Three Talks on Animal Ethics at Queen’s

Lynda Birke talk

This month, we are lucky to have three exciting public talks related to animal ethics at Queen’s!

Will Kymlicka: “Rethinking membership and participation in an inclusive democracy: cognitive disability, children, and animals”

Professor Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy, Department of Philosophy Queen’s University
When: Thursday, March 19th, 4pm (to 6pm)
Where: Watson Hall, Room 517, Queen’s University


In our recent book Zoopolis: A political theory of animal rights, Sue Donaldson and I argued that domesticated animals ought to be recognized as co-citizens of shared political communities with humans. As a result of domestication, we have incorporated them into our society, and we therefore owe them rights of membership and citizenship, including the right to have a say regarding the future of our shared social world. But what does it mean to enable domesticated animals to have a say? In this paper, we explore this challenge by considering developments regarding the rights of children and the rights of people with cognitive disabilities. Recent UN Declarations state that children (even young children) and people with disabilities (even severe intellectual disabilities) are full members of society, and as such must be given a say in matters that affect them, in ways that are meaningful to them. This has generated some remarkable innovations in both the theory and practice of citizenship, and we will argue that these innovations can inform animal advocacy as well. Indeed, drawing together these diverse struggles for membership and participation can help us imagine what a truly inclusive society and democracy might look like.

Speaker bio (from APPLE’s website): [Kymlicka’s] current research focuses on “The Frontiers of Citizneship”, and in particular on struggles to extend norms and practices of citizenship to historically excluded groups, ranging from children and people with intellectual disabilities to indigenous peoples and animals. All of these cases challenge inherited ideas of what defines the attributes of a (good) citizen, and in much of the popular debate and academic literature, attempts to extend citizenship to these groups is often seen as somehow diluting the fundamental values of citizenship. His work disputes this view, and seeks to show how these struggles for inclusion deepen citizenship in Canada and elsewhere. His paper on “Animals and The Frontiers of Citizenship” (co-authored with Sue Donaldson) was presented as the 2013 HLA Hart Memorial Lecture at Oxford University, and will be published in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies.

Hayden Lorimer: “Gates of heaven: last landscapes for the companion animal

Professor Hayden Lorimer, Chair of Cultural Geography in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow
When: Friday, March 20th, 3:30 p.m (bar service from 3 p.m.)
Where: George Teves Room, Queen’s University Club

Lynda Birke: “The Place of Animals in Science: Hidden in Plain Sight”

Professor Lynda Birke, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester (UK)
When: Monday, March 23rd, from 4pm to 6pm
Where: Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 202 (138 Union Street)
Co-sponsored by APPLE and the Department of Gender Studies.

Speaker bio: Birke is a pioneer in both feminist science studies, and human-animal studies. She is associate editor of the journals Society and Animals, and Humanimalia: A Journal of Human/Animal Interface Studies. She has written extensively on non-human animal experimentation, and her recent work focuses on human-equine relationships. Birke’s many books include: Feminism, Animals and Science: The Naming of the Shrew (1994); Reinventing Biology: Respect for Life and the Creation of Knowledge (with Ruth Hubbard, 1995); and The Sacrifice: How Scientific Experiments Transform Animals and People (with Arnold Arluke and Mike Michael, 2007).