Dalhousie Law Journal


animal, law, personhood, rights, labour boards, human rights commission, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, Nova Scotia, legislation


If the state sought to improve law's treatment of nonhuman animals, what form should its intervention take? This paper questions the assumption that the state would have to choose between incremental welfare reforms and an immediate transition to animal personhood. Drawing on Martha Nussbaum's capabilities theory and on Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka's political approach to animal rights, it argues that the focus should be on how the relationship between human and nonhuman animals can be improved. It suggests that the state could intervene by creating an administrative agency with just this task; and that it could look to labour boards and human rights commission for inspiration. The paper draws comparisons with animal protection agencies in countries such as Austria, Switzerland and New Zealand, and argues that an agency with both regulatory and adjudicative functions could be developed out of Nova Scotia's current animal protection legislation.

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Animal Law Commons