Our Programme

Humans’ relationship with nature and fellow animals is critical: we are living the sixth mass extinction, climate change threatens all forms of life on a global scale, and an abysmal number of animals suffer terrible lives in factory farms, aquaculture facilities, laboratories and other captive environments. Continued industrialisation and the overexploitation of both domesticated animals and natural resources are not only unsustainable, they have stripped humans from their animality and animals from their selves and habitats. Abusive and harmful practices put the health of humans and other animals alike at great risk, and threaten the survival of wild animals’ communities, their cultures and their habitats. Fellow animals have personalities, forge relationships and have their own modes of social organisations and communication, that are disrupted by human activities in many ways. Our relationship with other animals and the rest of nature has to change.

As a result of this alarming situation and born out of our desire to provide viable solutions, the focus of the Animals & Biodiversity programme is to provide meaningful insights on animal studies from a global perspective, and influence policy-making to achieve interspecies justice and build a multi-species society by relying on our core values: equality, solidarity, compassion, and care. Our aim is to highlight the connections between various issues concerning Animals & Biodiversity, bringing together diverse academic fields such as Animal Law, Anthrozoology, Philosophy, Environmental Law, Animal Ethics, and Animal Welfare Science. We strive to adopt an anti-anthropocentric and intersectional approach that welcomes insights from critical race theory, disability studies, ecofeminism, post-colonial theory, and critical animal studies.

We provide updates on recent developments on Animals & Biodiversity through the publication of many resources, including recommended readings on topical issues, blog posts, working papers, information on upcoming events and current initiatives; and by organizing events such as roundtables, panel discussions, conversations, book talks, seminars and workshops. We disseminate information concerning these activities through Facebook and Twitter (@Animals_GRN). You can join the conversation by using the hashtag: #GRNAnimals_Biodiversity. Each of our monthly themes has a unique hashtag for more specific engagement. Follow us and stay tuned for Animals & Biodiversity!


Dr Yoriko Otomo


Global Research Network

I am a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, a Research Associate at SOAS, Governor for the Network for International Law Students, member of the Global Animal Law Expert Group, and I am on the Board of Minding Animals International. I am a Series Editor for Anthem Press, on the editorial board of the Australian Feminist Law Journal, and an External Examiner for universities in the UK. I live in England with my beloved partner, three sons, three hens and two cats.​

Junior Fellows

Altamush Saeed

Junior Fellow

Altamush is a Pakistan-based animal rights lawyer currently pursuing an LLM in Animal Law at the Center for Animal Law Studies, Lewis and Clark Law School. He will be pursuing an Environmental Law, Natural Resources and Energy Law LLM at Lewis and Clark. He holds an LLM from the University of Michigan Law School, a BA-LLB from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan and is a Co-Founder/Director of Charity Doings Foundation (charitydoings.org). Altamush is also an Animal Welfare Ambassador to Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRSWorld.org), both incorporated in Pakistan/USA, and is a member of the American Bar Association Animal Law, International Animal Law, and the Climate Change & Human Rights Subcommittees, and of the newly formed Animal Law Working Commission Group for The Union of International Associations (UIA).

He served as a Legislative Advocacy Intern at Best Friends Animal Society in 2022 and is currently serving as a Humane Policy Volunteer Leader at the Humane Society of the United States and a Government Relations Intern at The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 2023.

Ankita Shanker

Junior Fellow

PhD Candidate at the Universities of Basel and Antwerp

I earned my post-graduate degree in law from Oxford University and qualified as a barrister at the Bar of England and Wales. After nearly 1.5 years at international criminal courts/tribunals and 1.5 years teaching on a Swiss university LLM course, I am now working towards my doctorate in animal rights philosophy, theory, law, and policy, at the Universities of Basel and Antwerp. I hold various scholarships/fellowships, and am thus funded by the Finnish, Swiss, and Belgian governments/research institutions. In my spare time, I work, pro bono, as a legal correspondent moot coordinator to a UK animal law centre, a consultant composing law and policy recommendations for the European Union on behalf of the Dutch coalition for animal NGOs, and a legal and policy advisor to various animal NGOs across Europe. In the past, as Moot Court Training Expert for the International Commission of Jurists, I founded, developed, and ran the first moot on international human and animal rights law, held at the national level in Myanmar. I am now the Founder and Director of the first world moot on international law and animal rights, comprising an international mooting competition and mooting/coaching training courses.

