Animals, Nature & Society Research Stream

The animals, nature & society research stream brings together academics and postgraduate researchers from the College of Law, Social and Criminal Justice interested in multispecies approaches to building social systems and processes (such as law). This work expands the centre’s focus on human rights by considering both humans and non-humans, and by considering rights and alternatives to rights such as those emerging from feminist theories of care. We are a fast-growing community of researchers with an exciting array of research projects, events, publications, and presentations to inspire more consideration of animals and nature in our legal and other social systems.

Forest of trees



This research stream is organized around and responds to the following overarching question:

How can social systems and processes (such as law) be theorized and practiced in a multispecies way, that fundamentally notices and reacts to the signals made by non-human nature (both sentient and non-sentient), and that recognizes human society as a component of nature, not a departure from it?

This research stream operates in the context of the Anthropocene (a geological epoch in which human interference with Earth processes is permanently altering the Earth’s stratigraphy). It also operates with the assumption that the contemporary and increasingly recurring crises within nature and society are intertwined, and are caused in large part by human action, institutions, and social organization.

This research stream employs interdisciplinary methods to investigate social institutions and practices (primarily law) through the lenses of, amongst other things, critical posthumanism, intersectionality studies, and legal geography. It employs knowledge from multiple disciplines (including political science, social sciences, and the arts) to deepen our understanding of human nature as it manifests through and influences our social and legal practices across the globe. Our research introduces multispecies perspectives and Anthropocene priorities to research on animals, nature and society, aiming at investigating and proposing radical alternatives to our present social and environmental realities that decentre the human in legal and other systems.

Our work contributes to research in areas including critical animal studies, environmental constitutionalism, and posthuman legalities. It includes advocacy in the areas of animal rights and rights for nature, the contribution of deep theoretical reflections to key environmental policy actors, engagement with political processes and policymaking in the areas of global animal law and global environmental law, and the growth of global networks in this area.

Global Animal Law from the Margins: International Trade in Animals and their Bodies

Introducing an intersectional framework to global animal law to reconceptualize legal research on international trade and animal law.

Find out more

Solarpunk and Multispecies Worlding

Exploring solarpunk literature in order to craft queer and hopeful methodologies for the task of multispecies legal worlding.

Find out more


We are building a regular schedule of events about animals, nature and society hosted at BCU. Check back here for further information about our upcoming events.

Recent Events:

Book launch (Global Animal Law from the Margins by Dr Iyan Offor) + Mini Book Fair on Law, Social and Criminal Justice (4 October 2023)

Upcoming Events:

2024 UK Centre for Animal Law Annual Conference

2025 Regional Round of the World Moot on International Law and Animal Rights

Reading Group

We hold a monthly reading group where we meet casually to discuss academic and creative literatures on animals, nature and society. We meet to read, discuss ideas, get inspired, and coordinate various collaborations. Examples of the literature we have read include:

Laura Mai, 'The "question of possibilities" as a leitmotif for re-imagining law for the "Anthropocene"' (2022) 13(3) Global Policy 49 

Emily Jones, 'Posthuman International Law and the Rights of Nature' (2021) 12 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 76

Maxine Burkett, 'Root and Branch: Climate Catastrophe, Racial Crises, and the History and Future of Climate Justice' (2021) 134 Harvard Law Review Forum 326 

We usually meet in the last week of each month, from 4-6pm on a weekday. All are welcome at our reading group. If you would like to join us, please contact Dr Iyan Offor:

PhD Opportunities

Building on the Centre for Human Rights’ successful PhD programme, we welcome applications from prospective PhD students who wish to research issues concerning animals, nature and society. We have a growing (and thriving) community of PhD researchers already working in this area. You can find out more about their work in their profiles below:

Mr Samuel Hazle

 Ms Frida Hernandez Pena

Ms Carley Lightfoot

Ms Michelle Strauss

Recent publications
  1. Iyan Offor, Global Animal Law from the Margins (Routledge 2023)
  2. Carley Lightfoot, ‘Offences involving Animals’ in Philip G Cowburn, A Straightforward Guide to Criminal Law (Straightforward Publishing 2023)
  3. Libby Anderson and Iyan Offor, ‘Animal welfare measures in Scotland: Penalties, protections, powers and a Commission’ (2020) 4(1) UK Journal of Animal Law 29
  4. Philip Oamen and Eunice Erhagbe, ‘The impact of climate change on economic and social rights realisation in Nigeria: International cooperation and assistance to the rescue?’ (2021) 21(2) African Human Rights Law Journal 1080
  5. Iyan Offor, ‘Global Animal Law and the Problem of “Globabble”: Toward Decoloniality and Diversity in Global Animal Law Studies’ (2022) 12(1) Asian Journal of International Law
  6. Iyan Offor, ‘Second wave animal ethics and (global) animal law: a view from the margins’ (2020) 11(2) Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 268
  7. Iyan Offor, ‘Animals and the Impact of Trade Law and Policy: A Global Animal Law Question’ (2020) 9(2) Transnational Environmental Law 23
  8. Iyan Offor, ‘Animal Welfare, Bilateral Trade Agreements, and Sustainable Development Goal Two’ (2019) 3(1) UK Journal of Animal Law 1
  9.  Iyan I.H. Offor and Jan Walter, ‘GATT Article XX(a) Permits Otherwise Trade-Restrictive Animal Welfare Measures’ (2017) 12(4) Global Trade and Customs Journal 158
  10. Iyan I.H. Offor and Jan Walter, ‘The Applicability of GATT Article XX(a) to Animal Welfare’ (2017) 1(1) UK Journal of Animal Law 10
  11.  Michelle Strauss, ‘Planning and Animal Welfare Law: Considering Why Planning Authorities in the Republic of Ireland Should have Regard to Animal Welfare Laws as Part of the Planning Process’ (2020) 41 Liverpool Law Review 129

Hadyn Davies

The Animals, Nature and Society research stream follows in the footsteps of Professor Haydn Davies, former Head of Birmingham City University Law School, who pioneered the inclusion of environmental law education and research at BCU. During his time at BCU, Professor Davies made a lasting impression as an environmental law educator and researcher, and the stream gives thanks to Professor Davies for carving out a space for this work here at BCU. You can find a selection of Professor Davies’ impactful work at the links below.

Get in touch

We would encourage you to discuss your research ideas with a prospective supervisor from our list of researchers above. We would also encourage you to investigate available funding options here.

Enquire now

For more information on the research stream and how to get involved in our work, please contact Dr Iyan Offor at: