After graduating with first class honours in BSc Geography from the University of Central Lancashire, Daniel moved to the University of Nottingham, gaining an MA in Landscape and Culture in 2002, and a PhD in Human Geography in 2006. Awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded both his postgraduate degrees: MA (Award No. 01/1248) and PhD (Award No. 02/63215). Dr Allen became a Teaching Fellow in Human Geography at Keele University in 2008-2009; returning in a Sessional Teaching capacity (2012-2013), then Teaching Fellow in Human Geography (2013-2019), and Lecturer in Human Geography (2019-). In January 2020, he became Programme Director of Geography. 

Picture from Biography section

An enthusiasm for geography led to the creation of Reaktion Books “Earth” Series in 2012. The series, which Dr Allen continues to edit, has been praised by the Geographical Association: “They keep our attention. They are great geography. These books will get us reading geography for pleasure”. 

As an Animal Geographer, Dr Allen has been commissioned to write more than 150 animal-related magazine features; published two books (Otter; The Nature Magpie); his writing has had over 600,000 reads through The Conservation; and the Pet Theft Reform campaign he created with the Stolen and Missing Alliance (Sampa) is on the political agenda. You can follow Dr Allen through his verified Twitter account @Dr_Dan_1.


• Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

• Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS)

• Member of the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group (OSG)

• Patron of the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (SAMPA)

• Associate Member of All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW)

Research and scholarship

Dr Daniel Allen’s research interests focus on policy, practice, and public understandings of human-animal relations, with outputs informing evidence-based animal advocacy, science-policy communication, and government and non-government decision making. Current research areas focus on animal companionship (pet theft) and wildlife conservation (otters).

1. Extent and Nature of Dog Theft.

The full extent and nature of dog theft is not yet clear, and there is currently a lack of research exploring this (Allen et al, 2019). Dr Daniel Allen started working with Dr Helen Selby-Fell (Senior Lecturer of Policing Organisation and Practice, Open University) during late 2020 and have formulated plans for collaborative academic research to explore dog theft. The research team also includes Professor Ken Pease OBE (University College London), Adam Peacock (Keele University) and Jamie Arathoon (University of Glasgow).

The aim of the research is to help to build the ‘evidence base’ and inform the development of the policing (and wider) response to dog theft in the UK. The researchers stress the importance of treating police recorded crime data on dog crime with caution as there are a range of limitations associated with how it is recorded and collated. A range of other sources of data need to be collected and analysed in order to get a fuller picture of the extent of dog theft, and to identify trends and patterns across the UK.

In addition, the research team are analysing interviews with victims of dog theft to explore the impact these experiences had on them. This will build upon existing research that shows that victims of dog theft experience feelings of loss, grief or mourning, with many victims suffering from severe psychological or physiological effects after their dog was stolen (for example, research conducted by the Dogs Trust in 2018). The researchers are also planning to extend their research to explore prevention opportunities, better understand the profile and behaviours of offenders (for example possible links to organised crime), and further develop work on ‘victim impact’. The research team welcome interest from police forces, OPCCs and other organisations with relevant expertise.

Selby-Fell, H. and Allen, D. (2021) ‘Dog Theft: What can we infer from the evidence so far?’

IMPACT: Dr Daniel Allen is currently working closely on the issue of pet theft with politicians, government departments, all-party parliamentary groups, police and crime commissioners, police forces, and animal charities.

Dr Allen created the Pet Theft Reform campaign in collaboration with the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (Sampa) in 2018. His three government Pet Theft Reform petitions passed 100,000 signatures in three consecutive years (201820192020); generating national media coverage, parliamentary debates, the Pets (Theft) Bill; and gaining public, celebrity, charity, and cross-party political support.

Dr Allen’s April 2021 appearance on BBC Countryfile can be found through this link.


2. Otter Conservation: UK policy, public understanding, and practice.

Over the last 15 years Dr Daniel Allen has carried out research on historical otter hunting and contemporary otter conservation, establishing a reputation as an active IUCN/SSC UK otter specialist. His ongoing research explores the influences and implications of human and non-human otter relations, including temporal and spatial differences towards otter predation.

