The University of Cambridge is a collegiate research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. In 1795, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge publicly asked the question, Anne liceat invitos in servitutem dare (“Is it lawful to enslave the unconsenting?”) 

Some two centuries later, The Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law—on its way to becoming a major intellectual force in the Animal Law field—has publicly asked that question again. For example, searching for an answer grounded in philosophy and ethics, the Centre has sponsored an “Animal Rights Law Essay Competition 2020-2021.” (In the Centre’s words, “The first prize is kindly sponsored by the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR).”) ISAR has committed to continuing our sponsorship for the next three competitions, adding additional prize money each year, for a total of $10,000.

Implicit in the Vice Chancellor’s and Centre’s question is a distinction that has divided two sides of the animal protection movement for centuries: The philosophical and pragmatic difference between animal abolitionists and welfarists. ISAR has referred to this as the “half-a-loaf” problem.


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