Kimberly K. Smith

in Governing Animals

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199895755
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950522 | DOI:

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This chapter argues that a liberal regime may recognize property rights in animals that are members of the social contract, provided those rights are understood to create a custodial or trustee relationship with the animals. Most traditional theories of property do not adequately address what sorts of things can be owned, so this chapter draws on Elizabeth Anderson’s pluralist-expressivist theory of value to analyze that question. Following Anderson, the chapter argues that animals may be owned if such ownership does not violate their best, most justifiable social meanings. The custodial model, or what David Favre calls “equitable self-ownership,” is consistent with animals’ social meaning. The chapter argues further that the chief danger to animal welfare is not their status as property but their mass production and commodification. However, the liberal state has only limited authority to discourage such commodification.

Keywords: property rights; Elizabeth Anderson; commodification; pluralist-expressivism; David Favre

Chapter.  13358 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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