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

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

24 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2010 Last revised: 21 Jul 2010

See all articles by Wendy A. Adams

Wendy A. Adams

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 29, 2010

Abstract

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Adams, Wendy Ann, 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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1632624

Wendy Ann Adams (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada

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