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Number of land-dwelling animals killed in the world by the meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage.
This counter does not include the billions of water-dwelling animals killed annually.
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“The continual endeavour of man [sic] should be to lessen the sum of suffering and cruelty: this is the first duty of humanity”

Romain Rolland, 1938, Jean Christophe

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“think of meat-eaters as analogous to children who still believe in Santa”

Bob Torres & Jenna Torres, 2005, Vegan Freak

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“[T]he interest of those who profit from animal exploitation should play no
role whatsoever in deciding whether to abolish the institution that furthers
those interests.”

Tom Regan, 2001, Defending Animal Rights

Resources

This page contains resources for research and teaching veganism in academia, including:

  • Notes about lectures and essays on veganism
  • Notes about conference or seminar papers on veganism
  • A list of relevant higher education courses
  • Quotes used elsewhere on Vegatopia, as well as some of our other favourites, all with full academic references. Also added: A Tom Regan Potpourri - select quotations from the author of The Case for Animal Rights
  • flyer image NEW: a Vegatopia flyer/poster to download, pass on, add to noticeboards, give out at vegan food fayres - however you can help us spread the word! Click on the image on the left or here for the pdf

 

We welcome contributions to Vegatopia! Please contact us if you would like your own paper, presentation, lecture, essay, referenced quotation or other resource added to this page, or if you have recommendations of other resources for us.

 

Lectures and Essays

  • “Doctrine of Demons”: Attacks on Animal Advocacy
    John Sorenson of Brock University. Click here for pdf
  • “Veganism”
    Matthew Cole
    Lecture given as part of Theories and Principle of Sustainable Development MSc course, School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University, October 22nd 2007.


Conference and Seminar Papers

  • Vegatopia: The future of convenience and compassion in a postspeciesist world”
    Matthew Cole
    Presented at the Joint 2006 Annual Meetings of the Association for the Study of
    Food and Society, Boston University (ASFS) and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS)
    Place, Taste, and Sustenance: The Social Spaces of Food and Agriculture
    Wednesday, June 7 – Sunday, June 11, 2006.

 

  • Ethical veganism and the challenge of interlocking oppressions: how do we create Vegatopia?

    Presented at the 38th IVU World Vegetarian Congress, Dresden, Germany, 30th July 2008

    Matthew Cole & Karen Morgan

    Vegetarianism and veganism have crucial roles to play in creating a vision of a future free of violence and exploitation. When we assert the viability of a plant-based alternative to the dominance of animal-based diets, we refuse to accept that human society must always depend on the shameful exploitation of other sentient beings. In contrast, when we deceive ourselves and others about the abuses of nonhumans that are inherent in animal farming, we are complicit in fostering a culture that resigns itself to suffering, pain and death. However, the vegetarian and vegan movements are always at risk of being dismissed as being a 'single issue', or worse, of being elitist and insensitive to the complex forms of oppression and exploitation that exist between human beings. We as vegetarians and vegans therefore need to take responsibility for activism, advocacy and policy that simultaneously tackles problems of human poverty, sexism, and racism. If we can develop theory and practice that challenge the systemic forms of oppression capturing humans and nonhumans alike, then we as veg*ans can play a vital role in constructing a compassionate and just future for all.

 

  • The language of diet and the suffering of nonhuman animals:
    Promoting veganism through countering a discourse of asceticism

    Presented at the BSA (British Sociological Association) conference “Social Worlds, Natural Worlds” at the University of Warwick, UK, 29th March 2008

    Matthew Cole & Karen Morgan

  • Human abuse of nonhuman animals is endemic in 'developed' industrial societies. The use of nonhuman animals for human food is responsible for the majority of their human-inflicted confinement, pain, mutilation and early death. The promotion of veganism therefore represents a policy option towards ameliorating this suffering. However, despite growing acknowledgement of the benefits to human health, the environment and animal welfare of veganism, its promotion is inhibited by its discursive construction as a form of asceticism.
    This presentation critically examines an ascetic discourse of veganism in two sites: social research on vegans, and media reporting of vegans and veganism. It describes how ascetic discourses work to marginalize veganism by making it seem 'difficult' and vegans as therefore 'abnormal'. This is problematic in two respects. First, it empirically misrepresents the experience of veganism. Second, it makes shifting dietary norms away from dependence on nonhuman animals appear to be more difficult, with tragic consequences for future generations of nonhuman animals. The first problem is addressed through empirically critiquing the notion that vegan diets are restrictive and unappetising. The second problem is addressed by arguing that 'normal' diets may often be more restrictive than vegan diets in practice, not just in terms of gastronomic variety, but in terms of their inhibition of the pursuit of pleasures through their greater potential for negative health consequences. In conclusion, a counter-discourse of 'hedonic' veganism and 'ascetic' omnivorism may facilitate a faster and more widespread transformation of dietary practice than ethical, environmental, or health arguments alone.

