Promoting the Gospel of Kindness in the Philippines during the American Occupation
This chapter examines animal welfare policy in the U.S. Occupied Philippines, paying special attention to wild birds. New legislation, in tandem with animal centered educational activities in local Filipino schools, playgrounds, parks, and streets, provided a powerful portal into the daily life of empire, as well as the circulation of ideologies of American exceptionalism concerning humanitarianism, uplift, proper moral comportment, racial savagery, and the rhetoric of Filipino readiness for citizenship. Birds performed critical cultural and political work as gendered metaphors for family, home, and nation. Animal advocates argued that the act of caring for birds encouraged civilized habits of body and mind. A consideration of wild birds and animal welfare activities in the U.S. Occupied Philippines illuminates the complex ways in which the nation state—often working with or against private actors like humane societies and missionaries—managed the transnational environment through its myriad “civilization” campaigns.
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