SCELG PhD researcher Iyan Offor publishes an article on the interaction between animal ethics and environmental ethics

Sept 2020 - SCELG PhD Researcher, Iyan Offor has recently published an article in the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment entitled Second wave animal ethics and (global) animal law: a view from the margins. Environmental law scholars will benefit from the reflections on the interaction between animal ethics and environmental ethics therein. This article is published within a special issue on animal rights which helps to further solidify, nuance and promote investigation of the multifaceted links between environmental law and animal law.

Iyan’s article stems from the first, methodological chapter of his PhD thesis, written at SCELG. The objective of this new ethics-based methodological approach to law is to centre marginal perspectives, including animal perspectives. Iyan has most recently shared these ideas as a visiting international research scholar at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Iyan will develop these ideas further, before his thesis submission, at an emerging scholars workshop hosted by the Animals & Society Research Initiative of the University of Victoria.


The article’s abstract follows: 

Animal law and animal law studies both suffer from shortcomings in their underlying ethics. For the most part, (global) animal law draws from utilitarian welfarism and rights-based approaches to animals. Animal law academics have, thus far, paid little attention to more critical animal ethical studies, although these hold great potential for improving the justness and effectiveness of animal law. This article proposes delineating a ‘second wave of animal ethics’ consisting of a number of critical ethical lenses that are capable of addressing four key shortcomings in ‘first wave animal ethics’. This article draws particularly on feminist, posthumanist and earth jurisprudence studies to draw out four key lessons. First, the need to stop assuming that animals only deserve moral and legal consideration if they are like humans, and instead to accept, celebrate, reward and legally protect difference. Second, the need to stop assuming that moral and legal considerations should extend to animals and no further. Third, the need to stop over-relying on liberal concepts like rights and start engaging with (intersectionally) marginalized communities to theorize viable alternative paradigms that might work better for animals. Fourth, the need to stop assuming that animal ethics need to be the same everywhere. In making this argument, this article intends to inspire further research on ‘second wave animal ethics’ ideas amongst animal law scholars.