The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 By Kathryn Gillespie
From Book, CD and Video Review Guide

Author: Kathryn Gillespie

Several Reviews

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

The Cow 1389
The Cow with Ear Tag #1389
Available at University of Chicago Press
ISBN-13: 978-0226582856


Animal Liberation Currents
“An incredibly instructive book that can be illuminating for people inside and outside the academy and should be introduced in animal studies courses across disciplines. Having a book one can turn to that overtly unveils the concealed aspects of the dairy industry is an invaluable resource for all those interested in furthering the cause of animal liberation.”

“I'm equal parts haunted and motivated by The Cow with Ear Tag #1389. . .This hard-hitting book explores, with thoughtful-yet-unapologetic precision, the life cycle of individual animals—such as '#1389'—transporting rapt readers to auction yards and slaughterhouses, and paving the way for vital new inroads to discuss what it means to be truly empathetic.”

“There is much to be learned from Gillespie's book. . .She's remarkably sensitive to the ethical, methodological, and existential questions that come up when doing this kind of research. She explores the difficulty of getting approval for research on animals that we readily kill. She works through the many ways that commodification gets in the way of understanding animals. She reflects on the gendered expectations that affect her ability to gain access to her research subjects, as well as the way that they affect what she feels pressured to witness. And she is highly sensitive to the transformative dimensions of research, making some kind of lived response — in her case, dietary change — feel entirely necessary. . . . Gillespie does the reader a remarkable service in making herself visible in the text, letting us appreciate the way that her experience of doing this work shapes the work itself. It's rare to have such transparency, it's a model for anyone concerned to avoid the illusion that scholars are impartial spectators. The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 is worth reading for many reasons, but it's invaluable for this one.”

Carol J. Adams | author of The Sexual Politics of Meat
“We have been waiting for a book like this. Gillespie grapples with how the dairy industry uses cows as well as the challenge of researching that very thing. Her writing is pitch perfect, richly detailed, and riveting. The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 vividly demonstrates the transformative power of scholarship to bear witness.”

Lori Gruen | author of Entangled Empathy
“In a gripping narrative, Gillespie weaves together an informative discussion of the complexities of the dairy industry with heart-wrenching reflections on the impact of this commodification process on animals. She reveals alternative relationships of care that can help us look more closely, see better, and hopefully work toward changing ourselves and other animals.”

pattrice jones | author of The Oxen at the Intersection
“Simultaneously engaging, provocative, rigorous, and heartfelt, The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 demystifies the doublethink that dazes decent people into complicity with callous cruelty. Let Gillespie be your tour guide to the dairy farm, state fair, and petting zoo, and you might find yourself exploring the backroads of your own mind.”

lauren Ornelas | founder and executive director of Food Empowerment Project
“Gillespie’s stories and writing bring this book to life. We can feel the cows breathe and smell the grass as she unlocks the intricate relationship we have with these gentle animals. Her ability to explain complex issues in simple terms makes this an important read—especially for those who want to help foster compassion and understanding.”

Yamini Narayanan | Deakin University
“The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 addresses a critical issue whose time for discussion has not only come but is in fact long overdue. Gillespie deftly excavates and narrates the singular moments of the dairy animals she encounters, and a very real story of the personalized cows emerges.”

About the Author:

Kathryn Gillespie, PhD is a writer, feminist geographer, and critical animal studies scholar. She is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Kentucky in the Department of Geography and the Applied Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program. Her research and teaching interests focus on: feminist and multi-species theory and methods; food and agriculture; political economy; critical animal studies; human-environment relations. She is the author of The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 [University of Chicago Press, 2018]. She has also published in numerous scholarly journals and has co-edited three books: Vulnerable Witness: The Politics of Grief in the Field [University of California Press, 2018, co-edited with Patricia J. Lopez]; Critical Animal Geographies: Politics, Intersections and Hierarchies in a Multispecies World [Routledge, 2015, co-edited with Rosemary-Claire Collard]; and Economies of Death: Economic Logics of Killable Life and Grievable Death [Routledge, 2015, co-edited with Patricia J. Lopez]. Gillespie was an Animal Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Wesleyan University (2016-2018) and has taught various courses at the University of Washington. She has volunteered with Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (a Puget Sound, WA-based prison education organization), Food Empowerment Project (a food justice organization in Cotati, CA), and Pigs Peace Sanctuary (a sanctuary for pigs in Stanwood, WA). Contact: [email protected] 

Return to Book Reviews