York introducted the phrase "sociology of the slaughterhouse" to name an emerging subfield of inquiry that aims to develop "a deeper understanding of how exploitation and oppression [of nonhuman animals] (not to mention horrific acts of cruelty) are perpetuated and justified". This subfield falls within the larger field of research on the connections between animals and society and has both scientific and normative goals. The scientific goal focuses on developing social theory that explains human interaction with nonhuman animals, and the forces that lead to denegration of nonhumans. The normative goal is to challenge the widespread assumption that nonhuman animals are mere objects to be utilized for human benefit, and to develop an ethical perspective that places value on animal life.
- York, Richard. 2004. "Humanity and Inhumanity: Toward a Sociology of the Slaughterhouse." Organization & Environment 17(2): 260-265.