Photo of  Eimear McLoughlin

Eimear McLoughlin

Research Interests


Slaughterhouse Culture

I will conduct a 13-month multi-sited fieldwork in Denmark exploring the visibility of animal consumption, from the slaughterhouse to the zoo.

Knowing Cows: Transformative Mobilisations of Human and Nonhuman Bodies in the Slaughterhouse

In an 'emotionography' of the slaughterhouse, I explored how emotions are negotiated and neutralised within the confines of the slaughterhouse walls. Benefiting from the literature on dirty work and the sociology of emotion, I studied how bovine bodies are constructed both within and beyond the slaughterhouse gates through participant observation, semi-structured interviews and visual methodologies.

#SaveBenjy: Sexuality, Queer Animals and Ireland

Benjy the gay bull rose to global notoriety in November 2014 when he failed to impregnate the heifers he was purchased to inseminate and thus, Benjy's only fate was the slaughterhouse. A crowdfunding petition led by an animal rights organisation and a gay rights network saved Benjy from certain slaughter on the basis that Benjy should be free to be gay, entwining narratives of sexual autonomy with animal rights discourse. #SaveBenjy was a remarkable phenomenon for a number of reasons, from its timeliness, whereby his plight emerged in the months prior to the historic gay marriage referendum in Ireland, to the recognition of non-human animal non-normative sexuality being respected, protected and celebrated. In my published article, I employ queer theory to explore Benjy's rise to fame amidst an Irish cultural and societal landscape in flux.