Approaches to Three Crises in an Ethnographic Study of the Toronto Animal Rights Community

On February 1, 2020, I began an ethnographic study of the Toronto animal rights community with several research interests in mind; ethical belief among activists and its expression in their performances of activism, animal rights discourses and resulting discursive tensions with the public, and relevant folklore of art, foodways, and material culture. However, I arrived while the community was engaged in public opposition to Ontario Bill 156, which proposed criminalization of certain whistleblowing strategies vital to the local movement. On March 11th, the WHO declared a pandemic, which curtailed this opposition and other forms of public animal rights advocacy for several weeks. On June 11th, veteran activist Regan Russell was tragically struck and killed by a transport truck while demonstrating outside a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. These three crises have informed and transformed my ongoing research in significant ways, and this paper will explore my ethnographic responses to them.

Delivered at the Folklore Studies Association of Canada Conference on June 5, 2021 and available for download on

Published In: 
Folklore and Crisis
Bibliographic Entry: 

MacCath-Moran, Ceallaigh. 2021. "Approaches to Three Crises in an Ethnographic Study of the Toronto Animal Rights Community." Presented at Folklore and Crisis: Online, June 5.