Critical Animal Studies and Activism

International Perspectives on Total Liberation and Intersectionality

by Anthony J. Nocella II (Volume editor) Richard J. White (Volume editor)
©2023 Edited Collection XX, 178 Pages


Weaving together a diverse range of scholarly-activist intersectional voices from around the world, Critical Animal Studies and Activism: International Perspectives on Total Liberation and Intersectionality co-edited by Anthony J. Nocella II and Richard J. White makes a powerful contribution to knowledge and understanding. It is essential reading for environmentalists, animal advocates, social justice organizers, policy-makers, social change-makers, and indeed for all those who care about the future of this planet. This book spans many scholar disciplines and activist social movements, and provides new insights to fundamental debates surrounding inter-species justice, liberation, and democracy. This critical theory for total liberation book expands the understanding of one struggle one fight: for human freedom, for animal rights, and for the liberation of the earth herself. Rooted in a radical praxis, the book argues that those in academia that claim critical animal studies, need to hit the streets with the protesters and the protesters need to join the theoretical conversations. Theory and practice and not binaries, but two pieces of a larger goal. Read this book and use its arguments to take the fight to smash capitalism, oppression, and domination in all its forms!

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword (Danni McGhee)
  • Preface (S. Marek Muller)
  • Introduction: Critical Animal Studies: Taking Action at a Time of Crisis (Richard J. White and Anthony J. Nocella II)
  • 1. Bearing Witness to the Animal Condition. Exploring the Complex Motivations, Experiences and Coping-Strategies of Sheffield Save Movement Activists (UK) (Alex Hinchcliffe and Richard J. White)
  • 2. Performing Veganism: Building Bridges amongst Academia, Activism, and Community (María Marta Andreatta)
  • 3. Becoming Vegan in Slovenia: Some Reflections on Theory and Activism (Anja Radaljac and Aljaž Krivec)
  • 4. Strategic Empathy, Intra-Sectional Demonstrations, and Animal Activism: In Pursuit of Total Liberation (Nathan Grande)
  • 5. Challenging the Ideologies behind the Animal Agricultural Industry: A Case for Critical Animal Studies and Ecofeminism (Kiana Avlon)
  • 6. ‘Before We Talk about Freedom: Let Us Free Our Slaves’: An Activist’s Reflections on Anarchism, Non-human Animals and Total Liberation (Carlos Garcia)
  • 7. Animal Victims in the Colombian War (Terry Hurtado)
  • 8. Cow Releases as Staged Liberations in Agri-Tourism (Erica von Essen and Michael Allen)
  • Afterword
  • Contributors’ Biographies (Tony Quintana)
  • Index
  • Series Index

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Anthony and Richard would like to thank everyone who has assisted in the production and publishing of this book. We are especially grateful to Kim Socha for their contribution to the Introduction, and for making other key editorial interventions. Special mention must go to the authors for writing such tremendous chapters, and to Danni McGhee, S. Marek Muller, and Tony Quintana for their extremely thoughtful Foreword and Preface, respectively. We would like to thank all the contributors as well Nathan Grande, María Marta Andreatta, Anja Radaljac, Aljaž Krivec, Michael Allen, Erica Von Essen, Terry Hurtado, Michael Allen, Erica Von Essen, Alex Hinchcliffe, Carlos Garcia, and Kiana Avlon. We would like to thank Peter Lang Publishing particularly Dani Green, Jackie Pavlovic, and Naviya Palani. We are also indebted to the inspiration we draw more collectively from those involved with ICAS, Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice, Salt Lake Community College, Green Theory and Praxis Journal, Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Critical Animal Studies Academy, Critical Animal Studies Association, Critical Animal Studies Society, Wisdom Behind the Walls, Arissa Media Group, Eco-ability Collective, Arissa Media Group, Save the Kids, and Poetry Behind the Walls. Finally, we would like to thank our friends and family. We hope that this book helps bring forward a world deeply rooted in inter-species social and spatial justice: a world that we all so desperately desire.