There has been a growing recognition of the need to foreground the political in animal geographies and the development of a more radical politics that highlights the ways in which animals might ‘belong’ or ‘pertain’ to the countryside in a panoply of ways. However, little attention to date has been paid to foregrounding the actions of animals themselves in the production and re-production of the rural landscape.

Through reference to the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra), Dr Allen and Professor Simon Pemberton are focussing on the inter-relations between the otter and a multiplicity of different rural actors that are re-shaping the English countryside in different ways. In particular, a temporal, spatial and territorial perspective is adopted to highlight the evolving practices and performances that are taking place in ‘otter spaces’ and the implications for the (in)coherence of different rural spaces.

A wider study with Dr Alex Nobajas and Helen Malbon focuses on the uncertain geographies of otter populations. This includes exploring the use of historical hunting records to map the former presence of Eurasian Otters (Lutra lutra).

IMPACT: Dr Daniel Allen’s research expertise has been used to raise public understanding of conservation issues through extensive public engagement, including his first book Otter (Reaktion Books, 2010), ongoing academic and journalistic writings, and radio and television appearances. As media and policy advisor for the UK Wild Otter Trust, Dr Allen supported the formation and direction of the award-winning charity, contributing to the successful campaign to secure the first-ever Natural England initiative ‘class licence’ to humanely trap and remove otters inadvertently trapped in fenced fisheries (Allen et al, 2020).

More recently he led an Environment Agency funded research project about ‘perceptions on otter predation’ (Allen and Pemberton, 2019). You can listen to Dr Allen on BBC Radio 4’s Natural Histories, Otter, which first aired on August 13 2018. The updated second edition of his 2010 book Otter was published in 2020.




  • GEG-10012 Practising Human Geography
  • GEG-10013 Human Geographies
  • ESC-10035 Geographical Skills
  • ESC-10041 People and the Environment
  • GEG-10015 Nature, Conservation and Society (Module Leader)
  • LIB-10001 Understanding the World through the Liberal Arts
  • GEG-20009 Geographical Research Training
  • GEG-20015 Space and Society (Module Leader)
  • ESC-20049/50 Nature & Society (Section Leader)
  • GEG-30006 GEG-30008 Dissertation Supervision
  • GEG-30021 Animals and Society (Module Leader)


  • GEG-40007 Dissertations (Module Leader)
  • GEG-40008 Animals and Society (Module Leader)
  • ESC-40042 Literature Review
  • PhD Supervision: Emma Randall (2020-2023) ‘The Nature Nurse: The practices of eco-therapy, wild interactions and wellbeing’ (First Supervisor: Prof Clare Holdsworth)


  • Allen, D.,Devoile, J., Nobajas, A., Pemberton, S., Webb, D., and Wright, L.C. 2020. Fenced Fisheries, Eurasian Otters (Lutra lutra) and Licenced Trapping: an Impact Assessment. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 37 (1) pp. 38-52.
  • Allen, D., Peacock, A. and Arathoon, J. 2019. Spatialities of Dog Theft: A Critical Perspective, Animals, 9 (5), 209.
  • Wisniewski, K. D., Pringle, J. K., Allen, D. and Wilson, G. E. 2019. ‘Wildlife Crime: The application of forensic geoscience to assist with criminal investigations’, Forensic Science International, 294, pp. 11-18.
  • Allen, D., Matless, D. and Watkins, C. 2016. ‘An incredibly vile sport’: Campaigns against Otter Hunting in Britain, 1900–39. Rural History, 27, pp 79-101.


  • Allen, D. and Pemberton, S. 2019. Perceptions on Otter Predation. Environment Agency, Bristol


  • Allen, D. 2013; 2014. The Nature Magpie. A Cornucopia of Facts, Anecdotes, Folklore and Literature from the Natural World, Icon Books, London
  • Allen, D. 2010; 2020. Otter, Reaktion Books, London.


