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Human Subjects and Animal Objects: Animals as 'Other' in Law

Wendy A. Adams

McGill University - Faculty of Law

June 29, 2010

Journal of Animal Law and Ethics, Vol. 3, pp. 29-51, May 2009

This Article addresses a fundamental distinction in law between “us” and “them” – between human beings as law‘s subjects and animals as law‘s objects. The objective is to explore to what degree the legal classification of animals as property consigns animals to the status of “other” in law, as well as the validity of this classification process. It has been argued that the paucity of legal protection accorded to animals is a result of their classification as property rather than as legal persons. But human beings do not treat animals harshly because they are classified as property; animals are classified as property so that human beings can legally treat them harshly. Law offers these sentient creatures little protection from the force of human desires.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: animal law, animal welfare, animal rights, property

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Date posted: July 1, 2010 ; Last revised: July 21, 2010

Suggested Citation

Adams, Wendy A., Human Subjects and Animal Objects: Animals as 'Other' in Law (June 29, 2010). Journal of Animal Law and Ethics, Vol. 3, pp. 29-51, May 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1632624

Contact Information

Wendy Ann Adams (Contact Author)
McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )
3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
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