Research Seminar in Sociology of Law with Maneesha Deckha
The Sociology of Law Department arranges a series of research seminars inviting local and international social scientists to present state-of-the-art research within various areas of law and society.
Animalization and Dehumanization Concerns: Another Psychological Barrier to Animal Law Reform
Legal systems across the world classify animals as property. There is growing global momentum asking courts in anthropocentric legal systems to revisit this position through test-case litigation. This has resulted in a few discrete victories for animals, but not much more due to legal conservatism and general human exceptionalism. This article argues that a further psychological block for judges can arise from concerns about exacerbating racism and other intra-human prejudices given histories and legacies of animalizing and dehumanizing certain human groups. The talk will analyze how concern about anti-racism shaped the 2022 decision by the New York Court of Appeals to authorize the ongoing captivity of Happy, an elephant at the Bronx Zoo. The talk will further discuss why the dissociation of humans from animals is counterproductive to eliminating racism and other intra-human prejudices and inequities.
The abstract is a shortened version of the paper that is open-access here: https://phair.psychopen.eu/index.php/phair/article/view/10147.
Maneesha Deckha is a Professor and the Lansdowne Chair of the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria. Professor Deckha’s research interests include animal legal studies and critical animal studies, feminist animal care theory and feminist analysis of law, socio-legal studies in general, and reproductive and end-of-life ethics.