The CASJ, the new think tank for animals and social justice, was launched with an ‘excellent’ and ‘thought-provoking’ seminar on the subject of ‘Animals and Public Policy’ at the London School of Economics and Political Science on 30 June 2011. With the help of leading academic experts and animal protection groups, the seminar explored the fundamental social and political obstacles that frustrate the aspiration for a cruelty-free society.
Judging from our experience of the day and the feedback from participants, the format of the seminar facilitated an inspirational event that stimulated very interesting and wide-ranging discussions.
Following an introduction to the day by Kim Stallwood, the first three sessions involved the presentation of a paper followed by a response from an eminent discussant and audience questions:
1. Professor Rob Garner (University of Leicester; CASJ) gave a talk entitled ‘Animals Ethics and Public Policy’. The CASJ’s main strategic aim is to embed animal protection as a core goal of public policy, and Rob’s paper focussed on the problem of translating ethical ideals into political action. His discussant was the renowned animal ethicist and psychologist Dr Richard Ryder.
2. Dr Dan Lyons (CASJ; University of Sheffield) spoke about ‘Animals, Academic Research and Public Policy’, specifically how academic research can actively assist the cause of animal protection in the policy process as well as help identify and overcome the obstacles to compassionate change. In response, Professor Wyn Grant (University of Warwick) provided a fascinating insight into the relationships between academics and policy-makers that he experienced as a Government advisor.
3. After lunch Mike Radford OBE (University of Aberdeen) brought his considerable legal expertise and policy experience to bear in his talk on ‘Trends in Animal Law’ that was both entertaining and eye-opening. Paula Sparks (Association of Lawyers for Animal Welfare) elaborated on the theme with a number of key insights about the current status of animal law.
In the final hour, Rob, Dan and Wyn were joined by Joyce D’Silva (CIWF) and Dr Nick Palmer (BUAV) for a wide-ranging panel discussion on ‘The Political Future for Animals’ and the CASJ’s intended research and policy activities.
Click here for a synopsis of the day’s proceedings, which gives a flavour of this successful and inspiring event. There will be three further seminars in this series, examining public policy regarding wild animals, animals in laboratories and farmed animals respectively. These will take place during 2012-13 at the University of Leicester. Dates will be announced in due course.
Key Projects & Activities
The CASJ’s priority programmes will involve research and advocacy in three crucial areas:
1. Animals’ legal/political status
2. Institutional representation for animals
3. Policy Strategies for Animal Protection
See Projects for further details.