Spokesmen for Animals – Richard Ryder, Peter Singer, and Tom Regan

  • László Erdős


The 1970s marked the emergence of views on animals that had a lasting effect on the course of animal advocacy. Clinical psychologist Richard D. Ryder performed animal experiments but quit the system and joined the animal advocates. Describing a moral standpoint that is akin to racism, he coined the term ‘speciesism.’ Both racists and speciesists try to justify the mistreatment of others based solely on their taxonomic position (race or species): they treat individuals who are not in the preferred taxonomic group as not belonging to the moral sphere. Australian philosopher Peter Singer is probably the world’s most influential living philosopher. In his book ‘Animal Liberation,’ Singer argues that if we accept the principle of equality among humans, we cannot consistently reject that the same principle applies to non-human animals as well. Deontologist philosopher Tom Regan stated that many animals are inherently valuable, that is, they have rights and we have direct duties to them. Thus, to treat animals merely as means is morally not acceptable.


Animal ethics Factory farms Animal experiments Oxford Group Speciesism Inherent value Great Ape Project Animal Liberation The Case for Animal Rights 

Worth Reading

  1. Cavalieri, P., & Singer, P. (1994). The great ape project: Equality beyond humanity. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  2. Mason, J., & Singer, P. (1990). Animal factories. New York: Three Rivers Press.Google Scholar
  3. Regan, T. (2004a). The case for animal rights. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. Regan, T. (2004b). Empty cages: Facing the challenge of animal rights. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Regan, T. (2006). Defending animal rights. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  6. Ryder, R. D. (1983). Victims of science: The use of animals in research. London: National Anti-Vivisection Society.Google Scholar
  7. Ryder, R. D. (2001). Painism: A modern morality. London: Centaur Press.Google Scholar
  8. Ryder, R. D. (2011). Speciesism, painism and happiness: A morality for the twenty-first century. Exeter: Societas.Google Scholar
  9. Singer, P. (2009). Animal liberation. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  10. Singer, P., & Mason, J. (2006). The ethics of what we eat: Why our food choices matter. Emmaus: Rodale.Google Scholar

Worth Watching

  1. Speciesism: The Movie (2013)Google Scholar
  2. The Animals Film (1981)Google Scholar
  3. Tools for Research (1983)Google Scholar
  4. From Mice to Men? (2007)Google Scholar
  5. We Are All Noah (1986)Google Scholar
  6. Live and Let Live (2013)Google Scholar
  7. Empathy (2017)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • László Erdős
    • 1
  1. 1.MTA-DE Lendület Functional and Restoration Ecology Research Group, DebrecenInstitute of Ecology and Botany MTA Centre for Ecological ResearchVácrátótHungary

Personalised recommendations