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Animal RightsCurrent Debates and New Directions$
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Cass R. Sunstein and Martha C. Nussbaum

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305104

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305104.001.0001

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Animals as Objects, or Subjects, of Rights

Animals as Objects, or Subjects, of Rights

Chapter:
(p.143) 6 Animals as Objects, or Subjects, of Rights
Source:
Animal Rights
Author(s):

Richard A. Epstein

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305104.003.0007

This chapter focuses on the two conceptions of animals: as objects and as subjects. It examines the historical rules that comprised the law of animals and which set the backdrop for the modern reforms, and explores the moral status of animals and their relationship to women, children, and slaves, under the traditional synthesis of legal rights. The chapter discusses the benefits to animals which arise from the system of human ownership and shows that the historical accounts of animals did not rest on any fundamental misconception as to their capacities, but on the simple but powerful proposition that the survival and advancement of human civilization depended on their domestication and use. It concludes that animals should continue to be treated as property and that a form of speciesism is justified.

Keywords:   animals, law of animals, legal rights, human ownership, human civilization, domestication, use of animals, speciesism

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