Birte Wrage, MA

Birte Wrage holds an MA in Applied Ethics from Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany, and a BA in Rehabilitation Pedagogy from TU Dortmund University, Germany.

Since 2018, Birte Wrage has been a PhD student at the ethics unit, working on the role of touch in animal morality as part of the FWF-funded project “Morality in animals - what it means and why it matters” (PI: Judith Benz-Schwarzburg). The PhD project centers on the idea that touch as 'the first sense' is an ontogenetic and phylogenetic precursor to verbal language and thus likely plays a role in the social lives of non-linguistic mammals that has been neglected so far. More precisely, the project develops the idea that touch can be an expression of moral capacities – e.g. sympathy expressed through consolation, trust shown in vulnerable contact behavior –, and that the deprivation of maternal touch as a facilitator of social and thus potentially moral development may be a harm beyond welfare to animals as moral beings.

Research interests

  • Animal cognition and behavior
  • Applied animal ethics
  • Philosophy of touch
  • Animal representation on social media

Research projects


  • Monsó, Susana and Birte Wrage. Forthcoming. "Tactful animals. How the study of touch can inform the animal morality debate." Philosophical Psychology.
  • Wrage, Birte. 2020. "The role of touch in animal morality." EurSafe News 22(1): 10-12.
  • Benz-Schwarzburg, Judith, Christian Dürnberger, Elena Thurner, Kerstin Weich, Birte Wrage. 2019. "Eine moralische Revolte. Ethische Überlegungen zur aktuellen Debatte um amtstierärztliche Genehmigungen grenzüberschreitender Tiertransporte in Drittstaaten." Amtstierärztlicher Dienst und Lebensmittelkontrolle 2019; 2019(3): 133-139.
  • Benz-Schwarzburg, Judith, Kristin Andrews, Maria Botero, Susana Monsó, Birte Wrage. 2019. "Can Animals Be Moral? Assessing Conceptual Challenges and Ethical Implications." In Sustainable Governance and Management of Food Systems 2019: Ethical Perspectives., edited by Eija Vinnari and Markus Vinnari. Wageningen Academic Publishing.

Teaching at the Messerli

Summer 2019, 2020

  • Current Debates in Applied Animal Ethics (IMHAI)



Birte Wrage, MA
E-Mail to Birte Wrage


Human-Animal News

More information about events and publications

Human-Animal News 2