Watt, Y. M., O’Sullivan, S., & Probyn-Rapsey, F. (2018). Should We Eat Our Research Subjects? Advocacy and Animal Studies. Animal Studies Journal, 7(1), 180-205.
This paper examines data from a survey of Animal Studies scholars undertaken by the authors in 2015. While the survey was broad ranging, this paper focuses on three interconnected elements; the respondents’ opinions on what role they think the field should play in regard to animal advocacy, their personal commitment to animal advocacy, and how their attitudes toward advocacy in the field differ depending on their dietary habits. While the vast majority of respondents believe that the field should demonstrate a commitment to animal wellbeing, our findings suggest that respondents’ level of commitment to animal advocacy is informed by whether they choose to eat animal products or not. We conclude that this reflects the breadth of the field as well as the fact that it is a relatively new area of study and as such is still evolving. In relation to the question posed in the title of this article – should we eat our research subjects? – it seems that Animal Studies scholars are divided on that issue; some do, some don’t, but for those who do eat their research subjects there is a degree of unease about the contradictions that such a choice implies.