The Animals in Science Policy Institute (AiSPI) was officially registered as a non-profit society in July 2015 to address the need for more critical and constructive dialogue about the use of animals in research, teaching, and testing in Canada. There is growing literature on the merits of non-animal alternatives for various different applications; however, there is disconnect between alternatives development and implementation. As a result, there are still millions of animals used for scientific purposes in Canada each year. AiSPI aims to promote meaningful, evidence-based discussion about the need to use animals in science, to highlight where non-animal alternatives can be better implemented, and to encourage deeper ethical reflection about animal use in the scientific community.
The CASJ is dedicated to research, education and policy engagement that establish animals’ rightful status as recipients of social justice. Enshrining animal protection as a fundamental social value entails recognizing that the protection of animals is not something that can simply be left to the whims of private individuals, societal custom or market forces. If the protection of animals is to be in any way robust, it is absolutely crucial that the state takes an active role. Just as we should not leave child protection or the fight against discrimination to the goodwill of individuals and business, so must animal protection be promoted and enforced by good government legislation.
Laurentian University (ON)
CEEEC is dedicated to fostering cross-disciplinary collaborations in the pursuit of socially responsible and biological sustainable biodiversity conservation. CEEEC’s twin goals are to (a) promote cross-disciplinary cooperation on conservation and environmental issues and (b) integrate evolutionary perspectives in the conservation of biodiversity. CEEEC is anchored by two Canada Research Chairs – one in Applied Evolutionary Ecology and the other in Environment, Culture and Values. Members of CEEEC and APPLE are currently participating in the Chimpopolis Project (see below).
Dalhousie University (NS)
Principal investigator Letitia Meynell (Dalhousie), with co-investigators Andrew Fenton (Dalhousie) and Gillian Crozier (Laurentian), is leading a SSHRC-funded project on “Chimpopolis”. The animal sciences increasingly support the view that humans are not the only species with rich mental, social, and emotional lives. These discoveries are having an impact on social norms, including science policies governing animal experimentation on nonhuman animals. Too often, however, policy changes and welfare guidelines reflect views of other animals as objects, property, resources, or tools. In Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights, Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka offer a political framework for understanding the ethical dimensions of human-nonhuman interactions such that our ethical responsibilities to other animals arise from how we co-exist in our respective communities. At the heart of the ‘Zoopolian’ approach is the recognition that many nonhuman animals are particular others and that we ought to interact with them in ways responsive to both their species-typical characteristics and their individual personalities (including their competencies for living independently and their preferences of treatment). Our project will develop the implications of this theory for science policy, scientific practice, and knowledge production in science. We bring two commitments together: (a) using the best available science when discussing the capacities and attendant vulnerabilities of other animals of moral concern, and (b) re-envisioning our moral relationships with other animals free of anthropocentric bias. Chimpanzees are ideal candidates to narrow our focus as their expressed preferences of treatment, social competences, and sense of communal cohesion and identity permit a particular application of Donaldson and Kymlicka’s framework that crosses contexts as diverse as laboratories, sanctuaries, zoos, and free-living populations. APPLE members Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka are collaborators in this project.
Evolve our Prison Farms (EOPF) is a Kingston-based coalition of citizens united by concerns about animal agriculture’s profound ethical, ecological, and health costs. The closure and possible renewal of prison farms represents a unique opportunity to transition from animal agriculture to an “evolved” model centred in ethical and environmentally responsible plant-based farming.
Prison farms exist in a unique regulatory environment, the perfect setting to engage prisoners in truly life-affirming farming, to experiment with models of interspecies community, and to pilot innovative techniques in sustainable agriculture. Prison farms can pave our way as a society to a better, healthier, more sustainable and more compassionate future.
Centre de recherche en éthique de Montréal (QC)
The GRÉEA is an interuniversity and interdisciplinary research group in environmental and animal ethics, created in 2015, and associated with the Centre de recherche en éthique de Montréal (CRÉ). The GRÉEA aims at promoting exchange and collaborative work between researchers (professors/teachers in university/CEGEP, post-doc students, etc.) and graduate students (master or PhD level) working in environmental and/or animal ethics or on related issues. Regular members of the group are thus meeting every month to discuss about their on-going research, meeting occasionally for reading groups as well. Furthermore, the GRÉEA aims at making more visible and accessible to the academic as well as the non-academic public, French and English language research in environmental and animal ethics through public events, such as public workshop or conference. In addition, latest news about environmental and animal ethics events happening in Montreal, Quebec, or North-America, along with GRÉEA members’ new publications, are regularly published on the GRÉEA website.
University of Sydney (Australia)
The Human Animal Research Network (HARN) at the University of Sydney was formed in 2011. It is a cross-faculty research group comprising members from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Sydney School of Public Health, and Sydney Law School. HARN is an important contributor to the emergent field of Animal Studies, both in Australia and internationally. This field of study serves as a bridge between the social sciences and sciences, and the structure of our group reflects this. Species extinctions, environmental sustainability and climate change, animal welfare and rights in the context of large scale agriculture and fishing, companion animal ethics, as well as recent controversies surrounding live animal exports, horse racing and mosquitoes, highlight the fact that significant problems emerge when public understandings, scientific innovation and legal frameworks are out of step with each other. The disciplines of human-animal studies, law, veterinary science, cultural studies and public health meet at this point – each concerned with questions such as:
- How does contact between humans and other species shape and reflect social relations in modern societies?
- How do we think ethics and politics in context of human / animal relations?
- How do humans and animals share places and spaces?
- How does human-animal interaction affect health, wellbeing and species survival?
By bringing together researchers who are experts in both social and scientific problem solving, HARN is uniquely placed to respond to these questions. APPLE members recently participated in a HARN-sponsored research project called “A Sustainable Campus: The Sydney Declaration on Interspecies Sustainability”.
Brock University (ON)
Dr. Kendra Coulter is leading a project to conceptualize and promote the concept of humane jobs, in an innovative multi-year study funded by SSHRC. Students who would like to study animals, work, and humane jobs at the undergraduate or graduate level are encouraged to get in touch, as are other researchers, worker and/or animal advocates, policy makers, members of the media, and any other interested people.
Queen’s University (ON)
Under the direction of Dr. Alice Hovorka, the objective of the (SSHRC-funded) Lives of Animals Research Group is to explore the complex encounters between humans and animals within broader political, economic, social, cultural, spatial, environmental, and ethical contexts. The project embraces interdisciplinary and action-oriented research to inform scholarly and policy realms, and to enhance the lives of animals, and humans, as a result.
Politics and Animals Journal
Lund University (Sweden)
Politics and Animals is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that explores the human-animal relationship from the vantage point of political science and political theory. It hosts international, multidisciplinary research and debate — conceptual and empirical — on the consequences and possibilities that human-animal relations have for politics and vice versa. APPLE is a co-sponsor of Politics and Animals.
Queen’s University (ON)
Queen’s Animal Defence (QAD) is an advocacy group committed to social justice for all animals, starting in our own backyard with the animals on Queen’s Campus. QAD’s current campaigns advocate on behalf of the animals used for research and education at Queen’s; and on promoting interspecies ethics and sustainability as the foundation for university food policies.
Queen’s University (ON)
QAJC, formerly the Queen’s Animal Law Club, presents an exciting opportunity for students who are passionate about animals, to learn more about this emerging practice area! Getting involved with QAJC is a way for law students to integrate their legal studies and passion for animal advocacy. The club assists its members in obtaining exposure to this field through initiatives such as guest speaker series with industry professionals.