Would Rosa Parks Wear Fur? Toward a Nondiscrimination Approach to Animal Welfare
Journal of Animal Law & Ethics, Vol. 1, p. 139, 2006
21 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 29, 2009
The Article explores whether a nondiscrimination approach to nonhuman animal welfare may further the protection of nonhuman animals. Of particular relevance to the nonhuman animal context is the nondiscrimination approach to protecting humans with impaired capacities embraced in disability studies and law. The nondiscrimination approach to disabled humans helps one understand what laws equating rights or entitlements with abilities overlook, namely, the value of living life with limited capacities. This perspective is useful in two ways. First, people make external quality of life judgments about what it is like to live life with limited capacities, and these assessments are often made without objective, scientific information. Second, and as a result, these quality of life judgments are typically negative. Able-bodied people often assume that disabled individuals have fewer capacities than they actually possess and that they have a lower quality of life than able-bodied individuals. As with disabled humans, people make unfounded assumptions about the quality of life of nonhuman animals with lower capacities than normally functioning humans.
The Article suggests that a nondiscrimination approach may offer the best means to contemplate nonhuman animal welfare and to address some of the policy problems associated with current approaches. The Article first discusses current approaches, moral and legal, to nonhuman animal welfare. Next, it addresses the nondiscrimination approach to humans with limited capacities and the value of this approach for contemplating the protection of nonhuman animals. Lastly, it provides a sketch of a nondiscrimination approach to nonhuman animal welfare.
Keywords: animal law, disability law, discrimination, quality of life, law & philosophy
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation