Lu Shegay

“I’m positive about our future… I experienced the rapid change in my own views” – Lu Shegay – Institute of Animal Law of Asia – Sentientist Conversation

Find our conversation here on YouTube or here on Podcast.

Lu (@LuShegay) is an animal law attorney from Kazakhstan, now based in the USA. She is the co-founder and Managing Director of the Institute of Animal Law of Asia ( and @ianimallawasia).

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?” Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” In addition to the video linked above, the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and here on the other platforms​​​​​​.

We discuss:
0:00 Welcome

1:15 Lu’s Intro – Animal law from Kazakhstan to the USA

2:07 What’s Real?

  • Kazakhstan as a secular country, with Islam and Christianity the main religions
  • Being brought to Christianity by Lu’s mother
  • Learning about religion and realising “it’s not real – god is not real”
  • Believing “there’s somebody above us but they’re not like us”
  • “I believe in the universe and I believe in science”
  • Believing using facts and reason, but also believing there are some things that can’t be explained

6:52 What Matters Morally?

  • Morality can come from the heart. Listening to ourselves re: what feels right or wrong
  • Having compassion & putting yourself in someone else’s shoes
  • As a child: loving animals but still eating animals
  • Re-considering animal ethics while exploring animal law in Kazakhstan
  • “The legal system doesn’t work well in Kazakhstan even for humans” so many aren’t ready for the animal law field
  • Studying animal law in the USA and learning about animal suffering
  • Dr Raj Reddy’s class “changed my world”
  • Going vegetarian
  • Learning about what happens to male chicks in the egg industry. Giving up eggs
  • Going vegan. “It came to me naturally that I was doing something wrong”
  • Eating meat is central to culture in Kazakhstan but there are meat and dairy alternatives
  • Family not understanding veganism. Questioning health and ethics
  • “I’ve only met one other vegan in Kazakhstan”
  • Biocentrism, ecocentrism and the interdependencies for sentients
  • Loving space, but not understanding why governments spend so much more on exploring other planets rather than caring for ours and exploring our oceans
  • Long-termism. Space colonisation

21:54 The Future

  • Being realistic about moral scope expansion
  • Raising awareness and educating people
  • Recognising that different countries have very different contexts. Where there are serious human crises it’s harder to prioritise non-human issues
  • The non-human animal law agenda across Asia
  • Does law follow culture and politics or can it lead and innovate as well?
  • In many Asian countries politics & law don’t respond to public opinion
  • Some countries have animal laws but there is no enforcement (e.g. Kazakhstan animal cruelty legislation)
  • Different animal law approaches (cruelty, personhood, farming/fishing)
  • The EU and UK recognising the salience of animal sentience
  • “I’m positive about our future… I experienced the rapid change in my views”.

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at​​​​​​​​​​​​​. Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

​Everyone interested, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on FaceBook.

Thanks to Graham for your video and audio skills!

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