  • Allen, D. 2017 ‘Earthworm’, in Urbanik, J. and Johnston, C. L. (eds.) Humans and Animals. A Geography of Co-Existence, ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara. pp. 113-115.
  • Allen, D. 2013. ‘The Hunted Otter in Britain, 1830-1939,’ in Beinart, W., Middleton, K. and Pooley, S. (eds.) Wild Things. Nature and the Social Imagination, The White Horse Press, Winwick. pp. 120-141.
  • Allen, D. 2012. ‘Animal Blood Sports, British Isles,’ in Nauright, J. (ed.) Sports Around the World: History, Culture, Practice. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara. pp. 13-15. 
  • Allen, D. 2007. ‘A delightful sport with ‘peculiar’ claims: the specificities of otter hunting, 1850-1939,’ in Hoyle, R. (ed.) Our hunting fathers: field sports in England after 1850. Carnegie Publishing, Lancaster, pp. 143-164.


  • Allen, D. 2018. 'Book Review: The Gospel of Kindness. Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America', Agricultural History Review, 65, 2, pp. 348-350.
  • Allen, D. 2013. ‘Book Review: Placing Animals: An Introduction to the Geography of Human-Animal Relations, by Julie Urbanik’, Geographical, February 2013.


  • Allen, D. 2006. The cultural and historical geographies of otter hunting in Britain, Unpublished PhD thesis, The University of Nottingham.


