Join us on Thursday, May 6 at 6:00 pm EST for a lecture on The Challenge of Christian Animal Ethics with David L. Clough. Professor Clough is the Professor of Theological Ethics at The University of Chester. Registration is required to receive the Zoom details.
In this lecture, David Clough makes the case that Christians have strong faith-based reasons for urgent changes in their practice towards animals, particularly with respect to the ways they are now raised for food. He begins by arguing that despite the many important pressing questions of social justice and environmental responsibility, animal ethics is worth our time both because it is urgent and because it intersects with these other areas of ethical concern. He next provides an outline of where animals figure in Christian understandings of God’s work in creation, reconciliation, and redemption, showing that Christians have faith-based reasons for being concerned for the flourishing of fellow animal creatures. In the third section of the lecture, he provides a survey of how animals are currently being raised for food, which leads to the conclusion that there is a scandalous abyss between a Christian understanding of animals and our current practice in using them for food. In the final part of the lecture, he identifies two clear practical responses to the challenge: to reduce overall consumption of animal products and move to higher welfare sourcing. He invites individuals, churches, and other Christian organizations to take action in relation to both goals, and offers resources to guide and support such action.
About David L. Clough
Previously, I have worked on Karl Barth’s ethics and Christian pacifism; currently, my central concern is the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics. I recently completed the landmark two-volume monograph On Animals (Volume I Systematic Theology 2012; Volume II Theological Ethics, 2019), and am currently Principal Investigator on a three-year AHRC-funded project on the Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare with 13 partners including major UK churches.
After completing doctoral studies at Yale University, I moved to Durham as F.D. Maurice Postdoctoral Fellow in Christian Ethics at St Chad’s College, Durham, and then taught systematic theology and ethics at St. John’s College. I served as President of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics from 2014–18, founded and convened the Theological Ethics seminar at the Society for the Study of Theology from 2001–2019, Co-Chair the Animals and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion, and am Visiting Professor at the Centre for Animal Welfare, University of Winchester.
In 2015, I launched the CreatureKind project, which draws on my research to engage churches in the UK and North America with farmed animal welfare as a faith issue. In 2018 I launched the DefaultVeg project encouraging organizations to make a simple change to events catering policy that benefits humans, animals, and the planet. I am a Methodist Local Preacher and have served on national ecumenical working groups on the ethics of modern warfare and the theology of climate change.