Legal scholars have recently questioned the so-called great divide between human and non-human animals. While humans are legal persons who have fundamental legal rights, domesticated animals are objects of property rights. This means that humans can use, sell, and kill animals. For this reason, many legal theorists, who argue that animals are worthy of moral considerability, contend that non-human animals should be granted legal personhood so that they are conferred strong legal protections.
In this context, professor Maneesha Deckha recently published the book Animals as Legal Beings: Contesting Anthropocentric Legal Orders. In it, Deckha argues that the reason why animals do not have strong legal protections is that our legal and political systems are anthropocentric, and that even legal personhood is structurally anthropocentric. This leads Deckha to propose a new legal status for all non-human animals that goes beyond the legal personhood-property divide, namely, legal beingness.
In this interview, we will learn about what motivated professor Deckha to write Animals as Legal Beings, what kind of thinkers influenced her, and the most intricate and ground-breaking insights of the book.
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About the Speaker:
Maneesha Deckha is Professor and Lansdowne Chair in Law at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include animal law, critical theory, health law, bioethics, and reproductive policy. Her interdisciplinary scholarship has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She also held the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Law and Society at New York University. Professor Deckha currently serves as Director of the Animals & Society Research Initiative at the University of Victoria as well as on the Editorial Boards of Politics and Animals and Hypatia. She is an inaugural fellow of the Brooks Animal Studies Academic Network at the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law & Policy and is a graduate of McGill University (BA), the University of Toronto (LLB), and Columbia University (LLM).
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