22-23 September, 2021

University of St. Andrews

All Talks on Microsoft Teams

Organisers: Ben Sachs, Mara van der Lugt


22 Sep

9:20 – 10:50: Oscar Horta (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela), “Designing an Effective Strategy for Wild Animal Suffering Advocacy”

11:00 – 12:30: Heather Browning (LSE), “Positive Wild Animal Welfare”

14:15 – 15:45: Gary O’Brien (Oxford University), “Identity Affecting Interventions in Nature”

15:55 – 17:25: Julia Driver (University of Texas-Austin/University of St. Andrews), “Wild Animals and the Museum Model of Nature”

23 Sep

9:20 – 10:50: Alasdair Cochrane (University of Sheffield) and Mara-Daria Cojocaru (Hochschule für Philosophie München), “Solidarity with Wild Animals”

11:00 – 12:30: Josh Milburn (University of Sheffield), “Bloody Hands, Bloody Claws: The Ethics of Wildlife Rehabilitation”

14:15 – 15:45: Joel Joseph (University of St. Andrews/University of Stirling), “What’s the Harm in Saving Prey from Predators?”

15:55 – 17:25: Molly Gardner (University of Florida), “Can Wild Animals Have Meaningful Lives?”

In the field of animal ethics, domesticated animals receive nearly all the attention.  But the ethical questions about our treatment of non-domesticated animals are probably knottier.  We’re responsible for the existence of domesticated animals and consequently it isn’t too difficult to establish that we bear some degree of moral responsibility for the quality of their lives.  But what do we owe to animals whose procreation is out of our hands?  The majority view is that life in nature is, in Hobbes’s memorable phrase, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”, but there is not yet an emerging consensus as to what, if anything, we should do about that.  And when overpopulation and disease threaten animal populations, can hunting be an ethical answer?  What about the reintroduction of predator species?  The questions become perhaps even more complex when we focus our attention toward those animals who are (to borrow Donaldson and Kymlicka’s expression) liminal—i.e., those who live at the fringes of human civilization but aren’t domesticated: rats, foxes, pigeons, etc.  May we demand certain behaviour from these animals and treat them as pests when they don’t comply?  Do we incur new obligations to animals when we expand our settlements into their territory and thus render them involuntarily liminal?

Information and Registration

Email Ben Sachs at bas7@st-andrews.ac.uk

With gratefully acknowledged support from the Leverhulme Trust