Animal Death
Animal Death
Edited by Jay Johnston and Fiona Probyn-Rapsey
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781743320235

Animal death is a complex,uncomfortable, depressing, motivating and sensitive topic. For those scholars participating in human–animal studies, it is – accompanied by the concept of ‘life’ – the ground upon which their studies commence, whether those studies are historical, archaeological, social, philosophical, or cultural. It is a tough subject to face, but as this volume demonstrates, one at the heart of human–animal relations and human–animal studies scholarship.

… books have power. Words convey moral dilemmas. Human beings are capable of being moral creatures. So it may prove with the present book. Dear reader, be warned. Reading about animal death may prove a life-changing experience. If you do not wish to be exposed to that possibility, read no further ... In the end, by concentrating our attention on death in animals, in so many guises and circumstances, we, the human readers, are brought face to face with the reality of our world. It is a world of pain, fear and enormous stress and cruelty. It is a world that will not change anytime soon into a human community of vegetarians or vegans. But at least books like this are being written for public reflection.

—from the foreword by The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG

About the editors

Jay Johnston is senior lecturer, Department of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney and senior lecturer, School of Art History and Art Education, COFA, University of New South Wales.

Fiona Probyn-Rapsey is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney.


  • Foreword, The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG
  • Introduction, Jay Johnston and Fiona Probyn-Rapsey
  • In the shadow of all this death, Deborah Bird Rose
  • Human and animal space in historic ‘pet’ cemeteries in London, New York and Paris, Hilda Kean
  • Necessary expendability: an exploration of nonhuman death in public, Tarsh Bates and Megan Schlipalius
  • Confronting corpses and theatre animals, Peta Tait
  • Respect for the (animal) dead, Chloe Taylor
  • Re-membering Sirius: animal death, rites of mourning, and the (material) cinema of spectrality, George Ioannides
  • Mining animal death for all it’s worth, Melissa Boyde
  • Reflecting on donkeys: images of death and redemption, Jill Bough
  • Picturing cruelty: chicken advocacy and visual culture, Annie Potts and Philip Armstrong
  • Learning from dead animals: horse sacrifice in ancient Salamis and the Hellenisation of Cyprus, Agata Mrva-Montoya
  • The last image: Julia Leigh’s The hunter as film, Carol Freeman
  • Euthanasia and morally justifiable killing in a veterinary clinical context, Anne Fawcett
  • Preventing and giving death at the zoo: Heini Hediger’s ‘death due to behaviour’, Matthew Chrulew
  • Nothing to see – something to see: white animals and exceptional life/death, Fiona Probyn-Rapsey
  • ‘Death-in-life’: curare, restrictionism and abolitionism in Victorian and Edwardian anti-vivisectionist thought, Greg Murrie
  • Huskies and hunters: living and dying in Arctic Greenland, Rick De Vos
  • On having a furry soul: transpecies identity and ontological indeterminacy in Otherkin subcultures, Jay Johnston

Series Information: Animal Publics

The Animal Publics series publishes original and important research in animal studies by both established and emerging scholars. The series explores intersections between humanities and the sciences, the creative arts and the social sciences, with an emphasis on ideas and practices about how animal life becomes public: attended to, listened to, made visible, foregrounded, included and transformed.

Other titles in the Animal Publics series:

cover image of animal death book New release: A Life for Animals, by Christine Townend, with foreword by Peter Singer
cover image of animal death book Animal Death, edited by Jay Johnston and Fiona Probyn-Rapsey
cover image of animals in the anthropocene book Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical perspectives on non-human futures, edited by the Human Animal Research Network Editorial Collective
cover image of animal welfare in australia book Animal Welfare in Australia by Peter John Chen
cover image of cane toads book Cane Toads: A tale of sugar, politics and flawed science by Nigel Turvey
cover image of engaging with animals book Engaging With Animals: Interpretations of a shared existence, edited by Georgette Leah Burns and Mandy Paterson
cover image of fighting nature book Fighting Nature: Travelling menageries, animal acts and war shows by Peta Tait

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