Animal Studies Journal


The ‘political turn’ in animal studies (see Milligan, Boyer et al.; Garner and O’Sullivan; Cavalieri ‘Animal Liberation: A Political Perspective’) has offered some unique trajectories for realising improvements for animals. Where traditional animal ethics was dominated by a focus on normative concerns for how humans should act with respect to animals, the recent movement towards politics has effected a shift in favour of thinking about how human-animal relations are shaped by institutions, political structures and actors, the role of the state and private governance, power relations and problems of strategy. At least one benefit of this analysis is that it moves away from philosophical questions about how we would like animals to be treated, instead changing focus towards problems of translating the normative into practical action and praxis; in particular, how those involved in animal protection, welfare, liberation and rights can effectively engage with a social and political terrain to achieve change.