A Dubious Grail: Seeking Tort Law Expansion and Limited Personhood as Stepping Stones Toward Abolishing Animals' Property Status

52 Pages Posted: 30 May 2009

See all articles by Richard L. Cupp

Richard L. Cupp

Pepperdine University School of Law

Date Written: May 29, 2009

Abstract

Some grails are sought one piece at a time. The holy grail for many animal rights activists is abolishing animals' property status. This is an ambition befitting mythical grail status in its level of difficulty given current societal mores and values. It is too inconsistent with our strongly rooted societal paradigm to afford any hope of realization in the near future. Thus, rather than expecting to capture the grail in the short term, many animal rights legal advocates are seeking more manageable steps that may someday lead to the elimination or modification of property status. This article critiques such efforts, specifically focusing on two potential stepping stones that may be perceived as particularly desirable for animal rights activists: seeking limited personhood for intelligent species of animals, such as chimpanzees; and the possible expansion of tort law to provide animals standing as plaintiffs whose interests are represented by court-appointed humans.

Keywords: animals, animal rights, animal law, animal advocacy, intelligent, primates, chimpanzees, tort, tort law, standing, plaintiff, limited personhood, property, animals as property

Suggested Citation

Cupp, R.L., A Dubious Grail: Seeking Tort Law Expansion and Limited Personhood as Stepping Stones Toward Abolishing Animals' Property Status (May 29, 2009). Southern Methodist University Law Review, Vol. 60, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1411876

R.L. Cupp (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University School of Law ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States
(310) 506-4658 (Phone)

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