In Australia, vegan and animal liberation activism has recently become intense and disruptive, invading farms, restaurants, and city centers. They’re doing everything from rescuing animals to blocking traffic, and occupying steakhouses. Some argue that these new activists are needlessly victimizing innocent farmers, business owners, and consumers. Others argue that the activists are only doing what’s necessary to stand up for the innocent victims of farmers, business owners, and consumers.
For any cause, when change does not seem to happen, or happen quickly enough, movements can turn to more confrontational styles of protests, or “uncivil disobedience.” Is this morally defensible, or is civility a must in any kind of protest?
Guest voices include Kimberley Brownlee, Chris Delforce, Candice Delmas, Lauren Gazzola, Paula Hough, David Jochinke, Joanne Lee, Brian Leiter, Clare McCausland, Tyler Paytas, Jacy Reese, Jeff Sebo, and Peter Singer. This episode is produced by David Killoren and Richard Rowland of the Dianoia Institute for Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University.
For Slate Plus members, there is full bonus companion episode featuring Barry talking with Stephen Metcalf of Slate Culture Gabfest about the philosophical issues raised in the episode. Both Barry and Stephen try to come to terms with whether they think we can separate the morality of activist tactics with the morality of their causes. Sign up at www.slate.com/hiphiplus.
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Reading List and Resources
Chris Delforce’s film, Dominion
Jeff Sebo’s “Effective Animal Advocacy”
Kimberley Brownlee’s “Civil Disobedience” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Candice Delmas’ “That Lonesome Whistle” in the Boston Review.