The book Fear of the Animal planet, by Jason Hribal (2010) documents the numerous accounts of animal resistance in modern history: elephants and tigers who escape from the circusses and attack their abusers, monkeys who manage to flee from laboratories, orcas and sea lions who show their resistance to captivity and abuse.
The zoos, circusses and other facilities uphold a narrative of these being exceptions and very rare occassions, they portray the animals as having gone ‘wild’, denying them agency, they promise to take measures so this can’t happen again, and they strictly control the info that gets out to the public.
But as becomes clear from the numerous stories in the book, these are all but exceptions. And the animals certainly do have agency, and they firmly resist their oppression and abuse. They are not voiceless and we shouldn’t portray them as voiceless.
The book is very accessibly written and reads like a train. I sometimes found it difficult to discern the different stories as Hribal sometimes skips back and forth between different stories.
I also would have liked to see some more in depth analysis, instead of the journalistic accounts.
But all in all, defintely interesting to read, and after reading this you will certainly see that next tiger escape in the zoo in another perspective.
This is one of the last photos from our visit to Barcelona. We had about 5 minutes left before we needed to go the airport. I so wanted to see the whale statue El Peix from the other side (and in the sunshine), but helas, we didn’t have any more time to go to the other side.
For all the whales and other animals ✊🐾🐳
Jason Hribal (2010) Fear of the Animal planet. The Hidden History of Animal Resistance, Counter Punch & AK Press.