 

  • The Discursive Representation of Nonhuman Animals in a Culture of Denial

    Presented at the BSA (British Sociological Association) conference “Social Worlds, Natural Worlds” at the University of Warwick, UK, 29th March 2008

    Karen Morgan & Matthew Cole

  • The exploitation of many nonhuman animals is driven not only by economic motives but also by a culture of denial as regards the infliction of pain and suffering on sentient beings. There is a contradiction underpinning the exploitative treatment of farmed animals in the context of a society which celebrates affective relationships with companion animals.
    This paper focuses on differential media representations of the treatment of farmed and companion animals, setting out the way in which they are distinguished through discourses of utility and intimacy respectively. Farmed animals tend to be presented as little more than machines, as technological products to be consumed at will, in other words as objects. Companion animals tend to be represented as intelligent, loving, worthy of our protection and as capable of entering into intimate relationships with us, in other words, as subjects. Stories of abuse of puppies or kittens are rightly treated with horror; however the daily abuse of farmed calves, piglets, lambs or chicks is obscured and denied. The contradictions inherent in our treatment of nonhuman animals can only be explained by a denial of subjecthood to certain categories of animals, namely farmed animals.
    Media representations play an important role in enlisting the tacit support of consumers. In discursively constructing certain practices as 'normal', such representations enable a differentiating processes of subjectification and objectification which simultaneously facilitates a continuing denial as regards the way in which we permit farmed animals to be misused.

 

  • Ethical Veganism: Opposing Violent Relationships with Nonhuman Animals

    ESRC Seminar Series: Practical Utopias and Utopian Practices
    Relationships: the self and the other: September 2008 University of Bristol

    Karen Morgan and Matthew Cole

  • Our relationship with nonhuman animals is a neglected area in the social sciences, partly because those studying other oppressed groups see interest in nonhuman animals as somehow trivialising the very notion of oppression. Traditionally, therefore, nonhuman animals have been deemed objects worthy of research, but rarely as subjects. Interest has largely been confined to such areas as the use of nonhuman animals as 'tools' in scientific experiments, or to examination of their role as 'companions'. This objectifying perspective reinforces dominant hierarchies, which:
    - position nonhuman animals as existing for human use
    - legitimate violence against them
    - support and draw from other forms of oppression such as sexism and racism

    In this paper we challenge the inherent violence of relating to nonhuman animals as objects. As a minimum, this entails embracing ethical veganism as part of a coherent strategy to oppose all forms of violence and oppression.

 

Kate Stewart & Matthew Cole

  • Nonhuman animals are primarily defined according to their form of relation with human beings, which broadly speaking, depend on the perceived utility of those animals to humans. These relations may be analysed to generate typologies (ref Benton; someone else), membership of which circumscribes the probable fate of nonhuman animals when they enter into contact with humans. Examples include 'wild animals', 'pets', 'vermin', or 'food animals'. However, these judgements of utility and category membership are contingent and socially constructed, as evidenced by cultural and historical variability in the species and individual animals assigned to particular types. Animal typologies are transmitted, we argue, through the diversion of polymorphous and non-discriminatory affective forms of relation between children and other animals, into narrowly defined routes.
    In this paper we discuss one aspect of the social reproduction of the type, 'food animals' through the marketing phenomenon of 'happy meals'. Marketers recognise that toys and other incentives aimed at children increase sales across a range of foodstuffs, and to this end McDonalds spends $10m per year on toy manufacture to attract families with young children to their restaurants (Kukec, 2006). Here we wish to explore how these marketing strategies also contribute to a food socialisation process whereby children learn to conceptually distance animals they have an emotional bond with, or feel an ethical responsibility towards, from animals they eat. Furthermore, through this process children are discouraged from perceiving meat as having a connection to an animal at all.

 

  • Critical Animal Studies, Posthumanism and the Sociological Imagination - To Describe, Prescribe, or What?