Motunrayo Esan

Junior Fellow

Research Assistant at Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law

Mo is a Nigerian law graduate of Babcock University with research interests in animal law, public international law, human rights, matrimonial causes and election petitions. While in her final year of her LLB at Babcock, Mo wrote an undergraduate dissertation titled “Raising a Legal Framework for the Regulation of the Adoption of Dogs for Security in Nigeria”. In her work, she drafted a bill and sought to employ legal principles that would make dog owners more responsible for their activities in the country.

Upon completing her LLB, Mo immediately commenced with an LLM at Babcock and took international law courses. Her dissertation proposed a draft of a Universal Declaration on Animal Rights, and earned a distinction. In 2020, Mo was sponsored by the UK Centre for Animal Law to attend the Africa Animal Welfare Conference. She then commenced a role at the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law as a research assistant towards the publication of an animal rights law textbook (forthcoming in 2023). She also currently works as an editorial assistant for the Carnelian Journal of Law and Politics where she reads manuscripts and refers proposed contributions for peer reviews. She has also completed the bar exam of the Nigerian Law School and has been sworn in as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Varnika Singh

Junior Fellow

Head- Legal Affairs at Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations

Varnika Singh is a lawyer with 12 years of experience in various fields of law. She began her career prosecuting Trade Mark laws and has since completed a judicial clerkship with the Hon’ble Justice of the High Court of Delhi, India. She was also involved with the Human Rights Law Network and worked in the field of human rights. Varnika also has a Master of Laws in Science and Technology from the National Law Institute at the University of Bhopal. She is currently employed by FIAPO as the Head of Legal Affairs, (previously Legal Manager and Consultant) in the legal and policy team. Varnika’s work focuses on litigation, legal advice, animal issues deliberation, and the drafting and vetting of court petitions and legal instruments.
Varnika worked on several significant cases while at FIAPO, including the prohibition of a bull sport known as Jallikattu, the issue of street dogs, and the prohibition of animals in circuses. Varnika has provided policy feedback on the draft amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1060, and the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. She is particularly interested in the legal rights of wild animals and nature. She is also pursuing an LLM in Animal Law from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, to broaden her knowledge and scope in the field.

Wasseem Emam

Junior Fellow

PhD Candidate at the University of Stirling

Wasseem is an Egyptian-Canadian freelance consultant experienced in both policy and research and based out of Glasgow, Scotland. He has over 13 years of varied international experience across the fisheries and aquaculture sector and holds degrees in applied aquatic ecology. Wasseem’s doctoral studies on the welfare of farmed Nile tilapia have led him further into work on fish welfare. He has experience working on fisheries and aquaculture studies for a wide range of clients including the FAO, the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee (PECH), WorldFish, Cefas, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, ASC, the Marine Conservation Society UK and WWF-UK with extensive travel across Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East.


Amy Wilson


Amy has over ten years of legal experience and prior to graduating as the first South African with an LL.M. Degree in Animal Law, she worked as a corporate lawyer at the largest law firm in Africa. Amy is co-founder and director of the first organisation dedicated to animal law in her country – Animal Law Reform South Africa. Amy is a trustee of the Humane Education Trust (HET), a director and co-founder of the Coalition of African Animal Welfare Organisations (CAAWO), and is the co-founder of Lawyers for Animal Protection in Africa (LAPA).

Amy is currently working at UCLA School of Law in California as the Brooks Institute Animal Law and Policy Fellow, and prior to this position, she worked as the Legal Fellow of the Aquatic Animal Law Initiative and assisting with the Animal Law Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School.

