This thesis gives an overview of Animal Ethics in Norway and discusses its place in the public debate.
At the base of this thesis lie three central questions:The first question addresses the attitudes towards animals in the Norwegian society. Is it possible, I ask, to detect a” national arrogance” with respect to animal protection and the living conditions for animals in Norway, and if so, how has this affected the Norwegian Animal Ethics organizations?
The second question addresses the status and legitimacy of the issue of Animal Ethics in Norway. Has it, as some claim, been excluded from the Norwegian environmental field, and if so - why?
The third question addresses the presence of radical behaviour in society. Does Animal Ethics activists have particularly critical attitudes towards society, and are they therefore also engaged in other ideological issues? Hence, I ask whether the field of animal ethics functions as a channel through which to articulate more general system-critical attitudes.
The thesis is structured into four chapters, each addressing different aspects of the topic at hand. This structure will create a separation between the organizational field and the informal actors, and will in effect make a case within the case.
Chapter 2 introduces and defines radicalism, and takes a closer look at two radical directions: Radical environmentalism and Animal Ethics. For the present purpose I will consider Animal Ethics to be a part of the Environmental Ethics field, although I recognize that this is an ongoing debate. Because of the limitations of this thesis, this debate will not be covered. I will in this chapter is to introduce the field of Animal Ethics and present the ideological foundation in which it is based. This is done by describing the field in which the radical organizations and other actors operate.
The thesis then narrows down and chapter 3 give attention to the presence of Animal Ethics in Norway. First, the chapter introduce a Norwegian term commonly used to describe those concerned with issues of Animal Ethics. Then, the chapter will present an overview and mapping of the organizations and other actors on the field. It will be argued that issues connected to Animal Ethics have not gained status as important in Norway, and some possible explanations will be proposed.
Chapter 4 focuses on some of the methodological challenges I encountered in working on this thesis. Following this, my main research findings from interviews conducted in the organizational field and other actors on the field are presented and discussed.
Chapter 5 present the case of the Animal Liberation Front in Norway, discussing that the radical direct actions of this group can be defined as acts of civil disobedience. This chapter concentrates on the results from interviews with the Police authorities and the Norwegian ALF-activists themselves. Finishing off, Chapter 5 will present some of the challenges of defining the direct actions of the ALF as civil disobedient actions.