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The Animals & Society Institute is mourning the loss of Tom Regan, philosopher, emeritus professor at North Carolina State University, and author of the groundbreaking The Case for Animal Rights, who died on February 17. Merritt Clifton has written a lovely overview of his life, accomplishments, and impact on the lives of animals around the world.

ASI’s Kenneth Shapiro writes:

I first met Tom Regan in 1980 at a symposium which I organized at Bates College on ethics in animal research. Because of a late winter storm his flight was cancelled and he and a graduate student drove through the night from North Carolina to Lewiston, Maine to make the symposium.


Tom dedicated his life to the cause of animal rights and provided the movement with one of its two foundational treatises. Just as importantly, through his long career he always walked the talk. He participated in one of the earliest protests of the movement, a 1985 sit-in at the National Institutes of Health protesting NIH support for the head-injury baboon research at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a major player in the organization of the March on Washington in 1990, attended by 25,000 activists. He was also a strategist – recognizing the importance of religion in the US, Tom produced the award-winning film, We are all Noah, in which he interviewed major religious figures on the animal issue.


Tom was a wonderful speaker who could reach the hearts as well as the minds of his audience. He will be remembered as one of the founders of the contemporary animal rights movement.

Rest in Peace.