Risk Management in Animal Rights Ethnography: Notes from the Field

The animal rights community in Toronto, Ontario is robust, and performances of ethical belief there are diverse. Among these are ingress onto commercial animal agriculture properties for the purpose of documenting the conditions of animals there and removing the sick and injured among them; activities animal rights activists characterize as whistleblowing and rescue but farmers characterize as trespass and theft. In addition, many animal rights demonstrations that were legal during my field work in 2020 were later criminalized by Ontario Bill 156, which was undergoing legislative review at the time. For these reasons, and because it was possible that I would be interviewing people who had committed crimes in the service of their ethical beliefs, the security provisions for my field work were concerned with risk management for them and for myself. This paper will outline these provisions in the hope they may be of help to other ethnographers.

Delivered at the Folklore Studies Association of Canada Conference on May 26, 2023 and available for download on Academia.edu.

Published In: 
Face to Face
Bibliographic Entry: 

MacCath-Moran, Ceallaigh S. 2023. “Risk Management in Animal Rights Ethnography: Notes from the Field.” Presented at Face to Face, Sydney, Nova Scotia, May 26.