Exploring the Relationship between the Environmental Right in the South African Constitution and Protection for the Interests of Animals

Exploring the Relationship Between the Environmental Right in the South African Constitution and Protection for the Interests of Animals South African Law Journal (2017, Forthcoming)

39 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2017

See all articles by David Bilchitz

David Bilchitz

South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law; University of Johannesburg

Date Written: February 15, 2017

Abstract

This article considers the relationship between the environmental right in the South African Constitution, 1996 and the protection of the interests of animals. The question is addressed through articulating two interpretive approaches to the terms ‘conservation’ and ‘sustainable use’. The ‘aggregative approach’ – which has been the dominant policy approach adopted by the legislature and executive – focuses on broad collective environmental goals such as the long-term survival of a species, the health of ecosystems or conserving biodiversity. The ‘integrative’ approach, on the other hand, – which has recently been referenced with the approval by the Constitutional Court – requires the adoption of an attitude of respect to the individuals that make up a species, an eco-system or the components of biodiversity. The article makes several arguments as to why the integrative approach is preferable and attempts to demonstrate that the aggregative approach is self-defeating in its own terms. The practical implications of the differences between these abstract approaches are illustrated by considering two recent controversies in interpreting environmental legislation. The article thus sets itself the ambitious purpose of connecting two sets of discourses that often talk past one another in developing the interpretation of the environmental right in the South African Constitution.

Keywords: Environmental rights, animal rights, animal welfare, biodiversity, conservation, sustainable use, species, individual

Suggested Citation

Bilchitz, David, Exploring the Relationship between the Environmental Right in the South African Constitution and Protection for the Interests of Animals (February 15, 2017). Exploring the Relationship Between the Environmental Right in the South African Constitution and Protection for the Interests of Animals South African Law Journal (2017, Forthcoming) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2942112 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2942112

David Bilchitz (Contact Author)

South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law ( email )

The Old Fort Constitution Hill
Kotze Street Hillbrow
Johannesburg
South Africa

University of Johannesburg ( email )

PO Box 524
Auckland Park
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2006
South Africa

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