University of Minnesota Press

Elan Abrell is author of SAVING ANIMALS: the first major ethnography to focus on the ethical issues animating the establishment of animal sanctuaries and animal rescue facilities. Abrell is joined in conversation by Kathryn (Katie) Gillespie to discuss witnessing, research ethics, speciesism, and the politics of care practices in the US animal sanctuary movement. (Content warning: Contains descriptions of animals in distress, at auction, and at slaughter.)

Show Notes

Elan Abrell is author of SAVING ANIMALS: the first major ethnography to focus on the ethical issues animating the establishment of animal sanctuaries and animal rescue facilities. Abrell has done fieldwork at such facilities across the US, and here asks what “saving,” “caring for,” and “sanctuary” actually mean, exploring ethical decision making around sanctuary efforts to unmake property-based human-animal relations and adapt to the material and social conditions of the Anthropocene. Abrell is joined in conversation by Kathryn (Katie) Gillespie to discuss witnessing, research ethics, speciesism, and the politics of care practices in the US animal sanctuary movement. (Content warning: Contains descriptions of animals in distress, at auction, and at slaughter.)


Elan Abrell is a cultural anthropologist who has taught animal studies, environmental studies, and anthropology at Wesleyan University and New York University, and is vice president of programs with the Phoenix Zones Initiative.


Katie Gillespie is a geographer who teaches at the University of Kentucky. She is author of The Cow with Ear Tag #1389.

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Authors join peers, scholars, and friends in conversation. Topics include environment, humanities, race, social justice, cultural studies, art, literature and literary criticism, media studies, sociology, anthropology, grief and loss, mental health, and more.