Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions by Cass R. Sunstein, Martha C. Nussbaum

By Cass R. Sunstein, Martha C. Nussbaum

Millions of individuals dwell with cats, canines, and different pets, which they deal with as participants in their households. yet via their day-by-day habit, those that love these pets, and vastly care approximately their welfare, support determine brief and painful lives for hundreds of thousands, even billions of animals that cannoteasily be amazing from canine and cats. this day, the overpowering percent of animals with whom Westerners engage are raised for foodstuff. numerous animals suffer lives of relentless distress and die frequently torturous deaths. using animals by way of people, frequently for vital human reasons, has pressured uncomfortable inquiries to middle level: should still humans switch their habit? may still the legislation advertise animal welfare? should still animals have felony rights? should still animals remain counted as "property"? Whatreforms make sense?...

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125 Moreover, scientists recognize that absolute scientific truth doesn’t exist. Much of what they do is try to gain more certainty. Uncertainty is no less common in law. But judges lack the scientist’s luxury of deferring judgment until the data are more complete. In the face of uncertainty and chance of error, judges must decide and content themselves with deciding on which side they wish to err. In Anglo-American law, a criminal defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless a jury of twelve unanimously finds him guilty of committing the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

I may kidnap you, but I can’t enslave you because human bondage is prohibited under domestic and international law. 72 Rational arguments cannot be made that one must be smart enough to assert an immunity to have one, for by definition immunities don’t need to be asserted. Such immunities as freedom from slavery and torture are the most basic kind of legal rights. 73  C U R R E N T D E B AT E S One Step at a Time for Law I use a “round hole, square peg” theory of legal change. The round hole is our legal system, which treats nonhuman animals as rightless things.

On the other hand, a Category Four animal probably, perhaps clearly, lacks practical autonomy and is not entitled to any liberty rights. A Category Three animal is there precisely because we know so little about her mental abilities we can’t make a rational judgment. 124 How should we assign an autonomy value to an animal about whose mental abilities we know something, but are uncertain? 125 Moreover, scientists recognize that absolute scientific truth doesn’t exist. Much of what they do is try to gain more certainty.

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