Animal Welfare Chauvinism: Control and Care in Brexit Britain

Wednesday 9th November 2022 (15:00-16:00)

All are very welcome to join this seminar via MS Teams.

Our seminar series will feature speakers who will use ideas from science and technology studies and related fields to illuminate their area of study. If you would like more information about ISS, or would like to give a presentation in the future please contact ISS Director, Pru Hobson-West.


ISS Seminar Series 20223/23 

Speaker: Dr Reuben Message, University of Edinburgh


This paper will introduce the idea of ‘animal welfare chauvinism’ in the course of a genealogical critique of animal welfare-related messages deployed during the Brexit referendum campaigns. Through an analysis of image and text, it argues that these combined chauvinistic and caring impulses which were mutually constitutive and crystallised through discourses formed in relation to contingent historical struggles. En route, it hopes to visit diverse, iconic and mythologised locations in which ideas of the nation and of care for animals have been forged, from the White Cliffs of Dover, to Scott of the Antarctic and the Boer War.



Reuben Message is a Research Fellow in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. His current work focuses on responsible research and innovation in the field of mammalian synthetic biology. Previously, he was based at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, working on the Animal Research Nexus project. Here he studied, amongst other things, how human-animal relations influences the way ethics is put into practice, as well as the challenges that some laboratory organisms, specifically zebrafish, can represent to established social and regulatory systems given their species-specific characteristics, histories and cultural trajectories.

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