Human Rights and Animal Ethics Research Network (HRAE) is an interdisciplinary network, whose major objective is to play a leading role in the new global field of Human-Animal Studies (HAS) that has achieved international prominence in the past two decades.
HRAE brings together academics from a range of disciplines including the arts, science, law, philosophy and politics. HRAE sees the question of justice for human and nonhuman animals as intimately related to key issues such as the quality of life for all, justice, climate change, species extinction, sustainability and the future of the planet.
Justice Michael Kirby officially launched HRAE on 15 March 2013 to a large gathering of people from the University and the general public. Justice Kirby spoke of his personal commitment to justice for animals. The launch was held at the Melbourne Law School. Other speakers included Dr Alasdair Cochrane (University of Sheffield), who spoke on human and animal rights, Ms Jenny Gray (CEO, Zoos Victoria) who spoke on species extinction and the importance of conservation, and Professor Barbara Creed (Director of HRAE) who discussed the relationship between human rights and animal ethics. Dr Siobhan O'Sullivan, a leading advocate for animal justice, chaired the event.
HRAE supports the view of Nobel-prize winning scientist Paul Crutzen that we have entered a new age, called the Anthropocene, which humans have created, that is, human activities have exerted a profound and possibly lasting impact on the Earth's ecosystems and by implication all forms of life on the planet. HRAE believes that the question of social justice for all species is now a central issue in the Age of the Anthropocene.
Finally, HRAE believes that both ethics and empathy are closely intertwined and together play a crucial role in the struggle for justice for all creatures - human and nonhuman. Ethics alone cannot help us to determine how we should live. Empathy for all living creatures is also crucial in determining the way in which we engage with the world and its myriad of life-forms.
Supported by the School of Culture and Communication
The Human Rights and Animal Ethics Research Network (HRAE) was established with a grant from the Arts Faculty in 2013. Since then, HRAE has been supported by the School of Culture and Communication (SCC), which hosts the monthly reading group and offers administrative support for special events. This includes providing invaluable assistance for HRAE’s highly successful international Conference, "Animal Publics: Emotions, Empathy, Activism’ held in 2015."
HRAE focuses on research into the educational, legal, social and cultural transformations taking place globally in response to the most recent scientific and ecological findings concerning Human-Animal Studies.
The following topics are of central importance:
- the common evolutionary history of human and non-human animals
- increasing evidence for the shared identities (physiological, cultural, emotional, ethical) of human and non-human animals
- the common exploitation and interrelated sufferings and oppressions of human and non-human animals
- consequences for humanity and the planet of species extinction, industrial production and live export
- the social, cultural and economic importance of well-being for all species as well as animals and tourism
- the key role currently being played by zoos, wildlife parks and natural history museums in relation to public awareness of human/animal issues
- the possibility we are entering a new geological era called the Anthropocence, which is characterised by the impact of human activity on the world and its inhabitants
Current research projects
Empathy and Evolution: The history of emotions and the literary and visual representation of animals
The hypothesis of this project is that, whereas emotion was once thought to distinguish human from animal, emotion has become a key factor uniting human and non-human animals. This project will investigate the above proposition through an analysis of the ways in which humans have perceived and represented emotions in animals in cultural discourses from the 18th century to the present. This is an ARC funded Discovery Research Project.
Understanding the Anthropocence
This project explores the possibility we are entering a new age termed the Anthropocence that is an epoch which has been created by human intervention and which has profound implications for all species.
Zoos in the Twenty-First century
This project explores the role of zoos and wildlife parks in promoting public knowledge about animals and their emotions, human/animal relationships species extinction and conservation.
Animals: Building the nation
This project explores the role played by non-human animals in the historical creation of nations and the wider creation of a civilized world.
Animals, public policy and civil disobedience
Animal welfare in China
The Animal Welfare in China research project offers critical insights into the state and visibility of animals in China, the debate surrounding their welfare, the context for policy change, and the country's emerging animal protection legal framework. Through analysis of the proposed animal protection law and anticruelty law, the researchers seek to identify the features of Chinese animal welfare legislations, and to critique the similarities and differences in state-sponsored animal protection between China and countries with more established policy frameworks.
- Eva Birch
- Natalie Rose Dyer
- Tara Lomax
- David Mence
- Hayley Singer
- Victoria Tedeschi
- Gonzalo Villanueva
See below for select publications and presentations by HRAE members.
