published on October 9, 2021
The Tolerant Animal Advocate
One of the recurring problems of animal rights advocacy in recent years has been the difficulty of matching up such advocacy with the broadly liberal political environment in which it operates. Animal advocates may score high on compassion for the animal victims of injustice, but much lower when it comes to political compassion for opponents. Fairly or otherwise, those with a robust, partisan commitment to animal rights have secured a reputation for intolerance. So much so, that it may even be difficult to form a plausible picture of what tolerant animal advocacy would look like, without compromising the partisanship of advocates. This paper attempts to unify partisanship and tolerance within a picture of the tolerant animal advocate as someone whose agency is marked by at least two significant constraining features. Firstly, they will engage in negative appraisals of dietary practices, but will not ordinarily move from such appraisals to any overall judgment of the character of others. Hence, they will be in no position to hold that vegetarians or vegans are in some sense better people than meat eaters. Secondly, they will deploy charges of hypocrisy rarely and with caution.