Faculty Author Q&A: Peter Singer on “Animal Liberation Now”

May 12, 2023

Peter Singer is Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values. His book “Animal Liberation Now,” the renewed version of “Animal Liberation” first published in 1975, will be published on May 23, 2023 by Harper Perennial.

How did you get the idea for this project?

Animal Liberation was first published in 1975, and although the book has never been out of print since then, the text has not been fully updated since 1990. A lot has happened since then, both good and bad. I have been wanting for a long time to renew the book for the 21st century.

How has your project developed or changed throughout the research and writing process?

I learned a lot about recent developments, some encouraging and some very disappointing. It was a lot of work getting up to date with all of the areas that the book touches on – including new topics like climate change that were not even on my radar in 1975 – but I am happy with the way in which the book has come together.

What questions for future investigation has the project sparked?

One of the big topics is alternatives to ways in which we are currently harming animals – for example, the use of AI to tell us which chemicals and pharmaceuticals are likely to be toxic to humans, so we don’t have to poison animals with them; and also the development of cultured, or cellular, meat and dairy products, which do not require us to use sentient beings to produce these products.

Why should people read this book?

If you consume animal products, you have a responsibility to know how they are produced, and to think about the ethics of what you are eating. And if you don’t consume animal products, you may want to read this book so that you can recommend it to your friends who do!

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