  • Over 600,000 reads through The Conversation
  • ‘The Nature Magpie’, monthly column in NFU Countryside since May 2014.
  • Hoole, J. and Allen, D. August 24 2018. Do dogs have feelings? The Conversation. Reproduced by Newsweek and IFLScience.
  • Hoole, J. and Allen, D.  July 16 2018. It takes just six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car, The Conversation. Reproduced by iNews, Science Alert, The Weather Network, Dogs Today and IFLScience.  
  • Allen, D. February 15 2018. Pet theft is on the rise, with more than 60 dogs stolen in the UK every week, The Conversation. Reproduced by K9, iNews and Metro.
  • Allen, D. January 9 2018. How to stop the humble hedgehog disappearing from British gardens and countryside forever, The Conversation. Reproduced by Independent, Metro and 23 regional newspapers.  
  • Allen, D. December 2017. A Dog’s Life. Beanz: the Border Collie who went from being an abandoned stray dog in Ireland to a therapy dog visiting patients in psychiatric hospitals in England, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. November 2017. A Dog’s Life. Kayla: the Scottish Sheepdog trained to follow her nose and sniff out otters, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. October 2017. A Dog’s Life. Beebee: the King Charles Spaniel with debilitating health issues helping to raise awareness about canine health, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. September 2017. Otters in Focus, BBC Wildlife Magazine.
  • Allen, D. September 2017. A Dog’s Life. Django: the Tosa Mastiff rescued from the South Korean dog meat trade, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. August 2017. A Dog’s Life. Rupert: the over excitable chocolate Labrador who became a part of my family, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. July 2017. A Dog’s Life. Harley: the rescued Staffordshire Bull Terrier giving the breed the good name they deserve, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. June 2017. A Dog’s Life. Foosa: the three-legged Soi Dog rescue, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. May 2017. A Dog’s Life. Simba: the top model Leonberger, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. April 2017. A Dog’s Life. Koda: the lost hunting hound that needed a loving new home, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. March 2017. Separating fact from fiction: otters and anglers, BBC Wildlife Magazine.
  • Allen, D. March 15 2017. Fox-hunting row: playing politics with animal welfare, The Conversation.
  • Allen, D. March 2017. A Dog’s Life. Wisp: the most patient of patients in canine first-aid training, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. March 12 2017. What Does The Zoo Mean To You? Huffington Post.
  • Allen, D. February 2017. A Dog’s Life. PJ Egan: the Romanian rescue named after an animal advocate, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. January 2017. A Dog’s Life. Jack: the assistance dog who helps with physical chores and brings emotional support, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. December 2016. A Dog’s Life. Lyra: experiences of breed-specific legislation, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. November 2016. A Dog’s Life. Mugly: from world’s ugliest dog to most heroic hound, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. January 2016. Quoth the Raven, The Field, pp. 81-84.
  • Allen, D. December 2015. Stoats and Weasels: The Wild Wooders, The Field, pp. 95-98.
  • Allen, D. December 2015. How do otters cope in winter? BBC Wildlife Magazine.
  • Allen, D. May 2015. Best Friends Forever, National Geographic Kids.
  • Allen, D. February 2015. The World's Deadliest Snakes, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 58-59.
  • Allen, D. January-February 2015. Animal Instincts: The demand for animal-assisted therapy and such like is increasing – but caution is needed when choosing a provider, Mental Health Today, p. 21.
  • Allen, D. September-October 2014. Animal instincts: Animals can have a positive impact on mental health, as the example of Tracey Doolan and her dog, Jack, demonstrates, Mental Health Today, p. 22.
  • Allen, D. June-July 2014. Pet Nation. Meeting Asian Small-Clawed Otters, Small Furry Pets, pp. 10-13.
  • Allen, D. May-June 2014. Animal instincts, Mental Health Today.
  • Allen, D. February-March 2014. Pet Nation. Meeting Sugar Gliders in Sheffield, Small Furry Pets, pp. 40-42.
  • Allen, D. December 2013. On the Slime Trail. Slugs and Snails, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 44-47.
  • Allen, D. December 2013. The Forgotten Pet: Rabbits, Pet Gazette, pp. 20-21.
  • Allen, D. November 2013. Where's Mum? Puppy Farming, Pet Gazette, pp. 20-21.
  • Allen, D. October-November 2013. Hedgehog Heroes. Protectors of our Prickly Garden Guests, Small Furry Pets, pp. 38-41.
  • Allen, D. August-September 2013. Pet Nation. Rabbit Jumping, Small Furry Pets, pp. 10-11.
  • Allen, D. October 2013. The Naked Truth: Skinny Pigs, Pet Gazette, pp. 34-35.
  • Allen, D. August-September 2013. Pet Nation. Meeting Rescue Ferrets, Small Furry Pets, pp. 32-35.
  • Allen, D. August 2013. Otterly Charming, The Field, pp. 118-121.
  • Allen, D. July-August 2013. Animal Magic: the therapeutic benefits of animals to people with mental ill health is increasingly being recognised and becoming a more common part of services, Mental Health Today, pp. 12-13.
  • Allen, D. June-July 2013. Pet Nation. Lesser Hedgehog Tenrecs’, Small Furry Pets, pp. 32-34.
  • Allen, D. June-July 2013. Pet Nation. Introducing Melanie Raccoon, Small Furry Pets, pp. 6-10.
  • Allen, D. May 12 2013. From Spongebobs to bullet ants... nature’s unnatural wonders, Daily Express.
  • Allen, D. April-May 2013. Squirrels in Britain, Small Furry Pets, pp. 39-41.
  • Allen, D. April 2013. RSPCA: Animal rights or animal welfare? The Field, pp. 78-81.
  • Allen, D. April 2013. Snakewatching and other reptilian observations with Desmond Morris, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 8-12.
  • Allen, D. March 2013. Tarantula Talk, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 14-18.
  • Allen, D. February 2013. Going Wild and Staying Safe, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 42-44.
  • Allen, D. Autumn 2012. Pet Nation. Meeting the Skinny Pigs, Small Furry Pets, pp. 40-42
  • Allen, D. Summer 2012. Pet Nation. Meeting a House Skunk in Hampshire, Small Furry Pets, pp. 42-44.
  • Allen, D. October 2012. Pet Therapy with Reptiles, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 8-10.
  • Allen, D. Spring 2012. Otters of the World, Small Furry Pets, pp. 50-53.
  • Allen, D. Winter 2011. Countrycall. An Otter Delight, Evergreen, pp. 22-25.

Conferences and talks



  • Dog Desk Radio Podcast. December 2020. Invited Guest: ‘Interview about dog theft and the Pet Theft Reform campaign’.
  • All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG). Webinar: Reframing Discussion on Dog Health and Welfare – What’s Needed for Progress? December 2020. Invited Speaker: Pet Theft Reform’.
  • Predation Action Group (PAG), Predation Conference. Invited Speaker: ‘Perceptions on Otter Predation’. March 2020. Event cancelled due to COVID-19.

