In a new paper to be published in the series Animal Law Fundamentals organized by the U.S.-based Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy, University of Toronto Faculty of Law Professor Angela Fernandez asks, “Should animals still be considered property?”

Even if the answer is yes in some respects, she says the legal status for nonhuman animals should also include some aspects of personhood, given the fact that animals have some rights.

“Most animal law scholars say, no, they can't just be ordinary chattel property – but maybe there's a different kind of property status they could have that could be more inclusive of rights. The position I take is that they already do have some rights. It’s quite minimal and very inadequate, but that shows that we don't just view them as pure property.”