Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Law, Ethics & Animals Program (LEAP) at Yale Law School announced earlier this year its line-up for the Animal Legal Theory Speaker Series.

Faculty of Law Professor Angela Fernandez, with a cross-appointment to U of T's Department of History, gave an invited talk on March 9, 2022. Professor Fernandez is the author of Pierson v. Post, the Hunt for the Fox: Law and Professionalization in American Legal Culture and sits on the Board of Advisors and is a Director of Animal Justice Canada.

The Quasi-Property, Quasi-Person Approach to Animals in the Legal System

Animals are legal property, but their advocates have spent years pursuing a reclassification as legal persons. This program continues to face challenges: arguments for legal personhood in common-law systems can sound like arguments for actual personhood, and the strategy can go haywire when it is exported from common-law jurisdictions to civil-law jurisdictions. Moreover, victory for this theory would likely give legal personhood to certain intelligent mammals, like chimps, but reinforce the property status of other animals who nevertheless suffer and differ considerably from property like sofas or laptops. What is needed is an alternative to the person-property binary. LEAP is excited to welcome Angela Fernandez for a talk on her quasi-person, quasi-property approach to these questions, moderated by Saylor Soinski ’23.

Watch her lecture on YouTube: