Cara is a PhD Researcher in Criminology in the Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, supervised by Dr Wulf Livingston and Dr Caroline Gorden.
Thesis title/work in progress:
The techniques of neutralisation adopted to justify speciesist attitudes for the consumption of animal products. The aim of this research is to explore from a criminological perspective the strategies that individuals employ in order to support and maintain their speciesist views. Speciesism is a term used to describe the systemic exploitation of other species, challenging the prejudice that exists against individuals of other species (Ryder, 2004; Dhont, Hodson and Leite, 2016; Horta, 2010, Ryder, 2006, Singer, 1975, Sorenson, 2016).
Why did you choose this topic and what are your research interests?
I initially adopted a plant-based diet for environmental and health reasons, and this opened up a world of abuse and injustice that I simply had not opened my eyes to before. Culturally, consuming meat was part of my daily food intake, it was just was you did, what was expected. I engaged in this behavior whilst proclaiming to be an animal lover, even a protector, but realized that my choice of animals to save was selective and I had been missing the ones on my plate all along. They needed my help most of all. Armed with this new information, I began telling everyone I knew thinking they would do the same and immediately give up meat and dairy. How wrong I was!! Instead I would hear the same reasons, excuses, and denial like a recorded message on repeat. Whilst eating animals is not illegal, I felt that they were forgotten victims of an immoral act, something that I constructed as not only unjust, but also criminal. This realization is the backdrop and the driving force of my own research. I am at heart an abolitionist.
My background spans across both psychology and criminology, and whilst speciesism has been well researched within the field of psychology, I felt that there was a lack of research within the field of criminology.
What do you hope to do in the future & what opportunities are you looking for?
As well as being vegan, I am a passionate environmentalist and also interested in the wider research field of green criminology. In the future, I hope to be able to continue to research and teach within this field.
Any other interesting facts about you?
As well as being passionate about animals, I am passionate about helping humans too. Whilst working on my research, I am also currently running my own business as an ADHD, Autism and Anxiety Coach: www.langfordwatts.co.uk.