Animals and the Trade Practices Act: The Return of the Descartes Ghost
Australian Animal Protection Law Journal, Vol. 2, pp. 26-64, 2009
13 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2012
Date Written: 2009
French philosopher Rene Descartes thought animals were little more than inanimate objects without the capacity to think or feel pain. At the time, Descartes was influenced by the prevailing mechanistic conception of the natural world in which phenomena could be explained in simple mechanical terms.
This article examines the way in which the Trade Practices Act has been utilized by various litigants when the interests of those litigants have involved animals. It suggests that the dominating philosophical influence of the Act is grounded in Cartesian principles, thus making no differentiation in principle or application between animals and other inanimate objects as economic goods.
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