RGS-IBS, Invited speaker to public event about British Landscapes. Café-Style Discussion: ‘Human-Animal Relations and Conservation in Britain’. March 2020. Event cancelled due to COVID-19. 


  • 4th Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching Conference: Practice and Knowledge Production, Keele University. April 2019. Paper: Animals and society: Embedding experiences of animal campaigning into interdisciplinary teaching and learning.
  • All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG), Houses of Parliament, Westminster. March 2019. Invited Expert: Pet Theft Reform. Joint Paper: Spatialities of Dog Theft: A Critical Perspective. (with Adam Peacock and Jamie Arathoon) 


  • Criminal & Environmental Forensics, The Geological Society, London. December 2018. Joint Paper: Wildlife Crime: Use of Geoscience Surveys and Geophysics to Assist Badger Sett Investigations. (with Kris Wisniewski, Jamie Pringle and Gary Wilson)
  • Evidence to Action: Research to Address Illegal Wildlife Trade, London Zoo. October 2018. Invited Panellist: 'The welfare of the wildlife: is there a place for non-human animal welfare concerns in the IWT?'
  • RGS-IBG Conference, Cardiff University. August 2018. Session: Beyond mere signifiers: centring animals in the (re)production of rural landscapes (2) - Beyond the farming environment. Joint Paper: Otter predation and the reproduction of rural landscape: conflict or consensus in the English countryside? (with Simon Pemberton)
  • Animal Geography Research Workshop, The Hemsley, University Park, University of Nottingham. July 2018. Invited Session Chair.
  • Celebrating Research Impact Conference, Keele University. June 2018. Paper: Policy, Practice and Public Understandings of Animal Welfare.


  • Environment and Society Seminar Series, University of York. February 2017. Talk: Changing Policy, Practice and Public Understandings of the Protected Otter in England.
  • Environment Department, University of York. February 2017. Guest Lecture: Animal Geographies.


  • Keele University’s Sustainability Research Network, October 2016.
    Joint Paper: Using Historical Hunting Records to Map the Presence of Otters in South East England (with Alex Nobajas).
  • RGS-IBG Conference, London. September 2016. Session Chair: Historical Geographies of Conservation. Paper: "Spare the Spear!": Restyling the otter through hunting landscapes, 1844-1884.
  • RGS-IBG Conference, London. September 2016. Session: Data, GIS, and Technology. Joint Paper: Mapping the Archive: Using Historical Hunting Records to Map the Presence of Otters in England (with Alex Nobajas).
  • Environment Department, University of York. February 2016.  Guest Lecture: Animal Geographies.


  • Keele University’s Sustainability Research Network. October 2015. Paper: Animal Life, Death and Human Identity: An Otter Obsession.
  • Open Air Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark. May 2015. Talk: A Cornucopia of Facts, Anecdotes, Folklore and Literature from the Natural World.


  • Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. July 2013. Session Co-Organiser: ‘When Species Meet’: Animal Experience, Human Emotion (with Bettina van Hoven).


  • RGS-IBG Conference, Edinburgh University. July 2012. Session Organiser: Wanted, Dead or Alive: Critical Geographies of Human-Animal Encounters. Paper: Killing Animals for Sport: Geographies of the Hunted Otter.


  • Wild Things: Nature and the Social Imagination, Environmental History Conference, St Antony’s College, Oxford. September 2011. Paper: The curious case of the otter in Britain.
  • RGS-IBG Conference, London. September 2011. Session Organiser: Animal Geography. Status: Endangered? Paper: Animal Geography. Status: Endangered? Paper: Speaking for Animals in the Age of Television.
  • RGS-IBG Conference, London. September 2011. Session: Me myself and the archive: reflecting on encounters and enchantments. Joint Paper: In pursuit of Duncombe-Jewell (with Carl Phillips, Charles Watkins and David Matless).

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