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March 23, 2019 - CBC News Canada

Animals under the law: What options are there for animals to 'lawyer up'?

Animals under the law: What options are there for animals to 'lawyer up'?

Animals as "non-human persons"

One legal strategy that's gained traction in the United States is to argue that some animals deserve the status of "non-human persons."

Under the eyes of the law, animals that live in our homes or on a farm are 'property.' But there's a growing movement to grant some animals like chimpanzees, elephants and dolphins 'non-human persons' status. Harvard Law School doctoral candidate Jessica Eisen thinks the law could do even better than that.

"We know on some level that animals are not the same thing as a chair or a rock. But for most legal purposes that's their status," says Eisen, who is finishing her dissertation at Harvard University (and is already an assistant professor at the University of Alberta's law school). "My impression is that most people, when they see images of intensive agricultural confinement operations, are made uncomfortable by it. It doesn't feel right."


for the animals