Introduction: Rights for Whom?
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This introduction summarizes how Murdering Animals crisscrosses the intersections of animal rights theory, criminology and the history of the fine and performing arts. It is the first text in any discipline to argue that if the killing of an animal by a human is as harmful to her as homicide is to a human, then the proper naming of such a death—‘theriocide’—offers a remedy, however small, to the extensive privileging of human lives over those of other animals. Whether the focus is on prose, painting, poetry or a play, each chapter addresses the killing of animals by humans, except for Chap. 6, the repeatedly threatening images of which unfold as the homicide of a father seemingly twice committed by his son. Though each of the chapters can stand alone, I hope it is not too fanciful to suggest that each also leads into the next and at strategic points dissects the others.