Edinburgh Research Explorer

Invited speaker : Presencing Animal Welfare in Tourism: Tackling Absencing as a Cause of Unhealthy Relationships and Poor Mule Welfare in the International Mountain Tourism Industry

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk



The international mountain tourism industry is literally carried on the back of the pack mule. The extent to which these beasts of burden are exploited, neglected and abused has, however, largely gone unnoticed. This has, in part, been because there have not been processes in place to counter the ways in which the industry absences itself from the mule and, in doing so, perpetuates exploitative relationships based on the abuse of power and a failure to turn to, meet and dialogue with the mule. This presentation introduces the twin concepts of absencing and presencing to explore how we can become more aware of the attitudes and intentions that inform these relationships and the welfare this gives rise to.
In adopting this focus, it becomes possible to see and appreciate the between and identify whether individuals turn to the other and engage in a spirit of I-Thou or whether they turn away, objectifying and exploiting the other as they engage in a spirit of I-It. The challenge for those responsible for the health and wellbeing of pack mules working in mountain tourism lies in recognising this turning and using this awareness to address exploitative practices. These insights have the potential to transform how we understand the question of how we should attend to the other, whether human or nonhuman, working in tourism. It raises important questions about how a growing awareness of our attitudinal stance can allow new norms to be defined that promote mutuality, reciprocity and dialogue as the basis of healthy relationships and welfare.


7th Annual CABI LSBU RVC Symposium
: Tourism and Animal Welfare

Conference number7
Duration13 Jun 2018 → …
Location of eventLondon South Bank University
CountryUnited Kingdom
Web address (URL)
Degree of recognitionInternational event

Event: Conference

ID: 64409590