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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Animals as Objects, or Subjects, of Rights

Animals as Objects, or Subjects, of Rights

(p.143) 6 Animals as Objects, or Subjects, of Rights
Animal Rights

Richard A. Epstein

Oxford University Press

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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