Main Goal & Objectives
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The initial hypothesis of this project is that, in order to protect business, interest groups may attempt to counterbalance the increased compassion humans have developed towards other animals. However, because of rising moral concern, and because of the need for businesses to align with current moral trends, the few available previous studies have pointed out the fact that the interest groups’ narratives are more intricate and complex than simply opposing compassionate behaviour. In this context, our general goal for the project is:
To examine to what degree interest groups contribute with their discourse to curb compassionate action with respect to other animals in society, thus contributing to justify and continue our current relationship with nonhuman animals. By compassionate action we mean both passive action (not contributing to any action that may interfere with the well-being of other animals) and active action (actively contributing to increasing the well-being of other animals).
To fulfil this goal, we aim to study the messages spread by a number of lobbies and think tanks in Spain related to three industries: the animal-based food industry, animal experimentation and entertainment based on other animals (mostly animal exhibition facilities). The choice of these three industries is for relevance alone, they are the three industries that use the largest number of animals for their business and whose revenues are more directly dependent on these uses.
To this end, our specific goals are:
O1. To examine and compare the discourse of the lobbies and think tanks related to these three industries to identify their main arguments.
O2. To examine and compare the discursive networks and the discourse coalitions that are built around these arguments (for the three industries) in the media.
O3. To examine the links of interest groups’ discourse with the elements identified by the literature as the main drivers of the exploitation of animals (capitalism, speciesism and androcentrism).
O4. To examine internal contradictions that may arise between the interest group’s discourse and their stated goals, or the goals of the industries’ they are linked to or represent, when this is the case.
Gender perspective: Because the literature has pointed at the androcentric dominant mind- set in society as one of the main causes of the types of relationships with have with other animals, the gender perspective is a transversal axis across objectives. It will be taken into account in the analysis of the interest groups narratives as a source of legitimization, discrimination and power.