chapter  9
15 Pages

Women and Interspecies Care

Dog Mothers in Taiwan
WithChia-ju Chang, Iris Ralph

Many people throughout the world regard women who engage in interspecies care in condescending, disparaging, and even perverse terms. In this chapter, the authors bring an ecofeminist perspective to understanding the reasons for disregarding the women who actively engage in raising, feeding, nurturing, protecting, and defending nonhuman animal species. We do so in the particular context of women who care for unwanted or abandoned animals. We focus on a group of women in the East, Taiwan’s “dog mothers” [Chinese: gou mama]. Despite the increase in educational and professional opportunities as a whole for Taiwanese women and despite the establishment and strengthening of the country’s animal rights and animal protection laws, Taiwan’s gou mama women—interspecies caregivers who speak for and defend Taiwan’s thousands of stray dogs—continue to face male chauvinism and species hierarchy. Further, as a collective and movement that emerged in the 1980s, the women and the dogs they defend— approximately 1,000,000 in a country of 23,000,000 people—point to the link between aggressive (corporate) industrial interests and the denigration of women and animals.