Animal Rights Activism and the LGBTQ Community

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Most people do not know that the modern-day animal rights activist movement was begun by Irish lesbian Frances Power Cobbe. Cobbe founded the National Vivisection Society (NAVS) in 1875 and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) in 1898, the first organized animal rights groups in history. She was appalled by the abuse of animals used in research and scientific endeavours. Particular attention was paid to the use of vivisection – the practice of dissecting animals while they are still alive for the purpose of scientific study.

Cobbe's activism against animal cruelty and abuse has continued to this day. The movement now includes many prominent entertainment stars and high profile individuals. Notable among these includes gay American Dan Mathews, the head of People Against the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) marketing efforts - he is known for his shock campaigns, including the legendary 'Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur' campaign.

There is a close relationship between animal rights activism and the vegan movement.

Animal rights activists draw many parallels between their movement and the LGBTQ rights movement overall. Both groups point out oppression and bullying, both involve an oppressor and an oppressed party, and there have been significant rights advances in both areas. There are similar elements of humanewashing and deception in each. Pre-conceived notions of natural and unnatural behaviour are used to justify violence against a party in both cases. Intersectional research studies are numerous, led by such high profile academics as Greta Gaard (see Further Reading below for a sample of published works).

In 2019 the largest Initial Public Offering (IPO) of a vegan food company, Beyond Meat, occurred - the price more than doubled on its first trading day giving the firm a remarkable US$ 3.8 billion market capitalization. Many food companies in the developed world are quickly rolling out vegan food options to capture a rapidly growing niche market. Canada's Maple Leaf Foods company announced an investment to double the output of its plant-based protein operations in the southern United States.

We have identified the following LGBTQ individuals who are leading animal rights activists. Simply click on their names to read their fascinating biographies:


Great Britain




New Zealand

United States

See Also

Further Reading/Research

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