Conference: Theory of Animal Law

University of Helsinki
June 17-18, 2022

With a kick-off event on June 16: Climate Change and the Voiceless



June 17 – June 18: Theory of Animal Law

Keynote speakers:

Gary Francione, Board of Governors Professor of Law and Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy, Rutgers University (remote keynote)

Saskia Stucki, Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

David Favre, Professor of Law & The Nancy Heathcote Professor of Property and Animal Law, Michigan State University

In a sense, animal law has been around for a long time. The history of legal regulation having to do with the human-animal relationship can be traced back centuries, perhaps even millennia. As an object of academic inquiry, the field is much younger, yet still several decades old. Largely an Anglo-American enterprise at start, scholarly interest and education in animal law have since spread around the world. Meanwhile, global concerns such as climate change and zoonoses have made the field more topical than ever before.

Alas, many foundational questions remain unanswered. Defining the field has proven an elusive affair: what is animal law, exactly? Authors attach the label to more than just one kind of phenomenon. Second, many aspects of animal law remain undertheorized, even if new theoretical approaches are being developed at an increasing pace. Whereas animal law theorizing has traditionally focused on how the legal situation of animals should look like, increasing attention is being paid to the legal situation of animals under the dominant welfarist regime. For instance, work remains to be done in understanding the general principles and central concepts of animal law such as rights, unnecessary suffering, dignity, and so forth.

The conference Theory of Animal Law will address these and cognate topics. The event seeks to explore the more theoretical aspects of the field of animal law from multiple points of view.

The language of the conference will be English. We expect the conference format to be fully in-person. Limited financial assistance may be available to scholars with no access to travel funds. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Registration and programme

The preliminary conference programme is available here.

You can sign up here for the conference and for the kick-off event. The registration period is from 26 April to 22 May. We may accept registrations after that but cannot guarantee lunch or participation to conference dinner. Please note that any cancellations should be made by 1 June 2022 to

Evening events on Thursday and Friday will be organized as well. Please let us know if you would be interested in participating in those. All catering in the conference and in the evening events will be vegan. Depending on the number of participants, we may be able to subsidize the lunches and/or dinner of non-presenting participants. More information will be available soon.

The event is organized by the Animals under a Welfarist Regime (ANIWERE) research project (see For more information, see our website. Any questions can be sent to

Organizing committee: Visa Kurki, Tero Kivinen, Veera Koponen, Veerle Platvoet and Roosa Niklander 

June 16: Climate Change and the Voiceless

In the afternoon of June 16, the Law Faculty of the University of Helsinki will host a lecture by Randall Abate and a discussion, based on his book Climate Change and the Voiceless (Cambridge University Press 2019). Topics discussed include the effect of climate change on voiceless groups such as nonhuman animals and future generations.

For more information, see here