Letters to the Editor: Animal rights activists are overwhelmingly women. That doesn’t reflect well on men

Animal rights activists gather in Vernon before pigs are taken to a nearby slaughterhouse on Feb. 2, 2023.
Animal rights activists gather in Vernon before pigs are taken to a nearby slaughterhouse on Feb. 2, 2023.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: While appreciating Mark Hawthorne’s essay, I question his contention that the reason three-quarters of vegans are female has much to do with veganism being seen as unmanly.

With the help of figures gathered by the nonprofit Faunalytics, I analyzed the gender make-up in animal advocacy and found that about 80% of people in the field are female; that includes animal rescuers who may eat the species they don’t rescue.

That may be less about manly appearances, and more of an indication of gender differences in character traits. Violent crime statistics make those differences clear.


Women’s outsized involvement in animal advocacy supports the notion that they tend to be more nurturing, compassionate and driven to protect those with less power. Surely those same qualities lead women into fields such as nursing and teaching, where women are over-represented and underpaid.

Animal rights and women’s rights are interconnected. I therefore find myself less interested in trying to persuade men to go vegan, and more eager to create a society where women have more power as decision makers.

Hawthorne hopes veganism can be associated with masculine values, but our greatest hope for animals and Mother Earth is a society in which feminine values hold true sway.

Karen Dawn, Santa Barbara

The writer is founder and president of DawnWatch, an animal advocacy nonprofit.


To the editor: Veganism is indeed manly.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies certain kinds of meat as carcinogenic for two common cancers — colon and prostate. Real men shouldn’t let others get cancer.


We spend billions on colonoscopies, mammograms and other medical interventions, when a plant-based diet is an effective way to reduce cancer risk.

The U.S. is overly meat-oriented. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is about one gram per kilogram of body weight, but most Americans consume twice as much. Excess protein consumption can increase a person’s risk of kidney and heart disease.

Vegan dishes cost less than meals containing meat, yielding less in tips and revenue. So, restaurants don’t like vegans. Real men can change that.

Ghan-Shyam Lohiya, M.D., Santa Ana