About Talking Animals


A veritable animal turn has occurred in many fields of thinking, sweeping away outdated philosophical and scientific beliefs, and making room for more thoughtful, sensible study of the relation between humans and other animals. Law and legal science, however, have remained relatively untouched by this revolution.

The talk series Talking Animals, Law & Philosophy wants to remedy this situation by providing a welcoming, engaging and rigorous forum for debate and ideas about the relations between animals, law and philosophy.


The talk series is held at the Faculty of Law of the University of Cambridge and is made possible by the generous support of the Faculty of Law and the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences.


Centre for Animal Rights Law

More information about the launch of our Centre will be available soon on this page. 

In April 2019, a Centre for Animal Rights Law will be launched at Cambridge with the aim to remedy the lack of serious academic engagement with animal rights law.


While the welfare of animals has been on the moral, social, and legal agenda since the nineteenth century, the basic legal rights of animals have received only scant attention. A variety of reasons have caused this neglect, including the fundamental challenge that an extension of basic legal rights to animals poses to the current paradigm that animals are here for us to use. Perhaps as a result there is relatively little solid legal work on the understanding and promotion of animal rights – what they might look like and how societies could deal with the social and economic consequences.

Our Centre will tackle these and other issues. It aims to do so by attracting highly competent academics and lawyers as lecturers, researchers, visiting Fellows, PhDs, and visiting PhDs.

Among the activities we are planning for the Centre are:

  • conducting cutting-edge research in animal rights law;

  • teaching Animal Rights Law and related courses at Cambridge;

  • providing workshops for university teachers and assisting Law faculties at other universities interested in offering their own courses, so that Animal Rights Law becomes a mainstream course within Law degrees;

  • providing policy information and support to civil servants, legislators, and judges internationally, so that animal welfare continues to improve and animal rights becomes a reality;

  • holding conferences for legal academics and decision-makers, to encourage awareness and adoption of legal rights for animals.

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In this section, you can find the programme of this year’s Talking Animals, Law & Philosophy series. You can also download the programme as a PDF file. All our talks are held in the Cambridge Faculty of Law, The David Williams Building, 10 West Rd, Cambridge CB3 9DZ.


31 January 2019, 4-6pm, Room G24
Paul Cliteur

Professor of Jurisprudence, Law School, Leiden University

“Freedom of Religion v. Animal Welfare: The Case of Unstunned Ritual Slaughter”



7 March 2019, 6-8pm, Room G24
Markus Wild

Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Basel

“Animal mainstreaming”


28 March 2019, 4-6pm, Room G28
Erica Fudge

Professor of English, School of Humanities, University of Strathclyde

“Humans and Their Relationships with Working Animals in Early Modern England: The Value and Problem of Legal Evidence”


14 May 2019, 4-6pm, Room G24
Gary Francione

Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy, Rutgers University Law School; Honorary Professor (Philosophy), University of East Anglia

“Animal Rights and Veganism as a Moral Imperative”


Past Talks


The Talking Animals, Law & Philosophy is currently running in its fourth edition. On this site, you can find all our past events. You can also download the programmes of the firstsecond, and third edition as PDF files. 


2 May 2018
Violette Pouillard

Postdoctoral Assistant in History, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent University

“An Animal History of Zoos”




5 April 2018
Steven Wise

Founder and President of the Nonhuman Rights Project

“The Struggle of the Nonhuman Rights Project for the Legal Personhood of Nonhuman Animals”


6 March 2018
Alice Crary

Scholar at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Study, School of Social Science; Professor of Philosophy and Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy and Christian Ethics, University of Oxford

“The Unhappy Marriage of Animality and Cognitive Disability”


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23 January 2018
Peter Fordyce

RSPCA and Blue Cross Clinician & Affiliated Lecturer in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge

“Suffering in Non-human Animals”



22 November 2017
Marta Halina

University Lecturer in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

“Values in Animal Cognitive Science”


2 May 2017
Saskia Stucki

Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg

“Are Human Rights Animals' Rights, Too?”


5 April 2017
Mike Radford

Reader, School of Law, University of Aberdeen

“Collective Responsibility: Animals, the State, and Public Policy”


15 February 2017
Alasdair Cochrane

Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield

“A Theory of Global Inter-Species Justice”


17 November 2016
Jeff Skopek

Lecturer in Medical Law, Ethics and Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

“Three Puzzles for Animal Rights: Cows, Lions, and Featherless Chickens”


11 & 12 October 2016
Randall Abate

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, Florida A&M University

“Animal Law and Environmental Law: Parallels and Synergies” &

“A Person by Any Other Name? Potential Legal Recognition of Nonhuman Animal Legal Personhood in Australia and the United States”


10 May 2016
Robert Garner

Professor, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester

“Animals and Democratic Theory: Beyond an Anthropocentric Approach”


26 February 2016
Ben Sachs

Lecturer in Philosophy, School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies, University of St. Andrews

“A Moderate Position on the Political and Legal Status of Sentient Animals”


9 February 2016
Natalie Cargill

Pupil Barrister, Littleton Chambers

“'Some are more equal than others': The Protection of Animals Under UK Law”


27 November 2015
Michael Bowman

Associate Professor in Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham

“The status of non-human animals: science, philosophy, law”

(with an introduction by Jeff Skopek)


Special Issue


The Talking Animals, Law & Philosophy series has collaborated with the Global Journal of Animal Law (GJAL) to publish a special issue of the Journal with contributions from speakers of our series. GJAL is a peer-reviewed online journal published by Åbo Akademi University (Finland). The special issue was co-edited by Visa AJ Kurki and Raffael N Fasel.


Here is the table of contents of our special issue, which is also available on the website of GJAL:

  1. Raffael Fasel, Talking Animals, Law, Philosophy—and Beyond (Introduction)
  2. Peter Fordyce, Suffering in Non-human Animals: Perspectives from Animal Welfare Science and Law
  3. Randall Abate and Jonathan Crowe, From Inside the Cage to Outside the Box: Natural Resources as a Platform for Nonhuman Animal Personhood in the US and Australia
  4. Robert Garner, The Boyd Group and Animal Experimentation: A Case Study of Deliberation


The full issue is accessible here.





Raffael N Fasel

Raffael N Fasel is a PhD in Law candidate at the University of Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College) where he is working on a thesis on the fundamental rights of humans and other animals. Since 2017, Raffael has been teaching (with Sean Butler) the course Animal Rights Law at the Faculty of Law in Cambridge — the first course of its kind in the UK.


Raffael holds a Bachelor of Law and a Master of Law degree from the University of Fribourg, an MA in Philosophy from University College London, and an LLM from Yale Law School. He has worked as a research assistant at the University of Fribourg, the University of Zurich, and Yale Law School. He has been an associate at the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights and has worked at Tier im Recht, a centre of expertise on animal law. In 2018, Raffael was appointed Associate Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.


His full research profile is accessible here.




Events in the Talking Animals, Law & Philosophy series are held in The David Williams Building (Faculty of Law), at 10 West Rd, Cambridge CB3 9DZ, UK.


We are happy to answer any questions you might have about our series. Fields with an asterisk (*) are required.

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