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Random book annoyance

I'm reading Karen Pryor's book Reaching the Animal Mind - it's basically a collection of experiences Pryor has with effectively using marker-based training, specifically clicker training.

Totally fascinating and I love the stories.

The rub is that she keeps referring to animals as "its" even while arguing in fervent support of animals being creative, making choices, and engaging in relationship building. This is not something a chair or sofa cover can do, so please stop referring to intelligent, self-aware, emotional nonhuman animals as "its".

I know that the pronoun "it" has been used to refer to both nonhuman animals and babies of an unknown gender. It's objectification at its finest, especially when the being in question is a dog or pig or rabbit or cat or sheep.

If you do not refer to your own companion animals as "it" and instead call them "she" or "he" or "who", please extend that courtesy to similar species (certainly dogs and cats, but also farmed animals and birds). It won't mean anything to the animal but will help create a shift in thinking in yourself and your audience.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
surlynymph
Dec. 10th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
Something similarly that bugs me is the fact that my husband's partner (he's an EMT) likes to speak as if she were her dog, which isn't annoying -- what IS annoying is that when doing so, she refers to herself as "my master."

Ie: "Oh boy! I can't wait for my master to come home! I missed her so much!"

This is beyond degrading.
wirenth
Dec. 11th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
i suspect the core of the problem is that english is dumb sometimes.

i thought about getting that book, but opted for this one instead and i'm a little bit scared.
rozae
Dec. 11th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
Need something to use when referring to animals that I cannot, as yet, identify the sex of. Though I have a tendency to choose a gender at random, there doesn't always seem to be a word to suit my purposes.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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