The Animal Catalyst deals with the 'question' of 'what is an animal' and also in some instances, 'what is a human'? It pushes critical animal studies in important new directions; it re-examines basic assumptions, suggests new paradigms for how we can live and function ecologically, in a world that is not simply "ours." It argues that it is not enough to recognise the ethical demands placed upon us by our encounters with animals, or to critique our often murderous treatment of them: this simply reinforces human exceptionalism. Featuring contributions from leading academics, lawyers, artists and activists, the book examines key issues such as: - How "compassion" for animals reinforces ideas of what distinguishes human beings from other animals. - How speciesism and human centricity are built into the legal system. - How individualist subjectivity works in relation to animals who may not think of themselves in the same way. - How any consideration of animal others must involve a radical deconstruction of our very notion of the "human." - How art, philosophy and literature can both avoid speciesism and deliver the human from subjectivity. This volume is a unique project which stands at the cutting edge of both animal rights philosophies and posthuman/artistic/abstract philosophies of identity. It will be of great interest to undergraduates and researchers in philosophy, ethics, particularly continental philosophy, critical theory and cultural studies.