    Presented at the BSA (British Sociological Association) conference “Social Worlds, Natural Worlds” at the University of Warwick, UK, 29th March 2008

    Richard Twine, Lancaster University

  • This exploratory and reflexive paper charts the emergence of the Sociology of human/animal relations as well as the more cross-disciplinary 'animal studies' over the last 10-15 years. What have been the concerns of the academic engagement with human/animal relations? How do scholars position themselves on issues of animal ethics? What may be the implications for both Sociology and Sociologists in broadening the social to include nonhuman animal life? This paper argues that challenging the boundaries of the social in this way has potentially significant implications for Sociology, Sociologists and the ethics of everyday life.

The relative 'animal turn' in Sociology could be seen as a further example of the influence of social movements on the discipline accompanied, for example, by arguments of denaturalisation in human action, in this case vis-à-vis other animals. In a more fundamental sense this paper touches upon the place of politics and positivism in Sociology exploring whether the Sociologist's role should be 'merely' to describe human/animal relations or to posit them in terms of theories of power and thus act to change them. What difficulties does the latter present in terms of research role and perfomativity? This paper concludes by considering the place of posthuman ethics in a reconceived sociological imagination.



Higher Education Courses

 

Quotations

  • A Tom Regan Potpourri: click here for a pdf of select quotations from the works of Tom Regan. Many thanks to Tom for donating this document.

Below is a list of quotations garnered from some of our own reading that we think embody some aspect of the Vegatopian spirit! They appear in alphabetical list of author's last name.

Many of our quotations, especially the older ones, were originally discovered by reading: Kerry S. Walters & Lisa Portmess (1999) Ethical Vegetarianism: From Pythagoras to Peter Singer, New York: State University of New York Press. We've given page references to where these quotes can be found in this book using the following format after the original source reference: “W&P p. ”

  • “Meat is a cultural construct made to seem natural and inevitable. By the time the argument from analogy has been made, the individual making such an argument has probably consumed animals since before the time she or he could talk. Rationalizations for consuming animals were probably offered when this individual at age four or five was discomfited upon discovering that meat came from dead animals. The taste of dead flesh preceded the rationalizations, and offered a strong foundation for believing the rationalizations to be true”
    Carol J. Adams, 1991, “Ecofeminism and the eating of animals”, Hypatia 6, pp.134-137
    W&P p.249
  • “Through symbolism based on killing animals, we encounter politically laden images of absorption, control, domain, and the necessity of violence. This message of male dominance is conveyed through meat eating – both in its symbolism and reality.”
    Carol J. Adams, 2004, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (10th Anniversary Edition), New York: Continuum, p.201
  • “In ontologizing women and animals as objects, our language simultaneously eliminates the fact that someone else is acting as a subject / agent / perpetrator of violence.”
    Carol J. Adams, 1991, “Ecofeminism and the eating of animals”, Hypatia 6, pp.134-137
    W&P p.250
  • “the world, I mean our portion of it, sometimes seems to me like one mighty slaughterhouse – one grand school for the suppression of every kind, and tender, and brotherly feeling – one grand process of education to the entire destitution of all moral principle – one vast scene of destruction to all moral sensibility, and all sympathy with the woes of those around us. Is it not so?”
    William A. Alcott, 1848, Vegetable Diet, New York, USA: Fowlers & Wells
    W&P p.83
  • “No child, I think, can walk through a common market or slaughterhouse without receiving a moral injury; nor am I quite sure that any virtuous adult can!”
    William A. Alcott, 1848, Vegetable Diet, New York, USA: Fowlers & Wells
    W&P p.85
  • “The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk, but Can they suffer?”
    Jeremy Bentham, 1780. Quoted in Peter Singer, 1995, Animal Liberation (2nd edition) London: Pimlico, p.203
  • “Nowhere is patriarchy's iron fist as naked as in the oppression of animals, which serves as the model and training ground for all other forms of oppression”
    Aviva Cantor “The Club, The Yoke, and the Leash: What We Can Learn from the Way a Culture Treats Animals”, Ms. August 1983, p.27
  • “It is not necessary, rather it is incompetent, to kill and torture animals to eat”
    Stephen R. L. Clark, 1977, The Moral Status of Animals, Oxford Clarendon Press
    W&P p.206
  • “Compassion respects all forms of life and recognizes the right of each to fulfil its own purpose.”
    C. David Coats, 1991, Old MacDonald's Factory Farm, New York: Continuum, p.152
  • “One becomes violent by taking part in violent food practices. The ontological implication of a feminist ethics of care is that nonhuman animals should no longer count as food.”
    Deane Curtin, 1991, “Toward an Ecological Ethic of Care”, Hypatia 6, pp.68-71
    W&P p.244
  • Speciesism: 'A failure in attitude or practice, to accord any nonhuman being equal consideration and respect'
    Joan Dunayer, 2004, Speciesism, Derwood, Maryland, USA: Ryce Publishing, p.5
  • “They pity, and they eat the objects of their compassion!”
    Oliver Goldsmith, 1728-1774, in Washington Irving (ed), no date, The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith, Philadelphia: Crissy & Markley, p.263
    W&P p.62
  • “power and knowledge production of veg[etari]an and animal rights
    ethics and philosophy is geopolitical and racialized and ... racialized
    epistemologies and ontologies subjectively influence how one practices
    veganism and animal rights activism.”
    Amie Breeze Harper, 2008, “Race as a “Feeble Matter”: The Denial of Racialized Consciousness in the Construction and Praxis of “Ethical” and “Cruelty-Free” Philosophy in the Animal Rights and Vegan Movement in the USA”, unpublished paper, p. 3

