I had the pleasure of presenting at the American Sociological Conference last August in San Francisco with a panel of several talented female scholars in the field of Animals & Society. One such presentation, that of Racine Jacques, a Ph.D. student at the University of Central Florida, especially caught my attention because of its implications for vegan feminist theory. Ms. Jacques had discovered a very strong relationship between rape and the presence of “beef” slaughterhouses in the community. This relationship remained strong even when controlling for a number of other variables typically responsible for increases in crime rates. She reports that the presence of a slaughterhouse corresponds with a 166% increase in arrests for rape. Her study looks at other forms of crime, but rape stands out as especially significant.
This study partially confirms what vegan feminist scholars have been theorizing for some decades: Violence against women and violence against animals are closely entangled and likely aggravated by patriarchal rule and capitalist economics. In a society where the bodies of women and other animals are considered commodities and resources for the privileged, it should come as no surprise to find intersections of violence.
Ms. Racine’s study, “Social Disorganization in Slaughterhouse Communities,” is due to be published in an upcoming issue of Society & Animals. A more nuanced discussion of the race and class oppression felt by the slaughterhouse workers themselves is included in her analysis.