March 13, 2023

Carceral Logics and Animal Law

Victoria, BC, Canada

The animal protection movement has been surprisingly comfortable with a ‘tough on crime’ approach to animal maltreatment. As a society, we have complicated and conflicting views about both animals and criminal punishment. We generally recognize incarceration as ineffectual and racialized. Yet for the causes we feel sympathetic towards, we might treat incarceration as permissible, even desirable. Likewise, we love animals in the abstract, but tend to avoid changing our own social behaviours or norms even if it could contribute to dramatically less animal suffering. These paradoxes make animal law a powerful case study in progressive carceralism, and provide an opportunity to examine the way that incarceration contributes or hinders social change efforts. In this talk, the animal law focus on carcerality is described, critiqued, and empirically studied.


Justin Marceau is a professor at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law where he holds the Brooks Institute Faculty Scholar Chair. His areas of expertise include criminal law, constitutional law, and animal law. He has published more than 50 academic articles and is an author of two US casebooks, one on the death penalty and one on habeas corpus. He is the author of Beyond Cages (2019 Cambridge), and the co-editor with Lori Gruen of Carceral Logics (2022 Cambridge). He is currently working on a third book for Cambridge University Press, titled Empirical Animal Law