The Philosophy of Animal Rights, Religion, & the Law - Cheryl (C.E.) Abbate

Thursday, November 16, 2023
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
101 Armstrong Hall, Mankato, MN, 56001

a poster with a cat and silhouettes of animals

About this event

As part of the Philosophy Colloquium Series, Dr. Cheryl (C.E.) Abbate (UNLV) will deliver a talk titled "The Philosophy of Animal Rights, Religion, & the Law." Q&A to follow. 

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome!


Some philosophers and legal experts have argued that ethical veganism satisfies the “definition” of religion under U.S. law and that ethical vegans are thus entitled to religious protection under the First Amendment and U.S. discrimination laws. One compelling objection, however, is that ethical veganism concerns an “isolated teaching,” and thus is not comprehensive enough to count as a religion (at least for First Amendment purposes). In response, Abbate will argue that there is a set of beliefs that underlie ethical veganism that qualify as religious according to even the most “demanding” religious inclusion “tests” that are now used in U.S. law: the Philosophy of Animal Rights. In particular, Abbate will argue that, like most established religions, the Philosophy of Animal Rights is a comprehensive set of ultimate, metaphysical, and moral beliefs. And, like most established religions (and unlike other secular ethical theories), a number of external and formal signs are present alongside it. So, while ethical veganism may not itself pass the more demanding legal “tests” of religion, it nevertheless is a religious practice. And, as Abbate will illustrate, this all has practical consequences for employment law, public accommodation law, affirmative action policy, and prison meal policy.

Individuals with a disability who need an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact the Department of Philosophy, Languages, and Cultures at 507-389-2012 (V), 800-627-3529 or 711 (MRS/TTY) at least 5 days prior to the event. This document is available in alternative format to individuals with disabilities by calling the above numbers.


The Department of Philosophy