by Annie Potts: Review by Karen Davis
REAKTION BOOKS 2012
Karen Davis’s review of
appears in the Fall 2012 issue of Humanimalia: a journal of human/animal interface studies, Volume 4, Number 1.
Excerpt from Karen’s Review:
“Potts traces a persistent tension in the human relationship with chickens. On the one
hand, chickens have been accurately and appreciatively portrayed in literature and the
arts; on the other hand, chickens have been trapped in anthropomorphic symbolisms
and superstitions that have nothing to do with chickens except in a distorted, speciesist
way. In cockfighting and religious rituals, chickens are tortured, killed and
characterized by practitioners as wanting to be sacrificed to human and deific desires.
“As bad as industrialization has been for chickens, people have been assaulting chickens for ages ― in staged cockfights, blood
fiestas, voodoo rituals, Hindu massacres, kaporos ceremonies, and more. Chickens deemed “sacred” disappear into symbolic, sacrificial
designations and uses that are as obliterating of their actual selves, as grisly and demeaning to them, as their disappearance into meat is.”
To go straight to Chicken Wisdom, click on
Author Annie Potts is a professor of English and Cultural Studies and Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the
University of Canterbury, Christchurch.