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Professor advises international animal ethics center

January 19, 2007

Christina Risley-Curtiss, an associate professor at ASU's School of Social Work, is one of 100 academics from 10 countries selected as an adviser to the new Centre for Animal Ethics at the University of Oxford in England.

The center is an international, independent think tank that launched Nov. 27. It will focus on the advancement of progressive thought regarding animals.

In her role as co-principal investigator of the $1.2 million-dollar Child Welfare Education Project at ASU, Risley-Curtiss has conducted funded research, published articles and developed a social work course related to the animal-human bond. She also chairs a local coalition of human service and animal welfare organizations called the Humane LINK.

“I am honored to be part of this international effort,” she says. “I'm confident that the center's work will help elevate our collective dialogue on non-human animal ethics and reach deeply into higher education, and our civic and professional lives. My students, colleagues and funders have been responsive to efforts that explore the interrelatedness of humans and non-human animals, and to apply it to our field.

“Law enforcement, child welfare professionals and other social workers in our community have also been receptive to learning about and adapting their practice to the documented relationship between animal abuse and violence to humans.”

The Centre for Animal Ethics is the world's first academy dedicated to the enhancement of the ethical status of animals through academic publication, teaching and research. Academics worldwide from the sciences and the humanities will be eligible to join Nobel laureate in literature J.M. Coetzee as Fellows of the center. Other projects being pursued include research on the relationship between abuse to animals and to humans, an online course in animal ethics and the new Journal of Animal Ethics.

“The support of such a large number of internationally-recognized academics underlines just how important animals are as a moral issue,” says Andrew Linzey, an Oxford theologian and the center's first director. “Importantly, animals are now recognized as sentient beings in European law, and in the United Kingdom the most comprehensive – and long overdue – overhaul of animal welfare legislation for almost a century is shortly to be enacted into law.”

To learn about the center and its advisers and fellows, visit the Web site (