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Ownership and Justice for Animals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 November 2009

ALASDAIR COCHRANE*
Affiliation:
London School of Economics and Political ScienceA.D.Cochrane@lse.ac.uk

Abstract

This article argues that it is not necessary to abolish all incidents of animal ownership in order to achieve justice for them. It claims that ownership does not grant owners a right to absolute control of their property. Rather, it argues that ownership is a much more qualified concept, conveying different rights in different contexts. With this understanding of ownership in mind, the article argues that it is possible for humans to own animals and at the same time to treat them justly: to recognize that they possess moral status; to assign them meaningful rights; and to consider their interests equally.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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References

1 See Francione, G. L., Animals, Property, and the Law (Philadelphia, 1995)Google Scholar; Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement (Philadelphia, 1996); Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? (Philadelphia, 2000); and Wise, S. M., Rattling the Cage (London, 2000)Google Scholar. An earlier advocate of this view is Rollin, B. E., Animal Rights and Human Morality, rev. edn. (New York, 1992), pp. 119–26Google Scholar.

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4 See Francione, Introduction to Animal Rights.

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14 Francione, Introduction to Animal Rights, p. 79.

15 The claim that it is possible to separate the monetary and non-monetary values of entities is made by Mack, E., ‘Dominos and the Fear of Commodification’, Markets and Justice, ed. Chapman, J. W. and Pennock, J. R. (New York, 1989)Google Scholar; and Fabre, C., Whose Body is it Anyway? Justice and the Integrity of the Person (Oxford, 2006), pp. 129–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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17 There is legal recognition of this status in the EU thanks to the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997.

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28 On these conceptions of freedom, see Berlin, I., ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’, Political Philosophy, ed. Quinton, A. (Oxford, 1967)Google Scholar; Taylor, C., ‘What's Wrong with Negative Liberty?’, Liberty, ed. Miller, D. (Oxford, 1991)Google Scholar; and Pettit, P., Republicanism (Oxford, 1997)Google Scholar.

29 Cochrane, A., ‘Do Animals Have an Interest in Liberty?’, Political Studies 57 (2009), pp. 660–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

30 This definition of autonomy is advanced in Fabre, C., ‘A Philosophical Argument for a Bill of Rights’, British Journal of Political Science 30 (2000), pp. 7798CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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33 Francione, Introduction to Animal Rights, pp. 8–35.

34 Kant, I., Lectures on Ethics, trans. Infield, L. (New York, 1963), p. 239Google Scholar.

35 I would like to thank Alejandro Chehtman, Andrej Keba, Stephen Whitfield and members of the LSE Forum in Legal and Political Theory for helpful feedback on earlier drafts of this article.