Zoon Politikon: What deliberative democracy can do for animals

Stream: Panel 3 - Environmental Politics: The Political Turn in Animal Ethics
Date: Monday, 26 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


Achieving substantive and systemic improvements in animal protection requires policy change. In this paper I advocate deliberative democracy as a response to this challenge. Deliberative democracy is a talk-centric theory of democracy focussing on collective reasoning as the central tenet of decision-making. I first discuss the theoretical potential of deliberative democracy for producing animal-friendly options, along with existing empirical cases. Finally, I suggest that a systemic approach to deliberative democracy is the most valuable for animal ethics as it recognises the important contribution of activism to the political representation of animals. However, I caution against over- reliance on non-deliberative tactics and argue that they actually may jeopardise animal protection goals in the long term.


Lucy J Parry (Presenter), University of Sheffield & Centre for Animals & Social Justice
Lucy is a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the Centre for Animals and Social Justice. Her research explores the potential of deliberative democracy for improving animal protection and policy. Lucy is interested in how the discursive representation of animals impacts on policy, and how deliberative democracy can enable effective political representation of animals. Her thesis explores these themes through a systemic empirical analysis of the UK fox hunting debate. Lucy is also a visiting scholar at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra.