Research project: Embedding Animal Protection in Public Policy
This is our core research project, currently under development, comprised of three strands critical to the representation of animals in politics:
- an overarching legal/political status for animals
- the institutional representation of animals’ interests within Government
- a government strategy with targets to improve animal protection
Click here for more details of our research agenda.
Animals, Ethics and Public Policy Seminar series
The inaugural seminar of this four-part series on 30 June 2011 marked the official launch of the CASJ. The series, which also contributes to our ‘Embedding Animal Protection in Public Policy’ research project, brings academics and postgraduate researchers from a variety of disciplines together with policy-makers and stakeholders to promote understanding of the ethical and political assumptions embedded within current UK animal welfare legislation.
This series will help:
a) To enhance understanding of the relationship between animals, ethics and public policy;
b) To improve the ability of policy-makers to state the ethical considerations and framework behind policy decisions or policy crises;
c) To enable stakeholders – including the general public – to better judge the character of animal protection policy making;
The series is also helping to build crucial research capacity by creating a sustainable network of scholars and stakeholders, thereby facilitating collaboration and the exchange of ideas. The inaugural seminar on 30 June 2011 examined the place of animals in public policy at a broad level, while later seminars discuss the ethical and policy issues surrounding wild animals, animal experimentation and farmed animals.
The CASJ is drawing together progressive and ethical experts to engage with Government policy processes that affect the wellbeing of animals. We are undertaking research to support improvements to the ethical and democratic quality of animal welfare policies. The CASJ has coordinated an expert response to the Government public consultation in summer 2011 on the transposition of the new EU Directive on animal experimentation into British law.
Other opportunities to participate and shape decisions affecting animals include consultation exercises, select committee inquiries and engaging with advisory groups such as the Animal Procedures Committee and the Liaison Group of UK Animal Welfare Advisory Bodies. We also aim to establish ourselves as sources of trusted policy advice to relevant Ministers and policymakers. There is important work to carry out in promoting understanding of animal protection issues amongst Parliamentarians, including through the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare. We offer advice and consultancy to political parties as they seek to develop animal protection policies.
The CASJ is developing a bursary programme to help fund PhD students to carry out vital research into animal protection issues. Our first PhD studentship commences at the University of Leicester in October 2012. This support is particularly important in the current economic climate to nurture the scholarship necessary to promote understanding among the public and policy-makers about how we can reduce and eliminate our harmful impact on animals. It will also provide the basis for increased research capacity on animal protection issues and a growing network of experts in animal protection, which will in turn provide the long-term foundations for achieving our mission of including animals within the scope of social justice.
Supporting Research and Education for Animal Protection
The CASJ’s core work is the conduct and publication of high-quality research relating to animal protection policy-making. At the same time, the CASJ is building research capacity in animal protection studies. We are forging links with universities and other educational establishments to promote research and learning on animal protection issues. The CASJ’s work augments projects such as Minding Animals International, a major series of international conferences dedicated to progressive animal studies. Networking with fields such as human rights scholarship will help widen understanding of the place of animals in social justice, as well as enriching animal protection studies.
To advance our educational aims, we are working with a university to develop a Masters/PG Diploma Distance Learning Course entitled ‘Animals and Social Justice’. This will provide a unique training resource to enhance the knowledge and effectiveness of animal advocates and act as a pathway to help stimulate more PhDs in our field of Applied Animal Protection Research. We aim to commence this course in September 2013.
Civil Society Outreach
Through our website, blog, social network tools, publications and media coverage, the CASJ is promoting a public discourse which is knowledgeable of and sympathetic to animal protection. By initiating discussion and education we aim to empower the public to extend social justice to animals. Fora like the ESRC Festival of Social Science provide opportunities to further promote public engagement with the work of the CASJ, and help us influence other areas of social science.
The private and not-for-profit sectors also have a significant influence on animal wellbeing. The CASJ recognises the significant work already undertaken by animal protection NGOs and offers research consultancy services tailored to enhancing their effectiveness.
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.