Back in 2004, Erik Marcus launched what I am pretty sure was the first vegan/AR podcast. (In fact, the word “podcast” had just been coined earlier that year by a BBC journalist.) Although it was called “Erik’s Diner” (and later “VegTalk”), the weekly show covered animal rights stories and interviews with activists alongside news about the food industry.
We’ve come a long way since then. Erik stopped podcasting in 2010, but the vacuum has been filled by many other excellent shows covering a wide range of topics within the movement and using a variety of formats, from polished, scripted discussion to loosely structured banter. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I think these 10 are among the most informative and entertaining.
(I am limiting this list to podcasts, rather than radio shows like “Animal Voices Vancouver” and “Easy Vegan with JL Fields” that, while excellent, are radio broadcasts first before being archived as digital media.)
The Animal Law Podcast. Animal law is a tricky subject; after all, animals are legally considered “property” and have almost no rights. So how do animal advocates fight on their behalf and enshrine significant changes through statutes? Helping us understand the burgeoning world of animal law is animal law professor and longtime activist Mariann Sullivan, who examines the latest legal battles and interviews the brightest minds in the animal rights field while also offering her own insightful commentary. And she knows her stuff: Mariann is a former Deputy Chief Court Attorney in New York State and is now a lecturer at Columbia Law School. She has also taught courses in animal law and farmed animal law at Lewis and Clark Law School, NYU Law School, and other colleges.
Animal Rights (AR) Zone. Expect lively discussions with host Carolyn Bailey, who launched this Australian podcast in 2011 (first guest: Tom Regan). The show has since developed a more inclusive style, tackling so-called “intersectional” activism with interviews that reveal how animal liberation is connected with other social justice movements. Occasionally, rather than conversations with a live guest, “AR Zone” features “workshops” that discuss animal rights issues. All conversations are then transcribed and made available for further discussion on the site.
Animalogy. Created and hosted by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, another early adopter of podcasting, “Animalogy” explores animal-related words and common expressions and how they reflect and affect our relationship with animals. Because, as Colleen explains, it is through words that we objectify, diminish, and dismember animals. There is also a lot of very interesting etymology here. Who knew, for instance, that “capricious,” “caprice,” “Capricorn,” and the beautiful Italian island of Capri are all derived from capra, the Latin word for goat?
The Bearded Vegans. Andy Tabar, owner of the vegan message-wear business Compassion Co., teamed up with his fellow hirsute friend Paul Stellar to create “The Bearded Vegans” podcast. Episodes generally run more than an hour, and with plenty of good-natured humor the hosts talk about food, news, and sometimes reviews before they dive into a lengthy discussion on a topical subject, such as “Should vegans boycott Daiya?” or “Is National Animal Rights Day good for animals?” They occasionally interview activists, too.
The Compassion Fatigue Podcast. Hosted by therapist Jennifer Blough, a certified compassion fatigue specialist, “The Compassion Fatigue Podcast” is highly recommended for anyone suffering from activism-related stress (in other words, nearly all of us). I cannot emphasize enough how important self-care is. Oh, and Jennifer is a vegan!
Knowing Animals. Another podcast from Australia, “Knowing Animals” is hosted by Dr. Siobhan O’Sullivan. Each episode offers about 20 minutes of conversation with an animal studies scholar on their work, the law, ethics, and how the public can make a difference for animals. Siobhan has an extensive background in theory and research, so the discussion can be academic at times.
Our Hen House. One of the bigger success stories to come out of podcasting, the award-winning “Our Hen House” show was created by Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan. They’ve done an episode every week since January 2010, and they are about to reach their 400th installment. The emphasis here is on activism, vegan products, news from the animal rights world, and at least one interview with someone from the movement.
The VeganAri Show. If you’re looking for a fun, laidback podcast, look no further. Ari Solomon and his husband, Mikko Alanne, discuss animal rights news, politics, food, entertainment, activism, new products, and life in L.A., all with a vegan/feminist perspective. As one iTunes reviewer put it, “The news can be so devastating and dreary, but when Ari and Mikko talk about it, they provide insight, social commentary, humor, and poignancy.”
Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack! Callie Coker and Nichole Dinato take a holistic approach to animal rights on their podcast, “Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack!” (They attack the issues head on.) The show is meant to be a source of support and community for people already dedicated to the lifestyle. Callie and Nichole do indeed attack important issues, but they do so with compassion and humor. You’re as likely to hear them discuss feminism or human rights as you are veganism on the show.
Which Side Podcast. Co-hosts Jordan Halliday and Jeremy Parkin say the focus of the Which Side Podcast (as in “Which side are you on?”) is to bring interesting content and conversations not unlike what you might experience around a table full of friends (well-informed friends, that is). The weekly podcast has been around since 2012, so they have an extensive archive of interviews to enjoy, including conservations with such activists as Ronnie Lee, Lori Marino, Daniel McGowan, lauren Ornelas, James DeAlto, Bruce Friedrich, and many, many others.
All of these podcasts rely on the support of listeners, whether through donations or reviews (or both), so if you like what you hear, please give them some love.