Monographs and edited books
- Creed, Barbara. Stray: Human-Animal Ethics in the Anthropocene, Power Publications, 2017
- Garner, Robert and O'Sullivan, Siobhan (eds.,). The Political Turn in Animal Ethics, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016
- Hoorn, Jeanette (ed.,). Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia. Melbourne: Miegunyah Imprint, Melbourne University Press, 2009
- Johnston, Jay and Probyn-Rapsey, Fiona (eds.,). Animal Death. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2013
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan. Animals Equality and Democracy. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
- Tait, Peta. Fighting Nature: Travelling menageries, animal acts and war shows. Sydney University Press, 2016
Refereed journal articles scholarly chapters
- Creed, Barbara and Reesink, Maarten (guest eds.) (2015) 'Animals' Special Section, NECSUS - European Journal of Media Studies Spring 2015
- Creed, Barbara (2015) "Maitresse: pornography, ritual and the question of the ritual," in Coleman, Lindsay (ed.,). Sex and Storytelling. London: Routledge
- Creed, Barbara (2015) "Equus: ecstasy, therapy and the animal," in Huskinson, L. and Waddell, T. (eds.). Eavesdropping: The Psychotherapist in Film and Television. London: Routledge, pp. 67-80
- Creed, Barbara (2014) "Films, gestures, species," in Chare, Nicholas and Watkins, Liz (eds.,). Journal for Cultural Research. Taylor and Francis 14 (3), June 2014, pp. 1-13
- Creed, Barbara (2014) "The Elephant's Graveyard: Spectres of the Abyss," in Papastergiadis, Nikos and Lynn, Victoria (eds.,). Art in the Global Present. Sydney: UTS ePress, pp. 216-240
- Creed, Barbara (2014) "Evolution, Extinction and the Eco-Trauma Film, Darwin's Nightmare (2014) and A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)," in Narine, Anil (ed.,). Eco-Trauma Cinema. London: Routledge, pp. 25-45
- Creed, Barbara (2014) "Animals Deaths on Screen: Film & Ethics," in Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 'Minding Animals: Part 1', 2 (1), 2014, pp. 15-31
- Creed, Barbara (2013) "Nenette: Film Theory, Animals, and Boredom," in Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies 3 (Spring): np
- Hoorn, Jeanette and Creed, Barbara (2015) "Abject Art and the Animal," in Chare, Nicholas and Arya, Rina (eds.,). Abject Visions. Manchester: Manchester University Press
- McCausland, C., O'Sullivan, S. and Brenton, S. (2013) "Trespass, Animals and Democratic Engagement," in Res Publica 19(3), pp. 205-221
- O'Sullivan, S., Grey, J., Creed, B. (2014) ""Low down dirty rat": popular and moral responses to urban wildlife living in suburban Melbourne," in Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism 2(2)
- Ross, S., and O'Sullivan, S. (2013) "The World Trade Organisation (WTO)," in Linzey, A. (ed.,). The Global Guide to Animal Protection. University of Illinois Press
- Creed, Barbara (2015) "Skin: Science Fiction, Perversion and Animal/ Human Entanglements," Deletion/ Deviation: The Perversions of Science Fiction, symposium, Deakin University.
- Creed, Barbara (2014) "Animals, Empathy and Mental Illness," Try Walking in My Shoes: Empathy & Portrayals of Mental Illness on Screen, the University of Melbourne.
- Creed, Barbara (2013) "Apes & Elephants: Modernity, Zoos and the Search for Sensation," Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia, University of New South Wales
- Creed, Barbara (2013) "In Search of Sensation in the Tropical Imaginary," Tropics of the Imagination Conference, James Cook University
- Creed, Barbara (2013) "Animate/Inanimate - the First Zoos," Animate/Inanimate Symposium, Healesville Sanctuary
- Mowson, Lynn (2017) Dear Dairy conference, University of Canterbury
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan (2013) "Seeing is Believing: Nonhuman Animals and Liberal Democracies," AASG@Sydney: Life in the Anthropocene, The University of Sydney
- Brenton, S., McCausland, C. and O'Sullivan, S. (2013) "Piracy, animals and democratic engagement: The limits of civil disobedience at sea," Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) Conference. Murdoch University
- Hopgood, Fincina (2014) ""Laugh Along with Me": using comedy and autobiography to create empathy for mental illness on screen," Try Walking in My Shoes: Empathy & Portrayals of Mental Illness on Screen, the University of Melbourne.
- Mowson, Lynn (2016) Empathic Udder-ness: Witnessing and the Traumatic Imagination. Animaladies, The University of Sydney
- Mowson, Lynn, Pyke, S. and Singer, H. (2016) Performing Response-abilties: fleshy encounters in a time of ecological crisis. Performance Climates PsI #22, the University of Melbourne
- Mowson, Lynn (2015) Who witnesses for the Other? AASA 2015 Conference, Animal Publics: Emotions, Empathy and Activism, the University of Melbourne
Knowledge transfer in print and speaking engagements
- Hopgood, Fincina (2014) "Empathy and Portrayals of Mental Illness on Screen: Fincina Hopgood and Edwin Rutsch," Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
- McCausland, Clare and O'Sullivan, Siobhan (2014) "Drones, animals and the right to know: an Australian perspective, Centre for Animals and Social Justice
- McCausland, Clare and O'Sullivan, Siobhan (2013) "Queensland cattle crisis: animal welfare or the environment?" The Conversation
- McCausland, Clare (2013) "United Nations Declaration on Animal Welfare: Why not rights?" Regarding Rights
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan (2015) "New laws could stop revelations of animal abuse," Sydney Morning Herald
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan and Wadiwel, Dinesh (2014) "We have animal welfare laws but they don't stop the suffering," The Conversation
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan (2014) "Live animal export laws are useless without enforcement," The Conversation
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan (2014) "Animal welfare in Victoria: the death of two racing horses raises questions," The Guardian
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan (2014) ""Ag-gag" laws: The battle for animal welfare is a battle over information," The Guardian
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan and McCausland, Clare (2013) "Civil disobedience in support of animals to progress social change," The Voice 9(5)
- O'Sullivan, Siobhan (2013) "Why human suffering and animal welfare are the one issue," The Conversation