Professor awarded grant for ground-breaking work on the Christian ethics of farmed animal welfare.

Posted on 26th July 2018

A University of Chester Professor has been awarded a £450,000 research grant to develop his work engaging churches and policy makers in relation to farmed animal welfare.

Professor David Clough.
Professor David Clough.

Professor David Clough, who is Professor of Theological Ethics at the University, has been awarded the grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a three-year project on the Christian ethics of farmed animal welfare. He will be working in partnership with major UK churches and a number of organisations with interests in animal welfare. The project will produce the first academic book on the Christian ethics of farmed animal welfare and a framework for policy for Christian organisations. It will offer support for policy implementation as well as offering briefings to UK government policy-makers.

Professor Clough is a leading international authority on the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics. He is the founder of Creature Kind which was established to engage churches and other Christian organisations in thinking about the implications of Christian faith for the treatment of animals, with a special focus on farmed animal welfare. He also recently launched a new #DefaultVeg project encouraging organisations to adopt a simple and cost-free policy for events catering with benefits for the environment, humans, and animals, with a number of University of Chester Departments and Faculties leading the way.

Through this grant, David will work as part of a small inter-disciplinary research team with Dr David Grumett (New College, The University of Edinburgh), Dr Siobhan Mullan (School of Veterinary Sciences, Bristol University), Dr Margaret Adam as a postdoctoral researcher, and Dr Paul Hurley (University of Southampton). The partnership will also include the following organisations:

  • Church of England
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Church of Scotland
  • Church in Wales
  • Methodist Church
  • United Reformed Church
  • Church Investors Group
  • Compassion in World Farming
  • Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals
  • Catholic Concern for Animals
  • Pasture-Fed Livestock Association
  • Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals
  • Quaker Concern for Animals
  • Veterinary Christian Fellowship.

The project will present its findings to the Church Commissioners and offer briefings to the Church of England bishops in the House of Lords, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Animals. Three US observers on the project (Dr Charlie Camosy, Dr Matt Halteman, and Dr Grace Kao) will advise on the feasibility of a US successor research project on the same model.

Professor Clough said: “I am extremely pleased to have been awarded this grant, which comes at a time of a growing Christian recognition that concern for animals is a matter of Christian faith. In the 19th Century, Christians were at the forefront of campaigns against cruelty towards animals, and they now have the chance to play the same role in challenging the cruelties inflicted on farmed animals in industrialised systems. Through this project we hope to contribute to public policy debates about farmed animal welfare at a crucial moment: the question of how animal agriculture will be regulated post-Brexit.”

For further information about Professor David Clough, please visit: