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Tales Of Cruelty And Belonging: In Search Of An Ethic For Urban Human-Wildlife Relations, Erin Luther Jan 2013

Tales Of Cruelty And Belonging: In Search Of An Ethic For Urban Human-Wildlife Relations, Erin Luther

Animal Studies Journal

In the summer of 2011, a Toronto resident was charged with animal cruelty for beating a litter of ‘nuisance’ raccoons in his backyard with a shovel. The subsequent media furore, and the organisation of a local anti-raccoon rally, revealed deep tensions in narratives of urban belonging. This paper looks at how the rhetoric of animal cruelty is grounded in notions of civility that police the moral boundaries of the city. I discuss possibilities for an ethic to guide urban human-wildlife that can challenge the limiting framework of civility and move toward a deeper recognition of our non-human neighbours.