AR-FAQ - #94

#94 Can you give a brief Who's Who of the AR movement?

HENRY SALT -- 1851-1939. Salt was a remarkable social reformer who championed the humane reform of schools, prisons, society, and our treatment of animals. He also exerted a critical and important influence upon Gandhi. His book "Animals' Rights" was the first to use that title and therein he gives voice to almost all of the essential arguments for AR that we see being advanced and refined today. The book provides an excellent biography of earlier European writers on animal issues during the 18th and 19th centuries.

TOM REGAN -- Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University. His book "The Case For Animal Rights" is arguably the single best recent work on animal rights. It is a demanding text but one that is well worth the effort to read and study carefully. Everybody that is seriously interested in the issues should read this rigorously argued case for AR. It starts with some core concepts of inherent value theory, the same concepts that played an important and significant role in the progress of human civil liberties since the 17th century and which began to be extended to nonhumans during the 19th century. The notion of inherent value continues to be vital and important for progress in both human and animal rights. A less demanding but still informative book by Regan is "The Struggle for Animal Rights". One might wish to first read this book before tackling Regan's more difficult text.

GARY L. FRANCIONE -- Professor of Law and Nicholas de B. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University Law School, Newark. He is the Co-director of the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Center and the author of Animals, Property, and the law, Rain without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement and Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?

PETER SINGER -- Professor of Philosophy at Monash University, Melbourne. Singer is best known for his book "Animal Liberation", probably the most widely read book on AR philosophy. Singer, unlike Regan, is not an abolitionist as many people incorrectly surmise. His utilitarian position allows for the possibility or necessity of killing animals under certain circumstances. What is often lost sight of is that the obvious and patent abuses of animals covers so much ground that both Regan and Singer share common views on far more issues than those on which they differ. Other important books by Singer include "In Defense of Animals" and "Animal Factories".

MARY MIDGLEY -- Senior Lecturer of Philosophy at the University of Newcastle. Midgley's book "Beast and Man" has not been given the attention that it deserves. She deals with the contemporary facts of biology and ethology head-on to provide an ethical argument for the respectful treatment of animals that takes seriously scientific discoveries and thoughts about animals. The "Humean fork" (or so-called logical divide) between facts and values is here carefully crossed by observing that we are foremost "animals" ourselves and that the similarities between ourselves and other animals is more important and relevant for our ethics and self-understanding than are the often over-inflated differences.

CAROL ADAMS -- Author. Adams' book "The Sexual Politics of Meat" has made a valuable contribution in combining cultural and ethical analysis by pointing out the political implications of the metaphors we unthinkingly employ. The primary metaphors she analyses in her book relate to meat. Such metaphors have been applied to women, but the most insidious aspect of the metaphors is the way that they hide the life that is killed to produce meat. Instead of "cow", we have "beef" on our plates. Adams argues that the system that kills animals is the same system that oppresses women; hence, there is an important and striking connection between vegetarianism and feminism.

RICHARD RYDER -- Senior Clinical Psychologist at Warneford Hospital, Oxford. Ryder is the originator of the key term "speciesism". Ryder's book "Animal Revolution" provides both an historical perspective and a critical analysis of animal welfare and attitudes towards animals.

VICTORIA MORAN -- Author. Moran's book "Compassion the Ultimate Ethic" makes a fine contribution regarding the less discursive but perhaps more fundamental intuitive basis for animal rights.

MARJORIE SPIEGEL -- Author. Spiegel's book "The Dreaded Comparison" is a slim but courageous volume comparing the treatment of African-American slaves and the treatment of nonhuman animals. In text and pictures, Spiegel discloses remarkable similarities between the two systems. A picture of slaves packed into a slave ship is matched with a photograph of battery hens. A picture of a woman in a muzzle is paired with a picture of a dog in a muzzle. The parallels are striking and revealing. Few other writers have been as open or as unequivocal as Spiegel in likening cruelty to animals to traffic in human beings.


It is hard to keep a Who's-Who list at a reasonable length. Here are a few other prominent people:

  • STEPHEN R. L. CLARK -- Professor of Philosophy at Liverpool University.
  • MICHAEL W. FOX -- Vice President of Humane Society of the US, nationally known veterinarian, and AR activist.
  • RONNIE LEE -- Founder of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
  • JIM MASON -- Attorney and journalist.
  • INGRID NEWKIRK -- Co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); prominent activist.
  • ALEX PACHECO -- Co-founder of PETA; exposer of the Silver Spring monkeys abuses.
  • "VALERIE" -- Founder of ALF in the United States.