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Danni McGhee

Years ago, I met a man who was vegan, and he suggested I give it a try. I thought he was illogical, and I was seriously confused. I could not wrap my brain around the thought of never eating chicken, seafood, cheese, or eggs since they were a large part of my daily diet. I even recall seeing his food, which was a plate full of leafy greens, sprouts, tofu, quinoa, and other vegetables. I immediately said, “I could never go vegan if I have to eat like that!”

Four years later, I was nearly 200 pounds, suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), joint pain, low energy, terrible sleeping patterns, depression, anxiety, and brain fog. I started the year off by attending group fitness classes 6 days a week and incorporating “healthier” meals according to a standard American diet. After about 5 months of dedication to my workouts and eating plan, I had lost 25 pounds, but then suddenly, my weight loss plateaued. I was still working out 6 days a week and not cheating on my meal plan, but the scale was not budging. Then my friend tagged me on a post on social media where a woman was promoting a 21 day plant based vegan challenge. The challenge host was a beautiful Black woman who was extremely fit and toned. I don’t want to reinforce body norms, glorify certain body types, or body shame, but for me, health and fitness are important, especially because I had IBS.

On July 14, 2014, I started the challenge ready to embrace all the amazing recipes that were given to the group. There was also an online community group to keep everyone motivated, share recipe ideas, and support each other as we embarked on a new way of eating. Within 3 days, I lost 4 pounds, and I could not believe it. How did this happen so quickly when I had been struggling for weeks? Then I learned more about digestion and realized some ←xi | xii→of the foods I thought were healthy were actually extremely harmful to my digestion. I had been suffering with digestive distress for seven years and had no idea that I needed to change my diet to improve the IBS symptoms I experienced daily. The doctors only provided me with a prescription instead of a solution to get to the root of my issue.

The following week of this challenge, the group host posted a list of a dozen documentaries about food nutrition, the planet, and the animals. I recognized one of them; I had been gifted Forks Over Knives back in 2012 by two complete strangers that I met while at work. I never watched it but always kept the DVD with me. As I watched Forks Over Knives, I was on an emotional rollercoaster between tears of sadness and moments of happiness. I was sad because for the first time, I realized that I had been feeding the conditions I was suffering with, but I was extremely happy because now I understood the connection between food, my health, the Earth, animals, and human rights. This was such an “Ah ha!” moment for me, and I wanted to know more. Over the next two days, I binged on every documentary that was out at the time. I believe in those 2 days, I watched 10 documentaries! I was so intrigued by this information, as I had never heard any of this before in my 31 years of life. As I dived deeper into understanding the full scope of veganism, my mind started to open up to this concept of compassion towards animals, sustainability for the planet, and eating for optimal health. Within those two days, I knew it was my duty to be vegan for the animals, the planet, and my future, and since then, I’ve never looked back.

At that moment, I thought back to when I told my friend “I could never go vegan!” as I now am fully committing to this lifestyle. As they say, never say never because one day your eyes may be opened to some new information that can change everything. Since transitioning, I have lost 65 pounds; I no longer suffer from IBS, joint pain, depression, anxiety, or low energy. Along with so many other positives, veganism has changed me for the better.

Like those documentaries I watched, this intersectional, grass-roots, total liberation book by scholar-activists is an eye opener for any who will read it. Veganism for me was initially just about my health, but quickly turned into much more—racial justice, environmental justice, social justice, animal justice, and economic justice. As a person who said they loved animals, I was not fully living up to that claim because of the choices I made on my plate, clothing, and lifestyle. This book takes you on a journey to understanding the depths of the importance of animal rights as the authors in the book share the views of individuals from different parts of the world who are making waves across the planet. I loved reading their inspiring words because ←xii | xiii→they show how us as humans can come together for total liberation and be in solidarity with those who are oppressed at the hands of human supremacy.

