Human-animal studies research

Human–Animal Studies is one of the most rapidly growing international fields of research and scholarship. The Kingston group brings together sociologists, criminologists and other researchers, including colleagues from other university institutions, all of whom have an existing and developing interest and expertise in the field. Members of the group have a reputation for delivering high quality, internationally recognised research and publications. Our work aims to examine, understand, and evaluate critically the myriad of complex and multi-dimensional relationships between humans and nonhuman animals (whether they are real or virtual, historical or contemporary, factual or fictional, beneficial or detrimental). The group seeks to enhance the consideration of ecology and the fundamental interconnectedness of all living beings. Much of the research is conducted in collaboration with colleagues at other national and international institutions.

As well, the group is home to PhD and postdoctoral researchers who are carrying out research within the field.

The group is open to anybody with an interest in the field. All are welcome.

Current research

  • Animals and social and philosophical thought - including the ways in which, within different disciplinary fields, human nonhuman animal relations have been considered, misrepresented or disregarded completely.
  • Consumption of nonhuman animals - including the countless and often occluded ways in which nonhumans animals are consumed by humans and the respects in which innovative biotechnologies are being used to transform the production of associated commodities.
  • Ethics and animal experiments - which offers a critical reflection on the ethics of using nonhuman animals in biomedical experimentation.
  • Green criminology - including the study of environmental laws and criminality, crimes affecting the environment and the nonhuman, environmental harms, anthropocentric notions of criminal justice and how systems can offer ecological justice and species justice.
  • Multi-species sociology - which seeks to show how the acceptance of the study of human nonhuman animal relationships in sociology could enhance the richness of the discipline.
  • Nonhuman animals and culture - which explores the ways in which other animals are used by humans for the purposes of communication, fashion, relaxation, recreation and entertainment.
  • Religion and animals - focusing on the ways in which religious belief conceptualises nonhuman animals and has direct consequences for them.
  • Representations of nonhuman animals - which centres on representations in 'fine', popular and folk arts (including television, film, literature, paintings and sculpture) and depictions in other media such as social media, news and documentaries.
  • Social movements and animal rights - focusing on activism works at the level of sub-politics rather than at the level of traditional politics
  • Suffering and critical pedagogy - which examines the interconnections between nonhuman animal suffering, education and associate practices especially in university institutions.
  • Veganism - which investigates perspectives on veganism and explores veganism as a philosophy, a practice, an identity, and an emerging industry.
  • Veganism and wellbeing.

Current funded projects

‘Scientists' attitudes on science, values and animal free research.'

This project examines the perspectives of medical scientists who have received grants to develop animal free research. This is the first social science project to be funded by Animal Free Research UK.

Principal investigator: Professor Kay Peggs.


Postdoctoral researchers

PhD students

Associate members

  • Alex Friend
  • Philip Joyce

Recent external activities

  • In 2021, Professor Kay Peggs was an invited guest on the programme BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Steelmanning' to discuss veganism.
  • Professor Kay Peggs is an invited member of The Vegan Society.

