Joanna Swabe, Ph.D

Senior Director, Public Affairs

Humane Society International

Joanna Swabe, Ph.D. is the Senior Director of Public Affairs for HSI/Europe. She oversees the development and implementation of our animal welfare policies in the European Union and is responsible for coordinating HSI’s relations with the European Commission, European Parliament and Council of the European Union. Her primary task is to lobby these EU institutions to achieve legislative change and to get a wide variety of animal welfare issues on the agenda of EU policymakers.

Before joining HSI, Swabe worked for more than a decade as an academic researcher in the field of human-animal relations. She has published a variety of scholarly articles, books and research reports on our often ambivalent attitudes towards farm and companion animals, the ethical and social acceptability of killing domestic animals, veterinary public health issues and the historical development of veterinary medicine.

Swabe served as a Council member for the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) from 1996 to 2009. Furthermore, she was the Associate Editor of the journal Anthrozoös from 2002-2006 and continues to serve as an editorial advisory board member today.

In 2004, Swabe switched to a professional career in animal protection. From 2004-2007, she worked as a policy adviser for the Dutch anti-fur organisation Bont voor Dieren and later as scientific staff member for the Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation, the scientific office of the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands. She initially joined HSI as a consultant on seals and fur issues in 2008, forming part of the team that successfully lobbied the EU institutions to achieve the historic ban on seal product trade in the European Union in 2009.

Swabe received her doctorate in 1997 from the University of Amsterdam for her thesis The Burden of Beasts, which explored the consequences of humankind’s increasing exploitation of and dependency on other animals; this was later published under the title of Animals, Disease and Human Society: Human-Animal Relations and the Rise of Veterinary Medicine. She earned her MA degree in social science from the University of Amsterdam in 1992 and a BSocSci(Hons) degree in sociology from the University of Manchester, UK in 1990.

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