Anne Safiya Clay


Anne is a PhD candidate in Environmental Science and Public Policy at George Mason University in the United States. She is interested in the relationship between culture and the development of environmental ethics, especially with respect to the conservation and welfare of wild animals. Her PhD research focuses on a comparative study of zoos in the United States, South Korea, and France—specifically on how these institutions fit into the larger context of the 21 st century debate on modern zoos. She received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Biology and Society from Arizona State University. She has several publications, including a chapter on the development of the Seoul Zoo’s animal welfare management and conservation priorities in The Ark and Beyond, a book on the evolution of zoo and aquarium research.

Cebuan Bliss


Cebuan is a PhD candidate at Radboud University, the Netherlands, within the Environmental Governance and Politics Group. Her interdisciplinary research explains the synergies and trade-offs between animal and biodiversity governance systems using an Integrative Governance framework. In particular, she is researching topics in conservation where there are conflicts between protecting the interests of individual animals and those of species: ‘Invasive Alien’ Species, non-subsistence hunting and species ‘management’, and rewilding. These topics relate to themes on non-human agency, multi/inter-species justice and transformative governance. Cebuan obtained an MSc in Global Environmental Governance from Vrije University, Amsterdam, and a BA in Politics from Durham University in the UK.

Christine Rudd


PhD Candidate at Texas Tech University

Christine Rudd is a PhD Candidate at Texas Tech University with a research interest in equine
wellbeing in horse-human interactions, specifically within the context of Equine-Assisted
Services, and animal welfare policy and legislation. She is the Chair of the PATH, Intl. Equine
Welfare Committee, is a board member for Equine International, and regularly publishes and
presents educational content on equine behavior and wellbeing. While she is an advocate for
horse sports and equine-assisted services, she believes that all sectors the horse industry can
and should improve their practices to be more ethical, responsible, and prioritize the wellbeing
of the horses involved.

Eveline Baptistella


Ph.D. in Contemporary Culture Studies

Eveline Baptistella (Ph.D. in Contemporary Culture Studies – Communication and Culture, by Mato Grosso´s Federal University – Brazil) is a researcher and journalism titular professor at the Mato Grosso´s State University – Brazil.  She dedicates her research to the field of animal studies, media studies, and environmental and scientific journalism. Baptistella also coordinates the research project “Animal Studies and Media”, which includes the study of the relationships between human and nonhuman animals in contemporary society and the representation of nonhuman animals in the media.

Madona Berumen


Master's in Ethology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona

Madona Berumen is from Tijuana, Mexico, and is currently based in NYC.

She pursued a Master’s in Ethology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, focusing on pica and its relationship with animal welfare in companion animals. Since a young age, she has been passionate about animals and started watching how pigeons behave; this was her first approach to ethology. She is particularly interested in animal behavior, animal welfare, anthrozoology, and climate change.
Currently, she collaborates at two dog shelters in New York City.

María Francisca Tapia Thenoux


Law graduate and Associate of Fundación Derecho y Defensa Animal (Chile). Experienced in Animal Law, having completed my undergraduate thesis in Animal Rights and Criminal Law, as well as my years of experience working in an Animal Rights Foundation. Teaching assistant of Criminal Law at Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Chile.

Mariana Martin-Leyes


Colombian lawyer from Universidad de los Andes

Mariana is a Colombian lawyer from Universidad de los Andes, with a Master´s Degree in Animal Law and Society from the Universitát Autónoma de Barcelona and a Professional Graduate Certificate in Environmental Policy and International Development from Harvard University. She is currently active as a leader and mentor for The Climate Reality Project, working to catalyze a global solution for the climate crisis. She was recently engaged as a sustainability consultant for Green Plus Solutions, developing sustainable solutions for corporations. Experienced as a public speaker, educating through conferences and workshops on climate change, sustainability, biodiversity and ecosystem sustainable finance. 18+ years of experience managing and leading a partnership operating in diverse sectors of the colombian economy and serving as a member in Boards of Directors for companies within the pharmaceutical industry.

Meganne Natali


French Doctor of Law

Meganne is French Doctor of Law whose subject’s research focused on “International Law facing Illegal Biodiversity Trade” with the aim of strengthening the fight against this traffic with solutions not only legal but also socioeconomic.

