Animal Studies Journal


In this paper I offer several stories to respond to philosopher Vinciane Despret and sociologist Jocelyne Porcher’s considerations on ‘dairy’ cows and work. The stories include the cows in the herd that I have lived alongside for almost 30 years, a kind of auto-ethnographic approach; and stories and a few facts about the dairy industry in Australia. These accounts are informed by another story, told by the feminist philosopher and writer Hélène Cixous. Fault lines criss-cross these narratives about bovines. Three works by artist Yvette Watt tell more stories about the lives, and deaths, of cows. One of my underlying interests is in the possibilities of narrative to disturb and disclose cultural secrets of systemic violence, secrets that are ‘born in the desire of the one who proposes a narrative of secrecy’.