Workshop on “Animal Labour: Ethical, Legal and Political Perspectives on Recognizing Animals’ Work”

On May 18-19, 2018, the Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law, and Ethics research group (APPLE) at Queen’s University will be hosting a workshop on the emerging topic of animal labour. For both humans and non-human animals, work is often an important dimension of life, and a fundamental determinant of well-being. At its best, work can be a source of social recognition, personal meaning and material security, but it can also be a site of intense instrumentalization, exploitation and degradation. Our aim is to explore the potential benefits and pitfalls of recognizing animals as workers. Under what conditions could animal labour become a source of meaning and well-being for animals? What sorts of legal, political and social changes – both in the workplace and in the broader society – would be required? How can we ensure that talk of animal work is not used simply to whitewash existing forms of exploitation? Against the long history of instrumentalizing animal labour, is it realistic to think that we can create interspecies workplaces that are just?

During this two-day workshop, we explore these questions from multi-disciplinary perspective. Our speakers include:

  • Omar Bachour, PhD Candidate and Instructor, Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University
  • Alasdair Cochrane, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Charlotte Blattner, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University
  • Jessica Eisen, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta
  • Nicolas Delon, Law and Philosophy Fellow, Faculty of Law, University of Chicago
  • Kendra Coulter, Associate Professor, Department of Labour Studies and Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence, Brock University
  • Renée D’Souza, Master’s of Environmental Studies Candidate, Queen’s University
  • Alice Hovorka, Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, and Director of the School of Environmental Studies, Queen’s University
  • Dinesh Wadiwel, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and Socio-Legal Studies, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney
  • Sue Donaldson, Research Associate, Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University
  • Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University

The workshop is co-sponsored by the APPLE research group at Queen’s University and the Humane Jobs initiative at Brock University, and is co-organized by Charlotte Blattner, Kendra Coulter and Will Kymlicka. It will be held at the Tett Centre in Kingston. Prior to the event, we will circulate the papers to all participants to ensure that everyone who wishes to partake in our discussions will be able to do so.

If you wish to attend, or want more information, please send an e-mail to charlotte.blattner@queensu.ca. Attendance is free, but advance registration is required due to limited seating.

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