Crow Killing: keynote given at MEGA Seminar, Sandbjerg, Denmark

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This paper examines the relationship between witnessing, detection, evidence gathering and reporting in wildlife crime. It explores the ways in which these responsibilities are distributed between a range of formal and informal legal actors, and in particular emphasizes the role of the animal welfare field investigator. The specific focus is on a case of crow killing in Scotland and the prosecution of a gamekeeper observed ‘inhumanely’ despatching wild birds caught in a legally registered cage trap on a shooting estate. Of special concern is the way the ‘look’ of law plays out across the profile of the case, from the original eye witnessing of the incident to the final criteria for legal judgement. The paper is also driven by a desire to explore the relationship between law in action and ethical feeling. It offers an ethnographic perspective on the lived experience of embodying an imagined space both inside and outside the law, and on the tension or conversion between these states over time. Crow Kill is intended as one kind of anthropological contribution to the development of the study of ‘living legalities’; in this case figured as the capacity of legal complexes to both index and generate specific instances of human-animal relations.
Event titleCrow Killing: keynote given at MEGA Seminar, Sandbjerg, Denmark
Event typeOther