What We Do

Why Humanists Should Care about Animal Rights

For our final event of 2022, we had a thought-provoking and very enjoyable discussion with Dr. Corey Wrenn who is a lecturer of Sociology at the University of Kent. She is also co-director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements. She serves as Book Review Editor to Society & Animals and is a member of The Vegan Society’s Research Advisory Committee.

Corey enlightened our attentive audience on why animal rights is a wider humanist topic for debate and that historically, humanists have been somewhat torn on the topic of how it is defined and included in humanist/atheist and general free thinking. It was fascinating to hear her take on animal rights and how that identifies or perhaps struggles to identify with various intersections of humanism and where there have been failures in her opinion around inclusivity of non-human animals in humanist movements and communities.

By presenting a general explanation of what are animal rights and how in fact they are an extension of human rights and individualism and where reason, science and respect should permeate the moral compass, Corey made it easy to understand how speciesism can be challenging and present individual and systemic discrimination against other animals. The hope for animal rights is to see better and complete welfare improvements to in fact total liberation and in tandem calls for change to consumption and societal restructuring.

From here, she weaved her way towards presenting a general overview on how animals have featured so heavily in religions across the world and how they have been so oppressed and vulnerable at the hands of many religious groups for thousands of years be it sacrificial or subservient, which seems to go against the ethos of religious groups in terms of declarations of love and compassion!

She concluded by stating that we should look at a wider sense of nurturing more critical thinking to understand challenging speciesism more and to question the dogma of politicized evolutionary science and human supremacy. Corey’s talk was then followed by Q&A from our guest audience and members.

You can see Dr Wrenn’s presentation here.

A big thank you from Michael O’Kane, Erin McGuire and Kathryn Doyle of the HAI Events team to all our members and supporters who attended HAI online events during 2022. We look forward to seeing you again in 2023!

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