8. David Clough: humans and other animals, live export, Australia’s extinction crisis, climate emergency, role of faith communities

A conversation with Prof David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chester and who has just finished a term as President of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics. Prof Clough co-wrote Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War (2007), debating just war and pacifism in a 21st century context, and has recently completed the landmark two-volume monograph On Animals (2012, 2018), on the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics. He is the founder of CreatureKind, a project aiming to engage Christians with farmed animal welfare, and Principal Investigator for a three-year UK Research Council funded project on the Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare in partnership with major UK churches and Compassion in World Farming. He is a Methodist lay preacher and has represented the Methodist Church on national ecumenical working groups on the ethics of warfare and climate change


Episode Outline

I. What's the big idea?

Byron chats with David Clough about humans and other animals, exploring David's recently completed two-part text On Animals. For the last couple of months, Prof Clough has been on a book tour promoting this new work and sharing the ideas and arguments in it. The first part, published in 2012 is "a project in systematic theology: a rigorous engagement with the Christian tradition in relation to animals under the doctrinal headings of creation, reconciliation and redemption and in dialogue with the Bible and theological voices central to the tradition." The second part, which came out a few months ago, is a theological ethics, exploring the implications of such a theology in our contemporary context, where there exists an abyss between the beliefs about animals Christians are committed to and widespread contemporary practices, especially in the food industry. In it, Clough "surveys and assess the use humans make of other animals for food, for clothing, for labour, as research subjects, for sport and entertainment, as pets or companions, and human impacts on wild animals".


II. What's going on?

1. In first, Agriculture Ministry admits to cruel conditions on animal transports - Times of Israel

2. Extinction Nation: Australia's biodiversity crisis - ABC Four Corners, Monday 24th June

3. The City of Sydney has officially declared a climate emergency - SBS

4. 'No faith in coal': Religious leaders urge Scott Morrison to take climate action - The Guardian


III. What do we do?

  1. Immediate and simple: reduce animal products and source more ethical products. See Creaturekind for more information and resources.
  2. Book recommendation: On Animals: Volume I - Systematic Theology; On Animals: Volume II - Theological Ethics.
  3. More ambitious: DefaultVeg, changing the hospitality and catering practices of churches and other organisations.

Bonus lecture: Eating More Peaceably: The Christian Ethics of Eating Animals - PEACEtalks lecture by Prof Clough, recorded at Paddington Anglican Church, 29th June 2019, immediately after this episode.


  • Host - Byron Smith
  • Producer - Simon Bunstead
  • Sound - Byron Smith
  • Music - Francis Preve
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