If Animals are Like Our Children Let Us Treat Them Alike: Creating Tests of an Animal’s Intelligence for Determinations of Legal Personhood

16 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2018

Date Written: December 5, 2018

Abstract

Children and animals are treated much the same under the law. Both are seen as having limited, if any, legal rights. For children there are legal processes that can be used to determine if a minor is mature enough to be considered a legal person for life affecting decision making considerations and emancipation proceedings. Animals, no matter what their intelligence levels, are not allowed an opportunity to be found as legal persons and are denied the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that legal personhood bestows. This article looks at the similarities between the historical treatment of children and animals and argues that animals should have the opportunity to be judged to be sentient beings who have legal personhood rights using tests similar in nature to those that allow children to become emancipated from their parents or be deemed mature minors for the purposes of making medical decisions.

Keywords: animal rights, child rights, ethics

Suggested Citation

McLaughlin, Paul, If Animals are Like Our Children Let Us Treat Them Alike: Creating Tests of an Animal’s Intelligence for Determinations of Legal Personhood (December 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3296506 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3296506

Paul McLaughlin (Contact Author)

FAMU College of Law ( email )

Orlando, FL 32801
United States

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