I am a moral and political philosopher interested in questions about human/animal relationships, food, liberal/libertarian political theory, and applied ethics. I am a Lecturer in Political Philosophy and a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow based in International Relations, Politics and History at Loughborough University.
I am the current host of the animal studies podcast Knowing Animals. I am also a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the Vegan Society.
Prior to my current role, I worked as British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield (2019-22), an Associate Lecturer in Political Philosophy in the Department of Politics at the University of York (2017-19), and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Animal Studies at Queen’s University in Canada (2016-17). I read for my PhD in Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast (2013-16). My thesis was called The Political Turn in Animal Ethics. Before that, I read for a BA and an MA in Philosophy at Lancaster University (2009-2013).
Food, Justice and Animals
I am presently writing a book with the working title Food, Justice, and Animals: Feeding the World Respectfully. There’s a straightforward sense in which a vegan state is the natural conclusion of animal-rights theory. I want to challenge this. While taking animal rights seriously will mean that animal agriculture as we know it must come to an end, there might be ways that we can have our cow and eat her too. I am exploring the viability of alternative sources of animal protein, including “clean” meat (and related technologies), unfeeling invertebrates, and animals conceptualised as workers (and thus afforded workers’ rights). After all, vegan food systems may have their own problems, both from an animal-rights perspective and a broader food–justice perspective. Arable agriculture can be harmful to animals, and perhaps vegan food systems will be bad for the hungry, workers, and those who value non-vegan foods. In short, I am trying to conceptualise a food system that has it all: ample food, animal protein, and good jobs – all with full respect for animals‘ rights.
My monograph Just Fodder: The Ethics of Feeding Animals is forthcoming with McGill-Queen’s University Press. In the book, I explore the moral and political significance of the multifarious relationships that humans have with animals, from personal relationships of companionship and friendship through to the much more distant relationships that humans (as individuals, states and societies) have with completely “wild” animals. In Just Fodder, I aim to develop a novel account of liberal animal ethics, according to which, as a matter of justice, animals have negative rights grounded in their interests, and positive entitlements (which may take the form of political rights to be protected by the state or moral demands imposed upon particular humans) grounded in the relationship that they have with humans.