Animals in the Law and Humanities

Contact Professor Angela Fernandez (angela.fernandez@utoronto.ca) if you are interested in reading the academic paper in advance of the talk.



Jessica Eisen

Monday February 13 (to be confirmed)
4:00-5:00 pm EST


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Meeting ID: 953 9935 7077
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Matthew Liebman
“Animal Plaintiffs”

Tuesday March 13
4:00-5:00 EST


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Meeting ID: 964 4177 4370
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+1 613 209 3054 Canada
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Meeting ID: 964 4177 4370
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Past talks:

Monday January 16

Eva Bernett Kempers: "From ‘thing’ to ‘family member’: the changing status of companion animals in continental law"

Abstract: In continental law, companion animals are traditionally regarded as property. However, due to the growing number of legal protections and provisions that limit the rights of owners, their status can no longer be considered as equal to other property. This chapter sheds light on the changing status of companion animals in continental law. The main argument is that the development of companion animals’ legal status takes the shape of a gradual transition, consisting of a growing differentiation from other property. It suggests that the development of companion animals’ status takes place through four stages, that may partly overlap: (i) dereification; (ii) consideration; (iii) victimization and compensation; and (iv) representation. Eventually, the further evolution of their status may culminate in the recognition of companion animals as family members, leading to a redefinition of the legal concept of “family” as “multispecies family.”

Eva Bernett Kempers is a Ph.D. candidate at the Animal Law Chair of the University of Antwerp. She has a background in anthropology, green criminology, and environmental law, and combines interdisciplinary insights in her work. Her current research focuses on the changing position of animals in continental law. Eva has been a visiting researcher at the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law, the Animals Under a Welfarist Regime research group at the University of Helsinki, and the Global Animal Law project at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany. Besides her Ph.D. she is working as a member of the Harrison Collection (which pursues strategic litigation for production animals), at Bird Protection Belgium, and as a Teaching Manager for the Cambridge Centre of Animal Rights Law.