The AR Movement That Once Was

Tom Regan

Volume 21 of Between the Species begins with a memorial issue devoted to Tom Regan.

In it Gary Francione has an excellent article called Reflections on Tom Regan and the Animal Rights Movement That Once Was.

It provides a deep insight into Tom Regan’s place in the growth and understanding of animal rights, but also into his complete turnaround in terms of how to go about realising these rights.

This is my brief overview of the article:

Tom Regan released his pioneering work on the theory of animal rights, The Case For Animal Rights, in 1983.

From 1985, he and Gary Francione were great friends and developed ideas about the theory and practice of abolition (to end animal use).

In 1992 Tom and Gary wrote the article, A Movement’s Means Create Its Ends, which maintained that action to achieve animal rights should be consistent with that end. For example, animal welfare is not animal rights, so an animal rights movement shouldn’t promote welfare measures.

In 1995, Tom admitted to eating vegetarian foods—eg cheese—outside home.

The following year, 1996, his strong opposition to non-rights tactics collapsed with the March for Animal Rights.

He turned his earlier views on their head, from that point on embracing measures such as animal welfare and collaborating with many of the groups and individuals he’d previously criticized.