Jim Mason

                                              Presenting a toy to Henry

Jim Mason's work as an author, activist and attorney has focused on the rights and interests of animals as well as related human concerns. He has co-authored two books focused on farm animal conditions with ethicist Peter Singer, The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter in 2006, and in 1980 they co-wrote the seminal text Animal Factories. In 2005 Jim penned the classic, An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature, which, as his website describes, "looks at the historical and cultural roots of the Western belief in God-given dominion over the living world. In enslaving animals for war and farming...agrarian society broke the ancient bonds and sense of kinship with them." In 2017, he contributed a long essay to the Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies titled “Misothery: Contempt for Animals and Nature, Its Origins, Purposes, and Repercussions.” 

Jim traveled from his home in Virginia to join Henry and me at my cousin's house in Washington, DC for some filming followed by lunch. From his moving recollection of a traumatic incident as a small boy on a Missouri farm, to his insights about the connections between cultural beliefs and human actions toward animals, we found fertile ground for a lively discussion around the complexities - and simplicity - of human-animal relations.

the Interview

Introduction and Work

Impacts of Dominionism 

Early Influences

Confronting Factory Farming


Exposing Invisible Animal Industries

Consequences of Exploitation

Responding to People Who Don’t Believe Animals, Humanity and the Planet are in Danger 

Rationalizing Harm

First Hunters and Farmers

The Role of Empathy 

Reducing Animal Use

How Animals Shape Our Worldview

Environmentalists and Animal Rights

Confronting Resistance to Change 

What is it About Human Behavior that Encourages Exploitation and Harm and How Do We Overcome It?

The Origin Of Human Domination

Religion and Animals

The Question of What Animals Feel

Questioning the Status Quo

The Environmental Impact of Agriculture 

An Unsustainable Attitude

A "Primal Worldview"