The Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law officially launched in April 2019 with an academic workshop in Cambridge and an invitation-only launch in London. On this page, you can find impressions of both these events.

London launch

On April 29th, an invitation-only event in London launched the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law for supporters and potential donors. This event served to present the Centre to a non-academic audience interested in helping it achieve its goals. Introducing the Centre to the invited guests, Director Dr Butler said: 

“The object of the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law is to develop the law on animal rights and support its development until it becomes a reality in law. We don’t know what animal rights will look like, they might not look much like human rights, of course, so this needs to be studied and discussed. It will not be easy, or quick, and there is a lot of work to be done: which species they will apply to, what rights for animals will look like and what effect they will have, how animal and human rights will operate side by side, whether animals will still be property or not […] The implications for animal rights on our society are huge – on farms, zoos, animals in the wild, laboratory animals. Interestingly, of course, we will also see benefit for humans, in terms of reducing methane production, reduced water use, and improved health from a plant-based diet, as well as encouraging new businesses to exploit the opportunities. I think – I hope – you are glimpsing the start of a journey, possibly quite a long journey – but which will lead to an amazing outcome of which we can all feel proud.”

The full speech can be downloaded here.

Cambridge launch

The Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law was officially launched on April 26th, 2019, with an academic workshop held at the Faculty of Law in Cambridge. The theme of the workshop was “Animal Rights Law: Present and Future” and a high-calibre line-up of some of the world’s leading experts on animal rights law presented their views on the topic.

Dr Sean Butler and Mr Raffael Fasel (Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law; University of Cambridge) introduced the Centre and gave an overview on animal rights law at Cambridge. Dr Gieri Bolliger (Tier im Recht; University of Zurich) then delivered a presentation exploring animal dignity protection in Switzerland. Dr Saskia Stucki (MPIL Heidelberg; Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program) discussed the theoretical difference between ‘simple’ legal rights and ‘fundamental’ legal rights for animals, before Dr Alasdair Cochrane (University of Sheffield) presented an argument in favour of seeing non-human animals’ rights as part of the same normative enterprise as human rights. After the break, Dr Jeff Sebo (New York University) analysed the philosophical arguments surrounding legal personhood and habeas corpus for non-human animals — a topic which Mr Steven Wise (Nonhuman Rights Project) then discussed from a practical perspective in his presentation of the latest cases of his civil rights organisation which has been filing habeas corpus petitions on behalf of chimpanzees and elephants. The workshop concluded with a panel discussion and questions from the audience.

A PDF version of the programme of our launch event is available here. Robyn Trigg, DPhil in Law candidate at the University of Oxford and author of the blog “The Vegan Feminist Lawyer” has published an in-depth account of our launch event, which can be accessed here.