Are animals friends or food?

Sunday 15 July 2018 6:05AM

We may all love puppies and kittens and want them treated well, but what rights – if any – should a fish have, or a cockroach?

Kumi Taguchi joins two vegans – a Buddhist veterinarian and an animal-loving Christian to find out how to love animals best in a meat-obsessed world.

In this episode:

We ask what the reasoning is behind being allowed to eat animals, but not each other. What about being human makes us special? The idea has theological roots in Christianity, but what's the Buddhist argument?

Human rights form an important part of the law, but one expert says they should also extend to non-human animals. This includes not only dolphins and parrots, but also pests!

It's impossible to discuss animal rights without considering what we eat. Getting an Aussie to give up a snag or a good weekend BBQ is a big ask! Is this even possible? How should you go about it?

Killing animals for consumption is a morally grey area, and free-range farming techniques could be a transitioning point to a completely meat-free diet. Then again, it might just make consumers feel better about eating meat without examining what they really believe about animals.

Supporting Information

Hear Andrew Linzey's full interview on Encounter's Animals episode.

The full episode of The People Versus available at: The People vs animal rights.


Rev Barbara Allen, Uniting Church minister and former animal hospital chaplain. She was the Creation and Spirituality Project Worker for the Victoria-Tasmania Synod of the Uniting Church. She has authored several books about animals and theology including Animals in Religion: Devotion, Symbol and Ritual.

Catherine Schuetze, PhD candidate in veterinary anthropology of Bhutan at the University of Sydney. Trained veterinarian and founder of Vets Beyond Boarders.


Kumi Taguchi


Rohan Salmond / Ian Coombe / Hong Jiang

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