This study explored personal experiences of animal rights and environmental activists in New Zealand. The stories of participants provided insight into the challenges activists face in a country where the economy is heavily dependent on animal agriculture. A qualitative methodology was utilised and several major themes emerged: (1) emotional and psychological experiences, (2) group membership, (3) characteristics of activism and liberation, (4) the law and its agents, and (5) challenge to society. Participants of the study represent a group of individuals engaged in acts of altruistic offending triggered by exposure to the suffering of non-human animals. Their moral philosophy and conscience overrode all considerations for legal repercussions, and through their activism they not only challenged the status quo, but also called upon non-activist members of society to make meaningful contributions to the world around them.
Activism, Animal Rights, Altruism, Altruistic Offending, Empathy, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
The present research was conducted as part of the corresponding author’s PhD at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. The authors would like to thank the participants of the study.
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Recommended APA Citation
Feigin, S., Owens, R., & Goodyear-Smith, F. (2018). A Clean, Green New Zealand? An In-Depth Look at the Personal Experiences of Animal Rights Activists. The Qualitative Report, 23(3), 616-635. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2018.3086