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Oxford Theologian's Work for Animals Honoured

6 September 2010

Oxford Theologian's Work for Animals Honoured by RSPCA

The RSPCA is to give one of its highest awards, the Lord Erskine Award, to Oxford theologian, the Reverend Professor Andrew Linzey at a special ceremony to be held at the RSPCA Headquarters in Horsham on Saturday 11th September 2010.

Professor Andrew Linzey is one of the world's leading ethicists on the status of animals and the pre-eminent theologian on animal issues. He is the founder and the Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics ( and a member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford. This is the first time that the award has been given to a theologian.

On hearing of the award, Professor Linzey said: 'This is a tremendous affirmation of the work we have been doing at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. I am happy to accept this award on behalf of all the fellows of the Centre who are pioneering ethical perspectives on animals.'

Professor Linzey has written or edited more than 20 books including seminal works on animals: Animal Theology (1994), Animal Gospel (1999), Creatures of the Same God (2004), and The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence (2009). His latest book, Why Animal Suffering Matters published by Oxford University Press in 2009 has been described as 'a paradigmatic example of how practical ethics ought to be done'. (Christopher Libby, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 4.1. 2010).

Andrew Linzey is also Honorary Professor at the University of Winchester, and Special Professor at Saint Xavier University, Chicago. In addition, he is the first Henry Bergh Professor of Animal Ethics at the Graduate Theological Foundation, Indiana. The post is named after Henry Bergh, the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and pioneer in animal protection.

The RSPCA's award is named after Lord Erskine (1750'1823) who pioneered the first anti-cruelty legislation in the United Kingdom. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (as it then was) was founded a year after his death in 1824.


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Notes to editors

A photograph of Professor Linzey is available. Please contact Sam Calvert.

The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics was founded in 2006 by its director Professor Andrew Linzey, is an independent Centre with the aim of pioneering ethical perspectives on animals through academic research, teaching and publication. The Centre has more than 50 Fellows drawn from a variety of academic disciplines from throughout the world. For more information about the Centre and its Fellows please see its website at

The Centre is dedicated to the memory of the celebrated Catalan philosopher Jos' Ferrater Mora. His prodigious scholarship is widely acclaimed, and the Centre honours his name because of his outstanding contribution to humanitarian thought, particularly in the area of animal ethics.

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