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.