Djurens bästa vänner : Djurskydd, djurplågeri, och kultur i den svenska efterkrigstidens riksdagsdebatter
Sammanfattning: While public opinion and previous research on the emergence of the first comprehensive animal welfare law in Sweden in 1944 has regarded it as a natural development of the animal welfare debates around the turn of the century, new research on the subject has problematized this view, instead pointing out the law of 1944 as a discursive break, in which the “animal welfare regime” emerged out of the previous “anti-cruelty regime”. This study focuses on the period of time after this break, from 1944 to 1973, examining this relatively unexplored part of Swedish animal welfare history by turning to the parliamentary debates of the time and looking at which practices were problematized and on which grounds, as well as how the line was drawn between acceptable animal use and unacceptable animal (ab)use. In doing so the study aims to explore the consequences of the aforementioned break in Swedish political discourse. The main argument of the study is that while the debates might seem to be about animal welfare, the main issue was in fact often not animals but humans, and differing conceptions of who was truly a “friend of the animals”, as opposed to a primitive, uncultured, brute. Human animal use as such was thus never questioned, instead the focus lay on specific practices such as recreational hunting and factory farming. In trying to draw a line between these practices, the members of parliament critical of the current state of affairs employed arguments which, inadvertently, could be interpreted as an attack on human animal use as such. In doing so, they activated the discursive mechanisms of control of the animal welfare regime, one of which the study identifies as a reversal of the logic of equivalence used by the reformist members of parliament before 1944.
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