Article: The Pertinence of Sacrifice (2007)

Taking the possible relevance of animal sacrifice in the context of modern industrial food production as a starting point, the article examines the ethical and analytical status of industrially slaughtered animals, the transformation of violence within the slaughterhouse, the biopolitical articulation between literal and figurative logics of sacrifice and the question of whether non-human animals can meaningfully be described as ‘bare life’. The discussion links these issues to questions of human violence, arguing that an adequate understanding of biopower must today perforce incorporate non-human life within the analytical horizon. In closing, the article proposes the term “necroavailability” as a neologism that formally captures the bare life’s variable quality of being or not being available for destruction.


Reinert, H. 2007. The Pertinence of Sacrifice — Some notes on Larry the Luckiest Lamb. Borderlands, Vol 6 No 3 [no pagination].