The Caring Sleuth: Portrait Of An Animal Rights Activist
Using autobiographies and surveys of animal advocates, the author examines the qualities that compel animal activists. He finds that they all have a number of factors in common regarding the ability to both care and notice suffering. This, he argues, leads to tensions on an internal and interpersonal level, often due to larger society’s lack of caring. These tensions can be resolved in one of three ways–by seeking out other advocates for community, suppressing the caring, and/ or becoming hateful–which may change throughout the course of one’s advocacy.
“The present study of the psychology of animal rights activists utilizes a qualitative analytic method based on two forms of data: a set of questionnaire protocols completed by grassroots activists and of autobiographical accounts by movement leaders. The resultant account keys on the following descriptives: (1) an attitude of caring, (2) suffering as an habitual object of perception, and (3) the aggressive and skillful uncovering and investigation of instances of suffering. In a final section, the investigator discusses tensions and conflicts arising from these three themes and various ways of attempting to resolve them.”