This July, the second Minding Animals Conference will be held at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. It is organized by Minding Animals International, an organisation that “provides an avenue for the transdisciplinary field of Animal Studies to be more responsive to the protection of animals” and “aims to enable discourse between the various interests within this rapidly developing transdisciplinary field in ways that will improve the status of non-human animals and alleviate nonhuman animal exploitation” (quoted from its website). It wants to act “as a bridge between adacemia and advocay” and is now a “network of more than 2,500 academics, artists, activists and advocates, dedicated to the study and protection of all planetary life through the advancement of Animal Studies.” The inaugural Minding Animals Conference was held in 2009 in Newcastle, Australia and each three years another international conference is held, this year in The Netherlands.
The conferences have the following major recurring themes:
- To reassess the relationship between the animal and environmental movements in light of climate change and other jointly-held threats and concerns;
- To examine how humans identify and represent nonhuman animals in art, literature, music, science, and in the media and on film;
- How, throughout history, the objectification of nonhuman animals and nature in science and society, religion and philosophy, has led to the abuse of nonhuman animals and how this has since been interpreted and evaluated;
- To examine how the lives of humans and companion and domesticated nonhuman animals are intertwined, and how science, human and veterinary medicine utilise these important connections;
- How the study of animals and society can better inform both the scientific study of animals and community activism and advocacy; and,
- How science and community activism and advocacy can inform the academic study of nonhuman animals and society.
Minding Animals International has the following patrons: Marc Bekoff, John Coetzee, Jane Goodall, Dale Jamieson, Jill Robinson and Peter Singer. Several of them will speak at this year’s conference.
This year the conference will be held from 3 to 6 July and is hosted by the Ethics Institute and Faculty of Veterinary Science at Utrecht University. There are multiple themes that will be covered in parallel sessions:
- The Human-Animal Relationship
- Animal Capacities
- Animal Welfare
- Animal Ethics
- Animals and Sustainability
- Animals and Public Policy
For more information on the conference and how to register, click here.