Animal Protectionist or Animal Anti-protectionist? : Towards a Liberation of Animals from Human Oppression/ Patriarchy: A Textual Reading of Benjamin Zephaniah’s
Ignatius Nsaidzedze
Senior Lecturer, Department of English and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts University of Buea

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The purpose of this paper is to examine whether Benjamin Zephaniah’s famous poem “Talking Turkeys” can be labeled an animal protectionist or an animal anti-protectionist poem. Using natural and utilitarian theories of animal rights defenders, the paper argues that in the human animal relationship, the humans are the cause of the problem in the relationship not the animals and that they will benefit more if they make animals their friends. At the end of the study it has been found out that when one reads the poem Talking Turkeys’, one unique vocabulary labels Benjamin Zephaniah as an animal protectionist who shows his admiration for animals which prompts his anthropomorphism towards them as well as his pointing of accusing fingers at us humans/patriarchy for being the cause of the animal suffering and killing. The poet advocates friendship with animals to replace our killing and eating their flesh/meat. On the contrary he advocates we become vegans/vegetarians implicitly when he urges us to feed turkeys with green and beans. He reminds us that turkeys have rights, feel pain and have mums, associations which we should join and they should not be artificially manufactured and should also be allowed to enjoy Christmas like receiving gifts and listening to good music. Humans we are told spoiled Christmas.


Protectionist, liberationist, oppression, patriarchy, vegan/ vegetarianism, friendship.


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