Ruth Harrison

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Ruth Harrison OBE (24 June 1920 – 13 June 2000), was a British animal welfare activist and author.[1]

She was the daughter of the author Stephen Winsten and the artist Clara Birnberg.

As a Quaker and as a conscientious objector during the Second World War, she served in the Friends Ambulance Unit, first in Hackney, London, and then with displaced persons in Schleswig-Holstein and Bochum in Germany.

In 1964 she published Animal Machines, which describes intensive poultry and livestock farming.[2] The book was said to have exposed the whole reality of intensive farming.[3] It was published in seven countries and was the inspiration for the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes.[4] In 1986 she was awarded an OBE.

The Australian ethicist Peter Singer has said that reading Animal Machines was important in his becoming a vegetarian and adopting the views that he sets out in Animal Liberation.[5]


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography accessed 28/03/08
  2. ^ Title Advances in animal welfare in New Zealand accessed 28/03/08
  3. ^ Vegan Views (influences) accessed 28/03/08
  4. ^ Animal Welfare Quarterly accessed 28/03/08
  5. ^ Singer, Peter (2001). "Animal Liberation: A Personal View". Writings on an ethical life. London: Fourth Estate. p. 294. ISBN 1841155500. 

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