kind to animals is not enough. Avoiding cruelty is
not enough. Housing animals in more comfortable,
larger cages is not enough. Whether we exploit animals
eat, to wear, to entertain us, or to learn, the truth
of animal rights requires empty cages, not larger
MS: "How does the concept of
a biography not a biology fit into this debate?"
TR: "The central question in the animal rights debate is whether any other
like us being "subjects-in-a-life," whether any other animals are in
the world, aware of the world, aware of what happens to them, and what happens
to them matters matters to them. That's the fundamental question, and the answer
to that is "yes," then we have made the case for "animal rights," in
MS: "Essentially, you're adding on to what Jeremy
Bentham said about
the question being not whether they can reason or talk, but whether
adding something bigger onto this."
TR: "I am. What I'm trying to get at, is that
there is somebody who is suffering, not only there is suffering occurring,
is an ongoing individual that has
an identity over time. There is this subject of a life, rather than a
life without a subject. That's what's crucial. Suffering is relevant,
so is being able to act on your own without being forced to do so. There
are lots of things
that don't reduce the suffering to anything relevant."
--- excerpt from the Interview
Regan (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, North Carolina
State University) is universally recognized as the
intellectual leader of the animal rights movement.
During his more than 30 years on the faculty, he received numerous awards
excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching; was named University Alumni
Distinguished Professor; published hunders of professional papers and more
than 20 books; won major international awards for film writing and direction;
and presented hundreds of lectures throughout the United States and abroad.
Upon his retirement in 2001, he received the William Quarles Holliday Medal,
the highest honor NCSU can bestow on one of its
In that same year, using his donated papers and extensive personal library,
the NCSU Library established the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive,
the world's leading archival resource for animal rights scholarship.
With his wife, Nancy, he cofounded "The Culture & Animals Foundation."
interview took place by phone in early August
Parts 1 and 2 provide an overview of the acclaimed book "Empty Cages,"
general AR concepts, controversies, and about Tom's
Parts 3 and 4 focus primarily on the book.
[2014 Note: some of the links have been changed since this interview was conducted. I've tried to flag as many as I could. Here's the primary link to Tom's current website for "Empty Cages" including Foreword, the insightful "cat thought experiment" Prologue, and Chapter One. You can also learn more about Dr. Regan, read interviews, see lectures, buy books, and more at the same website.]
BACKGROUND AND RESOURCES
(picture at top from Animal Rights Conference 2003 )