Vegans on the Hot Seat: Rae Sikora and Gary Francione Respond

Fire photo: Ernest von Rosen,; Rae Sikora photo from; Gary Francione photo from

Should insects have rights? What about plants? Don’t they feel pain, too? Isn’t meat-eating natural? What about religious texts that justify using and eating animals? Isn’t veganism classist, racist, Euro-centric, and culturally-insensitive? Why bother advocating for animals when there’s so much human suffering? Why be vegan when humanely-produced meat and dairy is now available?

If you’ve ever been confronted with concerns like these, or wonder about them yourself, tune in to hear responses from two respected vegans and movement leaders. Structured around a set of commonly-asked questions about veganism and animal rights, tomorrow’s show features Rae Sikora and Gary Francione, who will answer the same questions, each informed by decades of experience and their own unique perspective.

For those of us who have ever been stumped, baffled, and otherwise left with a loss for words, this episode of Animal Voices should offer some excellent ideas for how to approach the issues.

Listen right now:

or download an mp3 of the interview.

More on Francione and Sikora…

Rae Sikora has been a spokesperson for animals, the environment and human rights for over 25 years. She is the co-founder of the Center for Compassionate Living and the Institute for Humane Education. She is also the founder of Simply Enough, an organization that promotes peace, critical thinking, and creativity. “The time has come to recognize that we are enough and we have enough regardless of the messages that advertising and popular culture have infused into our lifestyles” ( Sikora holds degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Education from University of Wisconsin.

Gary Francione is a Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University. Professor Francione started teaching animal rights and the law in his course on legal philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985. He began teaching it as a separate course when he moved to Rutgers in 1989, and combined the course with a litigation clinic (the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Clinic) in which students worked on actual animal cases while learning theory in the classroom. He has written four books, and numerous articles on animals and the law, including Animals, Property, and the Law (1995), Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? (2000), and Vivisection and Dissection in the Classroom: A Guide to Conscientious Objection (with Anna Charlton) (1992). Francione’s new book, Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation is coming out with Columbia University this fall. More info about Francione can be found at his website The Abolitionist Approach.

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