Animal activism in the business school: Using fierce compassion for teaching critical and positive perspectives

Linda Tallberg, Liisa Välikangas, Lindsay Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores a practical approach to teaching animal ethics in food systems as part of a business course. We argue that tackling such complex and emotionally charged topics is vital to shifting unsustainable and hurtful behaviours towards more positive futures. Our teaching example outlines a pedagogy of courageously witnessing, inquiring with empathy and prompting positive action; an activist approach we term fierce compassion. These three layers blend positive and critical perspectives in a classroom to address contentious issues of large-scale industrial animal production hitherto largely neglected in a traditional business curriculum. While acknowledging that academic activism is controversial, we argue that fierce compassion – noticing the suffering that is remote and often systemically hidden – can inform and structure education towards more post-anthropocentric and just futures for all living beings – human and nonhuman alike.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalManagement Learning
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)55-75
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • academic activism
  • animals
  • business education
  • critical management
  • fierce compassion
  • food ethics
  • pedagogy
  • Positive Organisational Scholarship

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


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