Representative publications

Representative conferences and presentations

  • Kay Peggs 2021 Public policy, social laws, and the institutionalisation of animal ethics: A critical consideration. Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School Oxford. UK August 2020. (With Barry Smart). August 2021
  • Kay Peggs 2021 Animal Rights, Environment or Health?: Attitudes of Carnists to Reasons for Limiting or Eschewing the Consumption of Nonhuman Animals. Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School Oxford. UK With Luiz Gustavo Silva Souza). August 2021
  • Kay Peggs 2021 Factory Farming and Environment Health. Environmental Health Conference, Central Texas Environmental Health Association. (with Barry Smart). May 2021
  • Kay Peggs 2020 Veganism, crime and consuming animals. British Society of Criminology: Critical Conversations in Gender and Criminology. University of London; November 2020
  • Kay Peggs 2019 Concerning Humane Education. Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School Oxford. UK July 2019. (With Barry Smart).
  • Kay Peggs 2018 McVeg*n: A Critical Analysis of Trademarking Vegetarianism. Oxford. UK July 2018.
  • Kay Peggs 2018 Animals and Animal Rights. Guest Lecture. London South Bank University. April 2018.
  • Kay Peggs 2017 Fur Trade is not Fair Trade. Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School. Oxford. UK July 2017.
  • Kay Peggs 2017 Science Fiction, Science Fact, and Animals. London South Bank University. April 2017.
  • Kay Peggs 2017 Veganism and Utopia. Invited Paper. Portsmouth University. January 2017 (With B. Smart).
  • Kay Peggs 2017 Caring for Others: Utopian Futures, Ethics and Consumption. Invited paper. Kingston University. January 2017 (With B. Smart).
  • Kay Peggs 2017 Animals in Fiction. London South Bank University. May 2017.
  • Kay Peggs 2016 Oxford Environment Panel Discussion. Invited paper. University of Oxford. November 2016.
  • Kay Peggs 2016 Caring For Others: Utopian Futures and Eating Animals. Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School on Animal Experimentation. Oxford. UK July 2016.
  • Kay Peggs 2016 Zoopolis Examined, Kay Peggs with Will Kymlicka, Sue Donaldson, Sabina M. Lovibond, Alasdair Cochrane and Thomas Noorgaard. Winchester. June 2016.
  • Kay Peggs 2016 Animals and Sociology. Invited paper to the symposium on the animal challenge to the social sciences. University of Leicester. May 2016.
  • Kay Peggs 2016 Animals in Sociology. London South Bank University. May 2016.
  • Kay Peggs 2016 Animals and the City. Winchester Discovery Centre. April 2016.
  • Kay Peggs 2015 Vegan Futures. London VegFest. October 2015.
  • Kay Peggs 2015 Science Fiction: Science Fact: Ethics and Nonhuman Animal Experiments. Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School on Animal Experimentation. Oxford. UK July 2015.
  • Kay Peggs 2015 Human Animal Studies Stream Plenary: Animals and Technologies of 'Enhancement': Progression or Regression? Paper Foucault, Bio-power and ‘Enhancing' Nonhuman Animals. British Sociological Annual Conference. Glasgow. UK. April 2015.
  • Kay Peggs 2014 Ethical Review, Empirical Work and Veganism. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting Hard Times: The Impact of Economic Inequality on Families and Individuals. San Francisco USA. August 2014 (with B Smart and J Burridge).
  • Kay Peggs 2014 Religion, Ethics and Vegetarianism - Invited paper. Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School on Religion and Animal Protection. Oxford. UK July 2014.
  • Kay Peggs 2014 Meta-ethics and Veganism. Invited paper for the inauguration of the International Society for Vegetarian Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. University of Vienna, Austria. June 2014.
  • Kay Peggs 2014 ‘Fear of reprisals': Ethical Review, Empirical Work and Veganism. Invited paper for panel 1944 and all that: Sociology and the emancipatory promise of veganism. British Sociological Annual Conference. Leeds. UK. April 2014 (with B. Smart and J. Burridge).
  • Kay Peggs 2013 Invited speaker ‘Politics of Nature' Plenary. European Critical Animal Studies Conference, Karlsruhe, Germany November 2013.
  • Kay Peggs 2012 Human Nonhuman Animal Imaginaries. Minding Animals International Conference2. Utrecht, the Netherlands. July 2012.
  • Kay Peggs 2011 ‘A Call to Arms'?: Exploring Sociology for Other Animals. British Sociological Association Annual Conference, London School of Economics. April 2011.
  • Kay Peggs 2010 Risk, Human Health and the Oppression of Nonhuman Animals: the Development of Transgenic Nonhuman Animals for Human Use. ESRC/MRC Network Understanding human behaviour through human-animal relations'. Bristol University, UK. March 2010.
  • Kay Peggs 2009 Human Hazards, Human Primacy, and the Oppression of Nonhuman Animals. Minding Animals International Conference 1. Newcastle, Australia. July 2009.
  • Kay Peggs 2008 A Hostile world for Nonhuman Animals: Human Identification and the Oppression of Nonhuman Animals for Human Good. British Sociological Association Annual Conference, University of Warwick, April 2008.

Department of Criminology, Politics and Sociology