Skip to main content
A person stands close to a peaceful, muddy elephant

Human-Animal Research Network

Exploring issues of human-animal coexistence
We bridge the gap between science and social science, bringing together expert researchers to explore and solve problems of human-animal relations.

About us

We are a multidisciplinary research group in the field of animal studies, forming a bridge between the social sciences and the sciences – we occupy the intersection of human-animal studies, law, veterinary science, cultural studies and public health.

Our work focuses on issues such as species extinctions, environmental sustainability and climate change, animal welfare and rights in the context of large-scale agriculture and fishing, companion-animal ethics, and recent controversies surrounding live-animal exports, horse racing and mosquitoes.

Our work

We explore questions such as: 

  • How does contact between humans and other species shape and reflect social relations in modern societies?
  • How do we think of ethics and politics in context of human-animal relations?
  • How do humans and animals share places and spaces?
  • How does human-animal interaction affect health, wellbeing and species survival?

Our people

Our research team includes staff and students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Science, the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science and the University of Sydney Law School. We welcome associates from throughout Australia and around the world.

Our events

We hold regular seminars showcasing our work and that of visiting researchers.

New directions in animal advocacy

10-11 December 2018

This HARN conference will examine (re)new(ed) practices in the field of animal advocacy in Australasia and more broadly. Through this focused event, organisers aim to link participants together and enrich scholarship.

More details and register

Varieties of empathy, joy and wonder in animal ethics

9 May 2018

Elisa Aaltola, University of Eastern Finland

Certain emotions are often lacking from how animals are defined and treated. This talk asks what sorts of emotions Western cultures teach us to feel towards pigs, pigeons, fish and cows, and how this impacts our take on their moral standing.

The flesh of the happy and the flesh of the unhappy: An interdisciplinary research of human relation to animal product consumption

30 May 2017

Shiri Raz, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

With a focus on the moral aspects of animal product consumption, this seminar explores the gap between viewpoints and experiences and presents a model for a deeper understanding of the conflicts between individuals and groups by observing the way we use language.

The elephant's I

16 May 2017

Radhika Subramaniam, Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York

An experimental approach to writing an animal biography that incorporates the animal, its human companion and the writer. Experiences of intimacy, isolation, confinement, migration and intelligibility form the tale, posing the challenge of storytelling across species and time.

The horse world: Human-horse relationships in equestrian sport and leisure

11 April 2017

Dr Katherine Dashper, Leeds Beckett University, UK

Drawing on an eight-year multispecies ethnography to discuss interspecies interactions within equestrian sport and leisure to propose a framework for efforts to enhance understanding and appreciation of the subtle and complex interspecies encounters in this field.

Preference formation: A non-rationalistic and non-individualistic approach

20 September 2016

Frédéric Côté-Boudreau, Queen's University, Canada

Marginalised groups, such as animals and people with cognitive disabilities, experience obstacles to living the life they would like. This talk draws on relational autonomy, disability studies and citizenship theory of animals to address these issues in non-rationalistic and non-individualistic terms.

Writing about animals: Literature's evolving relationship with the animal kingdom

13 September 2016

Midge Raymond, Sascha MorrellJohn Yunker

Some animals we welcome into our homes and lives. Others we bar from our lawns and legal systems. This seminar explores the role of literature and language in reimagining our relationship with animals, how animal-themed literature has evolved and where it is headed.

Our publications

Animal Publics series, Sydney University Press

Christine Townend, A life for animals, Sydney University Press, 2017

Peter John Chen, Animal welfare in Australia: Politics and policy, Sydney University Press, 2016

Peta Tait, Fighting nature: Travelling menageries, animal acts and war, Sydney University Press, 2016

Human-Animal Research Network Collective, Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical perspectives on non-human futures, Sydney University Press, 2015

Marcel Wissenburg and David Schlosberg (Eds), Political animals and animal politics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014

Georgette Leah Burns and Mandy Paterson (Eds), Engaging with animals: Interpretations of a shared existence, Sydney University Press, 2014

Phil McManus, The global horseracing industry: Social, economic and ethical perspectives, Routledge, 2013

Celeste Black, Animal law in Australasia: Continuing the dialogue, Federation Press, 2013

Jay Johnston and Fiona Probyn-Rapsey (Eds), Animal Death, Sydney University Press, 2013

Nigel Turvey, Cane toads: A tale of sugar, politics and flawed science, Sydney University Press, 2013

Paul McGreevy and Robert Boakes, Carrots and sticks: Principles of animal trainingDarlington Press, 2011


Headshot of Dr Dinesh Wadiwel

Headshot of Professor Danielle Celermajer