In Animals as Legal Beings, Maneesha Deckha critically examines how Canadian law and, by extension, other legal orders around the world, participate in the social construction of the human-animal divide and the abject rendering of animals as property. Through a rigorous but cogent analysis, Deckha calls for replacing the exploitative property classification for animals with a new transformative legal status or subjectivity called "beingness."
In developing a new legal subjectivity for animals, one oriented toward respecting animals for who they are rather than their proximity to idealized versions of humanness, Animals as Legal Beings seeks to bring critical animal theorizations and animal law closer together. Throughout, Deckha draws upon the feminist animal care tradition, as well as feminist theories of embodiment and relationality, postcolonial theory, and critical animal studies. Her argument is critical of the liberal legal view of animals and directed at a legal subjectivity for animals attentive to their embodied vulnerability, and desirous of an animal-friendly cultural shift in the core foundations of anthropocentric legal systems.
Theoretically informed yet accessibly presented, Animals as Legal Beings makes a significant contribution to an array of interdisciplinary debates and is an innovative and astute argument for a meaningful more-than-human turn in law and policy.
About the author
Maneesha Deckha (BA, McGill; LLB, Toronto; LLM, Columbia) is associate professor of law at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include critical animal law, post-colonial feminist theory, health law, and bioethics. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the McGill Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, Hypatia, the Medical Law Review, and Sexualities. She has received grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In 2006, her seminar on Animals, Culture and the Law received the US Humane Society’s Animal and Society New Course Award. In 2008, she held the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Law and Society at New York University. She is currently completing a book on feminism, post-colonialism, and animal law.