usual scale and scope of operation. For a more sustained defence of adopting a
measured anthropomorphism in our studies of animals, see Midgley (198 3: Chap.
The new animal geography should here acknowledge a link back to older approaches
which did focus on animals 'making' their own distributions relative to underlying
variations in environmental conditions. Many (all?) animal distributions in the world
today are surely influenced in one way or another by human interventions, however,
and to ignore this human dimension would be mistaken.
Numerous works on the social geographies of specific 'outsider' groups will verify this
claim: see many passages in the texts of Sibley (1981, 1995). It is perhaps
unsurprising, then, that Sibley has developed an interest in feral cats in the city to
complement his writing elsewhere on human 'outsiders in urban societies'.
A whole host of urban myths surround places such as sewers and other marginal spaces
of the city, and often these have to do with animals, such as the well-known stories of
crocodiles in the New York sewers. Indeed, sewers and other underground or marginal
spaces have often been depicted in literature and the cinema as places where vagabonds
or monsters hide.
See also work on geographies of 'feral livestock', a further instance of certain animals
escaping from their allotted human placements in the world: see McKnight (1999).
Mainland, a journalist with the Daily Mail, wrote this topic to explain the secrets of
how London Zoo worked, particularly emphasising how the animals were persuaded
to fit in with the requirements of the zoo. The quote here comes from the beginning
of a chapter entitled 'Discipline at the zoo'. Other chapters have such titles as: 'When
the big chaps get angry'; 'When zoo animals fight back'; 'When elephants go on
strike'; and 'Escapes from the zoo'.
To say that animals may know which spaces are in and out of bounds does not necessarily
imply the same conscious reflexivity as humans may possess. It could be argued that a
system of punishments and rewards functions to prompt animals into learning such
human spatial rules, but it may be that still more complex processes could be
occurring here in the 'minds' of certain animals. Obviously, such reflections circle back
to the whole question of animal agency, as already debated.
However, there are other transgressions of spaces which may be tolerated, or even
welcomed: for example, some of the other animals that turn up at feeding time at the
zoo, like the herons that turn up at the penguin enclosure (see Gruffudd, this volume).
There are many intriguing hints in Dekkers' (1994) somewhat controversial text, and
we might also speculate about connections between rural-agricultural locales where
'peasant' communities endure a greater closeness to livestock and the prevalence of
bestial practices (although this is probably too simplistic and mythic an association
nowadays). Bagemihl (1999, as reviewed by Mars-Jones 1999) raises the issue of
animal sexuality, in that he claims to reveal the extent to which much animal sexual
behaviour is not 'heterosexual' but 'homosexual'.
We must thank Marcus Doel for pointing us to this Baudrillard reference.
Baudrillard (1994:133) discusses the conceptual 'abyss' between humans and animals
which has opened up in Western societies—'animals were only demoted to the status
of inhumanity as reason and humanism progressed'—itself bound up with the gradual
acceleration of practices which have seen humans (ab)using animals: