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Associate Fellow Publishes Trailblazing Work on Animals and Social Work

10th June 2011

Centre Associate Fellow, Dr Thomas Ryan has published the first work on animals and social work.

In Animals and Social Work: A Moral Introduction, Dr Ryan, a practicing social worker, argues that since the early twentieth century the discipline of social work has demonstrated a thoroughgoing moral indifference to the needs and wellbeing of our fellow animals. His book is focused on the key question – is this indifference morally justifiable?

Dr Ryan argues that this indifference is remarkable given that animals have always been part and parcel of the human world within which social workers practice, and that their invisibility is odder still given our species embeddedness with the natural world. He contends that our biological continuity entails moral continuity.

Ryan presents cogent arguments as to why it is that animals ought to matter morally to social workers, and engages in a sustained critique of the key moral principles that are deemed to underpin practice. He articulates an alternative moral principle that respects individuals irrespective of their species membership, and which informs a revised code of ethics that has profound theoretical and practical implications for social work and its practitioners.

Animals and Social Work: A Moral Introduction is the most recent publication of the Palgrave Macmillan Series on Animal Ethics. The Series is produced in partnership with the Centre and aims to provide a range of key introductory and advanced texts that map out positions on animal issues.

More information about the book is can be found here, and the book can be ordered here, and here.

The author can be contacted at, and review copies can be requested from