Joan Dunayer is an American philosopher and animal rights advocate. She is the author of two books, Animal Equality (2001) and Speciesism (2004).

Dunayer graduated from Princeton University and has master's degrees in English literature, education, and psychology.[1]

Animal rights

Dunayer is an advocate of abolitionist animal rights. She has been described as "one of the most radical champions of animal rights and abolitionism of all forms of animal slavery".[2] She firmly opposes speciesism and what she terms "new speciesists", those who pretend to be antispeciesist but still elevate human interests over nonhumans. She categorizes Peter Singer, Tom Regan and Gary L. Francione as "new speciesists" as they privilege humans over nonhumans.[2]

She defends radical egalitarianism that rejects any attempt to compare moral values among different species.[2] In Dunayer's philosophical system a mouse's life is equal to that of a human. Her views have been criticized as problematic and impractical in real life. Philosopher Steven Best has commented that "Dunayer's radical approach leads her into numerous inconsistencies and hypocrisies. She admits, for instance, that she would kill a bear in self-defense to preserve her own existence", but this hypothetical action is "inconsistent with her radical egalitarianism, for she is assuming that her life is more important than the life of a bear who needs food."[2]

Selected works


Book chapters

“Mixed Messages: Opinion Pieces by Representatives of US Nonhuman-Advocacy Organizations,” in Critical Animal and Media Studies: Communication for Nonhuman Animal Advocacy, ed. Núria Almiron, Matthew Cole, and Carrie P. Freeman (New York: Routledge, 2016), 91-106.

“The Rights of Sentient Beings: Moving Beyond Old and New Speciesism,” in The Politics of Species: Reshaping Our Relationships with Other Animals, ed. Raymond Corbey and Annette Lanjouw (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 27–39.

“Sexist Words, Speciesist Roots,” in Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations, ed. Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995), 11–31.


See also


  1. ^ "Joan Dunayer" Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, Lantern Books, accessed 4 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Best, Steven (2006). "Review: Weighing and Protecting Life: Beyond Speciesism, Welfarism, and Legalism". Organization & Environment. 19 (2): 284–288. JSTOR 26162362.
  3. ^ Mills, Sara (2002). "Reviewed Work: Animal Equality: Language and Liberation by Joan Dunayer". Language. 78 (3): 581–583. doi:10.1353/lan.2002.0168. JSTOR 3086907. S2CID 144275534.
  4. ^ Harris, Jane (2003). "Book Reviews". Feminist Theory. 4 (2): 229–231. doi:10.1177/14647001030042011. S2CID 220186927.

Further reading