Introduction to Special Issue Ethics in Multispecies Research

Reflections from the Field


  • Heather Rosenfeld
  • Lauren Van Patter University of Guelph


Multispecies research ethics, animal studies, animal geographies, more-than-human geographies, animal research, animal ethics


This essay introduces the special issue on Ethics in Multispecies Research in terms of process and content. Emerging from a crescendo of conversations about the regulatory-ethical lacuna between research with human participants and non-invasive research on or with other-than-human animals, contributors were asked to discuss how they have navigated this lacuna during fieldwork. Themes include, first, scholar- and worker-activism, in which many multispecies researchers had experience and political commitments that shaped their ethics. A second theme is the challenge of unintended consequences. Researchers speaking to this theme discussed the many uncertainties of research and particular risks of multispecies work. Third, researchers recognized that vulnerability was not only asymmetric while doing multispecies research, but also multidirectional. Fourth, contributors discussed how their ethical questions and paths were entangled with aesthetic and embodied politics. Last, and zooming out, contributors drew attention to the problematic contexts in which multispecies research is often conducted, from legislation to colonial legacies. Together, the Special Issue contributions offer a series of techniques and thoughtful stories for conducting ethical multispecies research.


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How to Cite

Rosenfeld, H., & Van Patter, L. (2022). Introduction to Special Issue Ethics in Multispecies Research: Reflections from the Field. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 21(2), 106–112. Retrieved from