Connexion: A Note on Praxis for Animal Advocates

(2017) 40:2 Dalhousie Law Journal 545

34 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2018

See all articles by John Enman-Beech

John Enman-Beech

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 2017


Effective animal advocacy requires human-animal connexion. I apply a relational approach to unfold this insight into a praxis for animal advocates. Connexion grounds the affective relationships that so often motivate animal advocates. More importantly, it enables animal agency, the ability of animals to act and communicate in ways humans can experience and respond to. With connexion in mind, some weaknesses of previous reform efforts become apparent. I join these in the slogan “abolitionism as disconnexion.” In so far as abolitionism draws humans and animals apart, it undermines the movement’s social basis, limits its imaginative resources, and deprives animals of a deeper freedom. I evaluate political theories of animals and find that only some can frame a picture of humans and animals living together in connexion. I close by noting the limitations of the connexion lens—we cannot simply create connexions without also evaluating whether they are oppressive—and some practical policy measures that can be taken today to further the goods of connexion.

Keywords: animal law, relational theory, feminist legal theory, animal rights

Suggested Citation

Enman-Beech, John, Connexion: A Note on Praxis for Animal Advocates (January 2017). (2017) 40:2 Dalhousie Law Journal 545. Available at SSRN:

John Enman-Beech (Contact Author)

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law ( email )


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