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Richard Hood Jack Dudley Ryder, known as Richard D. Ryder (born 1940), is a British psychologist who came to public attention in 1969 when, after having worked in animal research laboratories, he began to speak out against animal testing, and became one of the pioneers of the modern animal liberation movement. He is the author of Victims of Science (1975), Painism: A Modern Morality (2003), and Putting Morality Back into Politics (2006).

A former chairman of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals council, a past president of Britain's Liberal Democrat Animal Protection Group, and former Mellon Professor at Tulane Universitymarker, New Orleansmarker, he is parliamentary consultant to the Political Animal Lobby as of April 2004.

Ryder was a contributor to the influential Animals, Men and Morals: An Inquiry into the Maltreatment of Non-humans (1972) edited by Roslind and Stanley Godlovitch and John Harris. It was in a review of this book for the New York Review of Books that the philosopher Peter Singer put forward his basic arguments in favour of animal liberation, based on utilitarianism, that in 1975 became Animal Liberation, the book often referred to as the "bible" of the animal rights movement.


Ryder is the son of Major Dudley Ryder, great-grandson of the Hon. Granville Ryder, second son of Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby. He has an MA in Experimental Psychology and a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Cambridgemarker.

Speciesism and painism

Ryder coined the term speciesism in 1970 while lying in the bath, and first used it in a privately-printed leaflet published in Oxfordmarker that same year.

He calls his current position on the moral status of non-human animals painism, a term he coined in 1985, arguing that all beings who feel pain deserve rights. Painism can be seen as a third way between Peter Singer's utilitarian position and Tom Regan's deontological rights view. It combines the utilitarian view that moral status comes from the ability to feel pain with the rights view prohibition on using others as a means to our ends.

He has criticized Regan’s criterion for inherent worth, arguing that all beings who feel pain have inherent value. He has also criticized the utilitarian idea that exploitation of others can be justified if there is an overall gain in pleasure, arguing that: "One of the problems with the utilitarian view is that, for example, the sufferings of a gang-rape victim can be justified if the rape gives a greater sum total of pleasure to the rapists."


  1. Richard Ryder's website
  2. Ryder defines pain as “any form of suffering or negative experience, including fear, distress and boredom, as well as corporeal pain itself. Such things as injustice, inequality and loss of liberty naturally cause pain.” (from Ryder's site on Painism)

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