Screening of ‘Cowspiracy’ at Queen’s


A screening of the documentary Cowspiracy, on animal agriculture and sustainability, is organized by Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC).

When: Thursday 26th of November, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where: Kingston Hall Red Room

With a free vegetarian meal! See Facebook event.

Watch the trailer:

Upcoming Talks: “Affirmative Action for Animals” and “Animals as Vulnerable Research Subjects”

colloquium series header

There are two upcoming talks this week on animal ethics at Queen’s University, both by post-doctorate Angela Martin from Centre for Research in Ethics from University of Montréal (CRÉ).

“Affirmative Action for Animals”

The Queen’s Philosophy Department Colloquium Series will host “Affirmative Action for Animals — What Justice Demands?” by Angela Martin.

When: November 26th from 4 pm to 6 pm
Where: Watson Hall, room 517

Anti-speciesism requires, amongst other things, equal consideration of equal interests, regardless of species membership. Currently, we live in a society that often does not give equal weight to the interests of animals. Most animal groups are at high risk of having their interests unjustly considered by moral agents due to speciesist prejudices. In my talk, I address the question of whether, in order to remedy these discriminations, animals currently have a claim for more than equal consideration, that is, for affirmative action. In the first part of my talk, I make some distinctions about the notions of discrimination and affirmative action. Then I show that any animal groups – amongst others, farm animals, laboratory animals, and wild animals – currently do not have their most basic interests justly considered by moral agents due to speciesist prejudices. In the third part of my talk, I argue that, in order to remedy these injustices, animals have a claim for affirmative action. I outline what this means in practice, and defend my position against potential objections.

All welcome.

“Animals as Vulnerable Research Subjects”

The Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics research cluster will host a discussion on one of Angela Martin’s papers titled “Animals as Vulnerable Research Subjects”.

When: November 27th from 10:30 am to noon
Where: Watson Hall, room 517

It is commonly accepted that particularly vulnerable research individuals and populations in medical research should be afforded special protection and attention. Recently, it was argued by some authors that laboratory animals can and should also be identified as vulnerable research subjects. In consequence, they should benefit from similar protections as vulnerable humans in research. In this article, I discuss whether the concept of vulnerability can indeed be meaningfully applied to research animals, and if yes, what it implies from an ethical point of view for animal research.

If you wish to attend, please note that reading the paper is required for participating at this event. Please contact cliffehanger[at]sympatico[dot]ca to receive it. Continue Reading

Upcoming Talk: “Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights”

Colb and Dorf

When: Tuesday, October 13th from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Where: Watson Hall, room 517  (please note room change from previous announcements)

Professors Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf from the Cornell Law School will discuss the ways that pro-life arguments are invoked by both opponents of abortion and proponents of animal rights, and the political and philosophical challenges involved in linking or separating the two cases. Their presentation will draw upon their forthcoming book Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights (Columbia University Press, 2016). Colb and Dorf are well-known commentators on a variety of constitutional law issues, including animal law cases. Some of Sherry’s more popular animal-related writings are collected in her Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger? And Other Questions People Ask Vegans (Lantern 2013).

This event is part of the new Colloquium in Legal and Political Philosophy, an initiative of the Faculty of Law, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Political Studies. All are welcome.

Upcoming Talk: “Animal Rights, Human Rights, and the Future of the Planet”


A new school year is just beginning and we already have an event on the campus!

The School of Environmental Studies and APPLE research group invite you to the talk “Animal Rights, Human Rights, and the Future of the Planet” that will be given by Carter Dillard and Stephanie Feldstein.

  • Wednesday Sept. 16th, 2:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Watson Hall, Room 517


There are more than 7 billion people in the world today and approximately 56 billion land animals raised and slaughtered for food each year. Both of those numbers are quickly rising. Population growth and meat consumption are some of the leading causes of the current mass extinction crisis, putting humans on the path to replacing other species with ourselves and the domesticated animals we eat, decimating what remains of our once biodiverse planet. And yet, environmentalists rarely mention either. Livestock are often bred in cruel factory farms, occupy more than 25 percent of the earth, use one-third of arable land for their feed, and are responsible for massive amounts of water use and greenhouse gas emissions, making meat production and consumption one of the most inhumane and devastating industries on the planet – not only for farm animals, but for the wildlife and environment they impact. As world population and globalization continue to grow, so will the demand for animal products.

Meanwhile, due in large part to our explosive growth and voracious appetites, wildlife species are going extinct at the fastest rate since the time of the dinosaurs and climate change is threatening life on this earth as we know it. Yet the topics of population growth and overconsumption – particularly of animal products – is usually left out of conversations in law schools and the legal academy and among environmental groups, activists, and the media. All of this raises crucial questions that are rarely asked: Why are we, and the animals we eat, replacing other species on earth? Is the animal rights movement really progressing given the ongoing mass extinction of other species? Has the environmental movement failed given the prospects for extinction, anthropogenic climate change, and other environmental crises? How do human rights play into these issues, if at all? Can we rethink our most basic moral and legal norms to prevent the degradation of our world? Why aren’t more people talking about population growth and animal agriculture, and can we really do anything about it?

The speakers will discuss the vital connections between animal agriculture, human population growth, environmental protection, and systems of rights – both human and animal. They will explain how to use this synergy – along with advocacy, creativity, and legal action – to get beyond the stigma and taboo that usually keep population growth and our diets out of conversations and they will suggest legal reforms and practical ways for each of us to create a better future for all species Continue Reading