Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
11 October 2000 Issue

By Steve Best, [email protected]

Once upon a time, a year or so ago, I was an untenured Philosophy professor. I had to answer to the shrill complaints of the Chairs of the Philosophy and Humanities Departments about my custom of teaching vegetarianism and animal rights issues. I also endured anonymous and ignorant Professors from other departments writing to the Chair of the Philosophy Department and vilifying the content of my teaching methods and courses about which they knew nothing. I always took a career risk, for the material was controversial (much more than my teaching of Nietzsche, feminism, Marx, etc.) and was enough in a standard intolerant university environment to get me fired (although 99% of my students loved what I do, a vast majority move toward vegetarianism, and many take my classes specifically to learn about health and animal rights issues).

But alas, much to my surprise, as I was downloading an application to the Peace Corps, I did get tenure (in large part thanks to a strong publication and teaching record), and now I am Chair of the Philosophy Department. So instead of answering to others, I myself set the policies, and believe me, they will forever include the teaching of animal rights and ethical vegetarianism. In fact, next spring, I will co-teach a seminar on "Animal Rights and the Law" that already is attracting a lot of interest.

So who says a radical anarchist, vegan, animal rights theorist and activist can't survive in a medieval and anthropocentric university environment? Animal rights teachers of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our fear of teaching and doing what is right - (home page)

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