Animal Personhood: A Postanthropocentric Multispecies Legal Subjectivity
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This thesis looks at the human relationship to other animals in the eyes of the law. Many contemporary legal systems categorize nonhuman animals as property, which means that they can be objectified and commodified. The property status has been widely criticized for its inability to provide the most vulnerable among us with protection from human violence and exploitation. Animal law scholars have thoroughly documented the failures of welfarist reform, and call for the recognition of nonhuman animals as legal subjects and rightsholders via legal personhood as a requirement of justice. In this thesis, I turn to Maneesha Deckha’s postcolonial feminist critique of personhood as an exclusionary and anthropocentric legal subjectivity that settler colonial legal systems have inherited. In response, I argue that we should redefine personhood in animal terms for the sake of those who are marginalized and oppressed. I propose “animal personhood” as a human and nonhuman legal subjectivity that is grounded in equality as well as the embodied and relational dimensions of our vulnerability as sentient beings. Animal personhood is meant to legally affirm the moral and political rights of animal persons.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/27493
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