There is a lot of work that still needs to be done for total liberation of all beings, and it is our responsibility to be a part of the positive changes we want to see. As stated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, so let this book and the stories shared here inspire you to dig deeper into why you choose what you eat, what you wear, what you buy, and what activities you participate in. It’s all matters.

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S. Marek Muller

The year is 2022 and everyone is tired. Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged human cultures and brought to the forefront the intimate interconnections of human and nonhuman animal lives. Meat production has waxed and waned as slaughterhouse workers simultaneously kill nonhuman animals and find themselves in increased danger of death by contagion—all while their corporate supervisors go about their lives without risk to their health or livelihoods. Meanwhile, U.S. American news outlets decry East Asian “wet markets” as inhumane and unsanitary vectors for disease, with politicians dubbing COVID-19 the “China Virus” as a means of deflecting Western culpability in both the global pandemic and the cruelty of industrialized animal agriculture. For ordinary citizens worldwide, strolls into pristine “nature” have become the focal point of group activities to substitute close quarters, reminding humans of the mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and other species surrounding them at any given moment. Once inside their homes, “pandemic puppies” are all the rage as families, quarantined from public life, have sought friendship in the tiny paws, beaks, and tails of companion animals.

Critical animal studies (CAS) has never been unimportant. The fast and furious spread of COVID-19 has simply rendered the field more visible to a public traditionally disinterested in critical studies of more-than-human exploitation under capitalism. We can endlessly guess as to why. Perhaps the boredom of quarantine has led some to spend increased time spent online and find our radical vegan spaces. Perhaps the job losses, evictions, and other economic losses borne of the pandemic have led publics to the conclusion that unchecked capitalism is unsustainable. Perhaps the viral videos of and protests against police brutality pushed some to make the inevitable connection between racialization and ←xv | xvi→animalization, between how discourses of whiteness (combined with the speciesist depiction of not-quite-human-enough humans as disposable) justify violence against BIPOC populations. Perhaps populist political slogans that deem immigrants “vermin” and transgender people “unnatural” have forced some to confront how binaries such as human/animal and nature/culture are not only problematic, but also insufficient for understanding the complex relationships between humans and across species.

The timeliness of Anthony Nocella’s and Richard White’s collection cannot be overstated. Now more than ever is the time for theory-to-activist approaches to scholarship as opposed to theory for theory’s sake. CAS is one of the few academic fields that requires of its scholars a firm commitment to telos and to praxis. It eschews careerists, negates neoliberalism, and contests capitalism. Further, it is the only field that does so with a central focus upon species as an identity category. CAS takes seriously the existential and political importance of the (non)human subject in tandem with the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, disability, and species. In so doing, it offers scholars and activists the opportunity to become scholar-activists committed to a radical vegan ethic of “total liberation.”


XX, 178
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2023 (April)
social justice sociology criminology peace social science humanities critical animal studies animal rights environmental studies political science philosophy social theory Critical Animal Studies and Activism International Perspectives on Total Liberation and Intersectionality Anthony J. Nocella II Richard J White
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2023. XX, 178 pp., 3 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Anthony J. Nocella II (Volume editor) Richard J. White (Volume editor)

Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., (they/he) long-time intersectional total liberation scholar-activist, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Salt Lake Community College. He is the editor of the Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice Journal, and co-editor of five book series including Critical Animal Studies and Theory and Hip Hop Studies and Activism. He is the National Director of Save the Kids and Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies. He has published over fifty book chapters or articles and forty books. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicles, Fresno Bee, Fox, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, and Los Angeles Times. Richard J. White, Ph.D., is Reader/Associate Professor in Human Geography at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Greatly influenced by anarchist praxis Richard’s main research agenda explores a range of ethical and economic landscapes rooted in the intersectional contexts of social justice and total liberation movements. He has co-edited Vegan Geographies (2022); The Radicalization of Pedagogy, Theories of Resistance, The Practice of Freedom (all 2016); and Anarchism and Animal Liberation (2015).


Title: Critical Animal Studies and Activism
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199 pages