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Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020061

Exploring the Place of Animals and Human–Animal Relationships in Hydraulic Fracturing Discourse

Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ 08102, USA
Received: 23 January 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 18 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue We Are Best Friends: Animals in Society)
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Abstract

Throughout human history, energy security has been a prominent concern. Historically, animals were used as energy providers and as companions and sentinels in mining operations. While animals are seldom used for these purposes in developed communities today, this legacy of use is likely to have far-reaching consequences for how animals and human–animal relationships are acknowledged in energy development. The US is currently experiencing an energy boom in the form of high volume horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (HVHHF); because animals are the most at risk from this boom, this study uses a thorough content analysis of peer-reviewed HVHHF articles mentioning animals from 2012–2018 to assess how animals and human–animal relationships are discussed. Three dominant article theme classifications emerge: animal-focused articles, animal-observant articles, and animal sentinel articles. Across themes, articles seldom acknowledge the inherent value or the social and psychological importance of animals in human lives; instead, the focus is almost exclusively on the use of animals as sentinels for potential human health risks. Further, what is nearly absent from this body of literature is any social science research. Given that relationships with animals are an integral part of human existence, this study applies environmental justice principles, serving as a call to action for social science scholars to address the impacts of HVHHF on animals and human–animal relationships. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydraulic fracturing; animal studies; environmental sociology; environmental justice; companion animals; energy development hydraulic fracturing; animal studies; environmental sociology; environmental justice; companion animals; energy development
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Whitley, C.T. Exploring the Place of Animals and Human–Animal Relationships in Hydraulic Fracturing Discourse. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 61.

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