  • “Although many vegans in the USA believe they are practicing “cruelty free” consumption by saving the life of a non-human animal by eating vegan chocolate products, those who purchase non-fair trade coca products may be causing cruelty to thousands of human beings living in the global South”, Amie Breeze Harper, 2008, “Race as a “Feeble Matter”: The Denial of Racialized Consciousness in the Construction and Praxis of “Ethical” and “Cruelty-Free” Philosophy in the Animal Rights and Vegan Movement in the USA”, unpublished paper, p.15

  • “…the moment a portion of virgin land has a fence put around it to contain animals, man [sic] has stepped onto the first rung of the ladder of intensive farming.”
    Sidney Jennings, quoted in Ruth Harrison, 1964, Animal Machines: The New Factory Farming Industry, London: Vincent Stuart Ltd., p.ix
  • “to kill animals for the purpose of feeding on their flesh is one of the most deplorable and shameful infirmities of the human state”
    Alphonse de Lamartine, 1865, Les Confidences, New York: Appleton & Co
    W&P p.78
  • “The substantial power of institutionalized animal exploitation sustains ignorance, promotes fear, rewards cruelty, and punishes kindness.”
    Brian Luke, 1992, “Justice, Caring and Animal Liberation”, in Josephine Donovan & Carol J. Adams (eds) The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics, p.148

  • “Eating [meat] ... is merely a habit, one that people are socially conditioned to believe is normal, even healthy”
    Howard F. Lyman, 1998, Mad Cowboy, New York: Simon & Schuster, p.41
  • “Humanity is rich in folly, but it's hard to think of a folly more mind-bogglingly stupendous than that of transforming infinitely rich, diverse, dense jungle into desert in a few years' time for the sake of a few more hamburgers”
    Howard F. Lyman, 1998, Mad Cowboy, New York: Simon & Schuster, p.149
  • “Human beings … have become colossal pedants, proclaiming themselves the pets and specials of creation, and teaching each other that other races are mere things to furnish pasture and pastime for them”
    J. Howard Moore, 1907, The New Ethics, London
    W&P p.129
  • “Oh this killing, killing, killing – this awful, never-stopping, never-ending, worldwide butchery! What a world! “Ideal”? – and “perfect”? – and “ all-wise”? – Certainly – to tigers, and highwaymen, and people who are sound asleep; but to everybody else it is simply monstrous
    J. Howard Moore, 1907, The New Ethics, London
    W&P p.130
  • “For me, the essence of veganism is compassion … not just compassion for animals, but all the way around”
    Victoria Moran, 1985, Compassion: The Ultimate Ethic, Wellingborough: Thorsons, p.44
  • “Let appetite refrain from flesh, take only A gentler nourishment”
    Ovid, [circa 43BCE-18CE] 1963, Metamorphosis, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, book 15, lines 476-477
    W&P p.22
  • “Throughout the history of our ascent to dominance as the master species, our victimization of animals has served as the model and foundation for our victimization of each other”
    Charles Patterson, 2002, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, New York: Lantern Books, p.109
  • “Those who kill “humanely” often contend that their victims suffer minimally or not at all. This contention helps ease their guilt and makes the continuation of the killing more acceptable.”
    Charles Patterson, 2002, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, New York: Lantern Books, p.133

  • “… you who live now, what madness, what frenzy drives you to the pollution of shedding blood, you who have such a superfluity of necessities?”
    Plutarch, [c.56-120] 1927, Moralia, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press
    W&P p.28
  • “[T]he interest of those who profit from animal exploitation should play no
    role whatsoever in deciding whether to abolish the institution that furthers
    those interests.”
    Tom Regan, 2001, Defending Animal Rights, p.37

