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Judicial Recognition of the Interests of Animals - a New Tort

36 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2005  

David S. Favre

Michigan State University College of Law


This article seeks to explore a simple but profound question: how should our legal system deal with the claims of animals for protection against harms inflicted by humans? Rather than a focus on pain and suffering or the cognitive abilities of animals, this article will use the non-comparative approach based upon an interest analysis. The short answer is that our legal system can and should do what it always has done: balance the interests of competing individuals in a public policy context, always seeking to strike an ethically appropriate balance. The legislative branch of our government presently promotes the consideration of animal interests on this basis. This article examines how the legal system presently balances such interests and how common law judges could expand, in a forthright manner, the consideration of animals' interests. Finally, this article will suggest a more expansive consideration of animals' interests through the adoption of a new tort: intentional interference with a fundamental interest of an animal.

Suggested Citation

Favre, David S., Judicial Recognition of the Interests of Animals - a New Tort. Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2005, pp. 333-367, Summer 2005; MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 03-08 . Available at SSRN:

David S. Favre (Contact Author)

Michigan State University College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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