Why and how do people campaign on behalf of a species that is not their own? Responses to this question provide important insights into the much misunderstood animal rights movement and the people in it who challenge the moral orthodoxy that underpins our attitudes towards nonhuman animals.
The norm of moderate concern for animals – that animals matter albeit less than humans – permits the (ab)use of animals in vivisection, factory farming, bloodsports and other contexts where animals suffer. Social movement theory is used to show how animal rights activists are engaged in the social construction of cruelty as a social problem which they seek to prevent by their intellectual, practical and emotion work in seminal campaigns against cruelty in the United States, England and Australia.
Lyle Munro, MA (ANU), Ph.D. (Monash) is a Lecturer in Sociology and Social Research at Monash University in Australia. He has published widely on the animal rights movement including Compassionate Beasts: The Quest for Animal Rights (Praeger, Westport, CT. 2001).
"Only a handful of doctoral dissertations have been produced on the sociology of the animal movement (included Munro's own on which this book is based), [...] Munro's survey of the sociological literature on animal protection [...] is timely, and his description and analysis of the tactics and strategy of the animal movement, contained particularly in chapter 6, is one of the best."
- Robert Garner, Society & Animals, 2005 no. 3.