The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics will act as an international think tank with its own online course, research initiatives and publications. It's focusing in particular on the relationship between animal abuse and human violence. But, with many conflicting views on such issues as experimentation and organic farming, how effective will the centre be?
Guardian story - The centre's director, the Rev Professor Andrew Linzey, an Anglican priest, writer and University of Oxford theologian, is well known for his opposition to animal testing.
The thinktank, which is to open its own centre in Oxford, opposes violence and illegal acts and distances itself from militant animal rights activists who advocate campaigns of violence and intimidation. One of the first issues of debate on its agenda is "the relationship between animal abuse and violence to human beings".
Prof Linzey said: "We must strive to ensure animal issues are highlighted and rationally discussed throughout society - we cannot change the world for animals without changing our ideas about them.
"The centre will promote ethical attitudes and contribute to informed public debate."