Milked: Nature, Necessity, and American Law | Jessica Eisen | Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice

“This Article explores the relationship between Americans, milk-drinking, and the animals who produce milk, not as a matter of the private, inevitable, or natural march of history, but as a product of particular, contested, socio-legal choices. Part I of this Article will explore the prevailing American cultural signification of milk as natural and necessary, arguing that this signification is in fact historically particular, and deeply interlaced with colonial, racial, and gendered deployment of these same terms (nature and necessity) as justifications for dominance and hierarchy as between human beings. In particular, this Part will explore the role of law in entrenching American dairying as a component of the European colonial project; in advancing (at times explicit) white supremacism through dietary and industrial policies that universalize Euro-American bodies; and in reinforcing a gendered view of female bodies across species as defined by the sexual and (re)productive interests of the state and its most powerful members   What is often seen as a simple failure to protect farmed animals is in fact better understood as a complex of legal and cultural practices that affirmatively support the intensification and industrialization of milk production. We will see that the farm has earned a place among those institutions like the “”home”” and the “”family”” that have been misleadingly cast as apolitical and beyond the reach of law. Following generations of legal theorists in feminist and other justice traditions, we will see that the farm represents yet another jealously guarded “”private”” space that in fact embraces, expresses, and enables contestable public purposes defined by race, gender, and economic power “

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