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Journal Article

Towards a Theory of Legal Animal Rights: Simple and Fundamental Rights


Stucki,  Saskia
Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Max Planck Society;

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Stucki, S. (2020). Towards a Theory of Legal Animal Rights: Simple and Fundamental Rights. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 40(3), 533-560. doi:10.1093/ojls/gqaa007.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000C-1D38-6
With legal animal rights on the horizon, there is a need for a more systematic theorisation of animal rights as legal rights. This article addresses conceptual, doctrinal and normative issues relating to the nature and foundations of legal animal rights by examining three key questions: can, do and should animals have legal rights? It will show that animals are conceptually possible candidates for rights ascriptions. Moreover, certain ‘animal welfare rights’ could arguably be extracted from existing animal welfare laws, even though these are currently imperfect and weak legal rights at best. Finally, this article introduces the new conceptual vocabulary of simple and fundamental animal rights, in order to distinguish the weak legal rights that animals may be said to have as a matter of positive law from the kind of strong legal rights that animals ought to have as a matter of future law.