weak” animals like the cow, or chicken.