SG-activity - Animals as Legal Persons: The Law

Should, and could certain animals become legal persons? In this lecture by Janneke Vink we explore the legal ins and outs of the debate on animal legal personhood.

Organisator Studium Generale

di 11 oktober 2016 20:00

Locatie Impulse, gebouwnummer 115
One out of three Americans believe animals should have the same rights as humans, and this number is increasing. At the same time, western political and legal institutions seem particularly unequipped to give nonhumans due consideration. These institutions are founded on the idea of human superiority, and humans are in control of them. Is it possible to improve the legal protection of animals within this ultimately human-centered framework? And how much protection would they need? Would improving the welfare standards suffice or do we need to end their legal status as property too? Would we need to recognize them as legal persons, so that their rights can be protected in court? Can this be done within the existing legal frameworks? And what would all of this mean for our human liberties?

Janneke Vink is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the Jurisprudence Department of the Leiden Law School in the Netherlands. Her dissertation focusses on the political and legal status of nonhuman animals in liberal democracies. More precisely, it explores the possibilities of animal protection in democracy and law. For this purpose, Janneke closely monitors the historical chimpanzee lawsuits of the Nonhuman Rights Project in the USA. Besides a teacher and PhD candidate, Janneke is also a guest lecturer for the Minor Human Evolution in Leiden, editor of the Leiden Law Blog and founding board member of Minding Animals the Netherlands. Janneke co-organizes a conference on animals, politics and law in Leusden on November 12-13, and she will also edit a forthcoming book on this subject.

The Nonhuman Rights Project
In the USA, the Nonhuman Rights Project by Steven Wise put the question of animal legal personhood high on the agenda. It started lawsuits aiming to give chimpanzees the legal status of ‘persons’. Sunday 13 November, 20.00 hrs, Steve Wise will visit Studium Generale Wageningen, and tell us more about the Nonhuman Rights Project. See our next flyer for more info!