Peter Singer is a part-time Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, and part-time Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. His most famous book is Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for our Treatment of Animals, originally published in 1975. Since then he has published many more, including Practical Ethics and The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter. You can follow him @PeterSinger or visit his website to find out more about him.
Peter Singer is widely regarded as the father of the modern-day Animal Rights movement. I read a copy of his book Animal Liberation in college and it had a huge impact on me. He is a co-editor of The Great Ape Project, which is, as he says, a book, an idea, and an organization. This is THE book that started this project for me (check out About the interviews for details on how this project came about). I ended up at the 1996 Animal Rights Conference in Washington, DC, which was the first and only event like this I had attended. It was a great year to go, a lot of high profile animal rights people were there including Peter. I stood in line to get a copy of The Great Ape Project (Jane Goodall’s table was right next to his), where he inscribed it, “Together we can change the world”. I was beyond inspired. The same weekend I found this book, I also became a vegan, so that was a life changing weekend for me, to say the least.
I knew in order to base a film on the book he edited and the organization he helped create, I really wanted to interview Peter. That and just personally I thought it would be amazing to get to talk with someone who had inspired so many people to rethink their relationship with animals. He agreed, and we arrived at Princeton University in New Jersey, which is located on a really beautiful tree-lined campus. He was one of the people we interviewed in our first trip out, so I was still getting comfortable interviewing. He was very knowledgeable and thoughtful and patient and relaxed. One idea he clarified for me that I hadn’t understood prior to meeting him was that he doesn’t think it’s right to categorically compare the suffering of humans and the suffering of animals, but that there needs to be some accounting for the specific individuals in question and their capacities to suffer (I’ll post the clip where he discusses this at some point). When we were done with the interview, we followed him up to his office to shoot some b-roll. I remember feeling super privileged to get to see where his office was and to stand in it.
YOU CAN FIND ALL OF PETER SINGER’S INTERVIEWS HERE. This collection may increase as I upload more content to this site.