CFP: Wild Animal Ethics, St. Andrews, Sept. 24-25, 2020 (deadline: May 31, 2020)

The Senate Room, University of St. Andrews

Organisers: Ben Sachs, Mara van der Lugt

Confirmed Speakers

Alasdair Cochrane (University of Sheffield)

Julia Driver (University of Texas-Austin/University of St. Andrews)

Molly Gardner (Bowling Green State University)

Oscar Horta (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela)

Josh Milburn (University of Sheffield)

Mara van der Lugt (University of St. Andrews)

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?

Call for Papers

We welcome the submission of unpublished papers on the above mentioned and related topics.  Submissions must be 3000 words or fewer (including everything aside from bibliography).  Submissions must be anonymised and in .doc or .docx format, and accompanied by a separate document containing the author’s name and contact information.  Submit to  Deadline: 31 May.  Notification of Acceptance: 18 June.

Bursary Competition

A travel bursary will be awarded for submitting the best student essay.  You are eligible if you have not yet completed a doctorate level degree.  Apply for the bursary by stating on your accompanying information document that you are a student.


In order to plan for catering we are requiring that all attendees register and pay a small registration fee.  Registration will open soon (watch this space).


Email Ben Sachs at

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