  • “You don't motivate people to become more compassionate toward animals by
    showing a lack of compassion toward humans in hard times.”
    Tom Regan, 2004, Empty Cages, p.185

  • “The continual endeavour of man [sic] should be to lessen the sum of suffering and cruelty: this is the first duty of humanity”
    Romain Rolland, 1938, Jean Christophe, New York: Random House Modern Library
    W&P p. 136
  • “that ugliest product of civilisation, the butcher's shop”
    Henry S. Salt, 1914, The Humanities of Diet, Manchester: The Vegetarian Society
    W&P p.122
  • “The animal liberation ethics demands a basic shift in moral consciousness, a repudiation of human superiority over other species through force”
    Harriet Schleifer, 1985, “Images of Death and Life: Food Animal Production and the Vegetarian Option”, in In Defense of Animals, edited by Peter Singer, New York: Harper & Row
    W&P p.225
  • “Meat is murder. If an animal doesn't have the basic right to exist, any other rights become meaningless”
    Harriet Schleifer, 1985, “Images of Death and Life: Food Animal Production and the Vegetarian Option”, in In Defense of Animals, edited by Peter Singer, New York: Harper & Row
    W&P p.230
  • “It is good to maintain and cherish life; it is evil to destroy and check life”
    Albert Schweitzer, 1923, Civilisation and Ethics. The Philosophy of Civilisation, Part II, London: A. & C. Black
    W&P p.146
  • “The monopolizing eater of animal flesh would no longer destroy his constitution by devouring an acre at a meal”
    Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1813, A Vindication of Natural Diet, in Clark, D.L. (ed.)
    Shelley's Prose, or The Trumpet of a Prophecy, Albuquerque: New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press.
    W&P p.73
  • “The most fertile districts of the habitable globe are now actually cultivated by man [sic] for animals, at a delay and waste of aliment absolutely incapable of calculation”
    Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1813, A Vindication of Natural Diet, in Clark, D.L. (ed.)
    Shelley's Prose, or The Trumpet of a Prophecy, Albuquerque: New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press.
    W&P p.73
  • “By all that is sacred in our hopes for the human race, I conjure those who love happiness and truth, to give a fair trial to the vegetable system”
    Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1813, A Vindication of Natural Diet, in Clark, D.L. (ed.)
    Shelley's Prose, or The Trumpet of a Prophecy, Albuquerque: New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press.
    W&P p.73
  • “… it was the Great Butcher – it was the spirit of Capitalism made flesh.”
    Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, London: Penguin Books, p.354
  • “Anyone who kept a dog in the way pigs are frequently kept would be liable to prosecution … but because our interest in exploiting pigs is greater than our interest in exploiting dogs, we object to cruelty to dogs while consuming the produce of cruelty to pigs”
    Peter Singer, 1974, “All Animals Are Equal”, Philosophic Exchange 1, 103-109
    W&P p.173
  • “man [sic] suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity – that of sympathy and pity toward living creatures like himself – and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel”
    Leo Tolstoy, 1909, “The First Step”, [preface to Howard Williams The Ethics of Diet], in Leo Tolstoy, Essays and Letters, New York: Frowde
    W&P p.99
  • “The very act of subjugating animals for our own use is morally objectionable since it denies another being the ability to live its life free of pain and suffering”
    Bob Torres & Jenna Torres, 2005, Vegan Freak, Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World, Colton, New York: Tofu Hound Press, p.57
  • “think of meat-eaters as analogous to children who still believe in Santa”
    Bob Torres & Jenna Torres, 2005, Vegan Freak, Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World, Colton, New York: Tofu Hound Press, p.66
  • “We can see quite plainly that our present civilisation is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilisations were built on the exploitation of slaves”
    Donald Watson, founder of The Vegan Society. Taken from The Vegan News, November 1944, No.1, p.1
  • “… far from vegetarianism springing from the anthropomorphism of predominantly urban dwellers, as has been suggested by its more superficial critics, it and its inevitable successor veganism are increasingly being recognized as a logical, even inescapable process, essentially relevant, essentially practical, essentially compassionate to all species”
    Jon Wynne-Tyson, 1979, “Dietethics: its Influence on Future Farming Patterns”, in Richard Ryder & David Paterson (1979) Animals' Rights: a Symposium, London: Centaur Press.
    W&P pp.239-240