Friday, 6 July 2012

Day Two of Minding Animals

The second day of Minding Animals began for me with a study circle discussion on 'Animals, Politics and the Law'. Legal and political scholars, as well as political actors, came together to discuss all things to do with animals and politics. A robust discussion followed, and I encouraged participants to think about ways political and legal human-animal studies scholars might remain connected outside of conferences. One suggestion I made was that we work through the newly established Centre for Animals and Social Justice (CSAJ) which is based at Sheffield University.  

In the afternoon I attended the Public Policy and Political Philosophy session where I heard Dan Lyons talk about ways of reforming animal research regulation to better allow the voices of nonhuman animals to be heard; and a paper by Brett Mizelle about the mass killing of pigs.

The highlight of the day was the afternoon keynote in which Robert Garner spoke about his latest work 'A Theory of Justice for Animals' and Will Kymlicka outlined his new approach to animal protection.

As a political scientist it is wonderful to see other political scientists take up, and address, the place of nonhuman animals in our political system.

Both men had strong messages to deliver and question time was somewhat heated - just what we like to see at an animals conference!

It was then time for a quick drink before the evening session which was a podium discussion featuring Peter Singer, Will Kymlicka and members the various European Union (EU) institutions that manage the life of nonhuman animals.

I asked what members of the panel think about the OIE. EU politicians answered my question. While they were polite, I got the feeling that the EU's relationship with the OIE might be a 'complex' one.

Overall the panel discussion was interesting. The theme was 'the future of animal politics'. But again I was very disappointed to see that of the 8 people on the stage, only one was a woman.

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