Article Title

Letting the Cat out of the Bag: How Lack of Access to Animal Companionship and Husbandry Fosters Inequality for Black Americans


Kelsey Goldman


Throughout American history, animals have been used by those in power to harm and terrorize Black Americans. While state-sanctioned use of slave-patrol and police dogs have been a commonly discussed issue, there has been little to no analysis on the harms Black Americans have faced from the systemic deprivation of animal companionship and husbandry. Racism and capitalism in America have resulted in a confusing labyrinth of private actors, animal organizations, corporate industries, courts, and legislators who have worked collectively to cut off opportunities for Black Americans to benefit from animal companionship and husbandry.

In Part I, this Note discusses the vital benefits that humans have derived from animal companionship and husbandry. Part II presents an overview of the multitude of ways Black Americans have been systematically deprived of the benefits of animal companionship and husbandry. Part III provides examples of potential changes that could be made to create new animal-related opportunities for Black Americans. Due to the breadth of this topic, it is my intention that this Note will inspire further research and discussion on the role of animals in upholding structures of violence and inequality, the overlooked significance of animals in uplifting marginalized people, and the ways that the dominant culture has imposed its attitudes toward animals on society to the detriment of minority cultures.