How and why do people "frame" animals so pervasively, and what are the ramifications of this habit? For animals, being put into a cultural frame (a film, a website, a pornographic tableau, an advertisement, a cave drawing, a zoo) means being taken out of their natural contexts, leaving them somehow displaced and decontextualized. Human vision of the animal equates to power over the animal. We envision ourselves as monarchs of all we survey, but our dismal record of polluting and destroying vast swaths of nature shows that we are indeed not masters of the ecosphere. A more ethically accurate stance in our relationship to animals should thus challenge the omnipotence of our visual access to them.
About the Author
RANDY MALAMUD Professor of English at Georgia State University, USA. He is the author of Reading Zoos: Representations of Animals and Captivity (1998); Poetic Animals and Animal Souls (2003); and A Cultural History of Animals in the Modern Age (2007). He is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and a Patron of the Captive Animals' Protection Society.