Deeply passionate about environmental protection, biodiversity preservation and human and animal rights, Meganne writes articles and collaborates with various organizations such as the UK Centre for Animal Law or Wild Legal. She qualified as an Attorney in France and is also a Case Manager at the Doctoral Clinic of International Law and Human Rights of Aix-en-Provence, where she manages groups of LLM students who work on concrete cases brought by clients such as NGOs, lawyers and international organizations like the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Working languages: French, English.

Naomi Clark-Shen


PhD candidate at James Cook University

Naomi is a PhD candidate at James Cook University Singapore, where she studies the biology and ecology of small, forgotten sharks and stingrays caught in fisheries around Southeast Asia. She works toward improving the lives of fish, both in terms of conservation and their welfare. Naomi also has experience working on how territorial disputes and political tensions in the South China Sea influence fisheries and marine conservation. Above all, Naomi is an advocate for a more compassionate world where animals are recognised as individuals, and exploitation and speciesism ends.

Pablo Serra-Palao


Pablo Serra-Palao is a Predoctoral Fellow at the University of Murcia, Spain. He has published several articles on animal law and environmental law issues, such as the crime of ecocide or the linkages between ecosystems’ vulnerability and ecological integrity. He is currently working on the legal relevance of future generations’ well-being, underpinning his work in future care ethics and a vulnerability-based approach. He holds an LL.M. in Diplomacy and International Relations from the Diplomatic School of Spain, and an LL.B and an LL.M. in Biolaw from the University of Murcia. He is also Associate Editor of Bioderecho.es Journal.

Rebecca Madrid


Graduate Student in Anthrozoology at the University of Exeter

Rebecca is a graduate student in Anthrozoology at the University of Exeter. Their research focuses on how ecocentric Asian elephant tourism camps in Myanmar construct the image of a ‘retirement sanctuary’ for lumber industry elephants that have been laid off or injured. They believe that recognition of these elephant individuals as workers in multi-species workplaces, and thus contributors to a multi-species society, can positively impact their wellbeing.

Rebecca’s academic background is in Social and Cultural Anthropology, having earned a B.A. from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a specific focus on systems of oppression and the ways in which various groups become marginalised by the individualistic agenda of late-stage capitalism. Their academic and advocacy work aims to expose the fallacy of ‘invisible’ struggles, instead highlighting the ways that certain classes of human and morethanhuman animals are consciously and actively erased. Rebecca is also the co-host of The Shifting Lens podcast, a project which aims to make critical Anthrozoological concepts more accessible to non-academics.

Robyn Hederman


Associate Court Attorney in New York State Supreme Court

Robyn Hederman, JD, is an Associate Court Attorney in New York State Supreme Court. She is a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and the co-chair of the Animal Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Her publications include “The Gallinger Bill, a Bill to Regulate Animal Experimentation in the District of Columbia: Forerunner of the 1966 Laboratory Animal Welfare Act” in Animal Ethics and Animal Law (Lexington Books, 2022), “Gender and the Animal Experiments Controversy in Nineteenth-Century America” in The Ethical Case against Animal Experimentation (University of Illinois Press, 2018), and “The Cost of Cruelty: Henry Bergh and the Abattoirs” in Ethical Vegetarianism and Veganism (Routledge, 2019).  She has a Master of Arts in history and is a member of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society. Her research interests include gender and the history of the anti-vivisection movement in the United States.

Tiamat Warda


PhD Candidate in Anthrozoology (University of Exeter)

Tiamat Warda is a PhD candidate in anthrozoology at the University of Exeter and part of the Exeter Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics (EASE) working group. Her research defines the emotional labour in relationships between guide dog instructors and guide dogs during their shared work-lives. Professionally, she acts as a research consultant and partner in a KA2-Erasmus+ EU-programme concerning a standardised education and certification for assistance dog trainers, as well as an anthrozoologist at Pfotenpiloten. Her research interests are predominantly concerned with animal labour studies, in particular interspecies emotional labour, collaboration, and humane jobs.