35 years ago… vegetarians were regarded as freaks, and sometimes people were openly hostile. Today, people are more accepting, and in fact become defensive when you tell them you don’t eat meat, and often tell you that they don’t eat much anymore either. There has been some cultural change over this period though it is still in an early stage.
Dr Deidre Wicks is an academic and author. She is an Honorary Research Associate at Newcastle University and an Honorary Research Fellow at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has been a Voiceless Council member since 2010.
Deidre is a graduate of the Australian National University and has a PhD in Sociology from Macquarie University. After gaining a worldwide readership for her book on the health professions, Nurses and Doctors at Work: Rethinking Professional Boundaries, Deidre commenced a research and teaching program in the 1990s at Newcastle University on food, nutrition and vegetarianism. This was reflected in a number of publications, including a much cited book chapter ‘Humans, Food and Other Animals: The Vegetarian Option’ in J Germov and L Williams (eds), A Sociology of Food and Nutrition: The Social Appetite (Oxford University Press 2008, 3rd edition).
She has presented papers at major conferences such as the 2005 Compassion in World Farming conference in London and the 2009 and 2012 Minding Animals conferences held in Newcastle and Utrecht respectively .
Deidre’s work has more recently focused on the application of the path-breaking sociology of ‘silence and denial’ to animal suffering, particularly in the meat and dairy industries. She frequently contributes a quarterly essay to Voiceless’ e-updates, which can all be read in her blog.