The Annual Tom Regan Memorial Lecture

Cheryl Abbate (with Tom, named after Tom Regan)

CAF instituted the Annual Tom Regan Memorial Lecture in order to celebrate the life and thought of philosopher, animal advocate, and CAF co-founder Tom Regan, who died in February 2017. The lecture, is delivered by a leading scholar of animal rights.

On October 5, 2023, Cheryl Abbate, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will present: “The Philosophy of Animal Rights: A Way of Life or Religion?” an exploration of whether animal rights theory is just a philosophy or contains a set of beliefs that are religious in nature, according to the standards of U.S. law. (Cheryl is seen here with her cat, Tom, named after Tom Regan.) The respondent will be CAF advisory board member and leading animal rights philosopher Dale Jamieson. The lecture is co-hosted by The Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School. For more information, click here.

Blattner & Stallwood

In 2022, CAF decided to hold two Regan Memorial lectures, to make up for the “lost” year of 2020. In May (at the British Animal Studies Network) and July 2022 (at UK Centre for Animal Law, Visions of the Future conference), CAF board member and independent scholar Kim Stallwood (above, right) gave a presentation entitled “The Martin Bicentenary: An Opportunity to Look Back and Imagine the Future,” in which he reflected on the legacy of the two hundred years of animal advocacy since The Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act, sponsored by Irish Member of Parliament Richard “Humanity Dick” Martin, was passed by the British parliament. You can watch Kim Stallwood’s lecture here.

On October 17, 2022, the second 2022 Annual Tom Regan Memorial Lecture, entitled “Transitional Justice and Animal Rights,” was presented by Charlotte E. Blattner, Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Berne, Switzerland, Faculty of Law (above, left). Her respondent was Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The event was co-hosted by Zurich-based Tier im Recht, which works to improve the human–animal relationship in a legal, ethical, and social sense. You can watch Charlotte’s lecture here, and you can listen to her interview on the Our Hen House podcast here.

Due to the COVID pandemic, the 2020 Regan lecture was postponed until 2021, when advisory board member and Black vegan feminist scholar Syl Ko (left) presented the Regan lecture, with the title “Re-centering the Human,” in collaboration with Rev. Christopher Carter of the University of San Diego.

In 2019, the late legal scholar Sherry F. Colb, C.S. Wong Professor of Law at Cornell University, presented a lecture entitled “Subjects of a Death,” at the Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress in Boulder, Colorado. (She is pictured with, from left to right, former board member Gary Comstock, current CAF VP Karen Regan and Michael Regan, CAF co-founder the late Nancy Regan, legal scholar Michael Dorf, and CAF board member Mylan Engel.)

In 2018, feminist theorist Carol J. Adams (see below), who in 1988 received a grant for what would become her pioneering work, The Sexual Politics of Meat, gave the inaugural Regan Memorial Lecture, entitled “Animal Ethics and Contemporary Politics.”

“It’s incredible to have a memorial lecture so that we can lift up what Tom has done, reflect on it, and continue to help shape new animal rights theory, new animal rights activism.”—Carol J. Adams