February 3, 2022

Animals as Legal Beings with Maneesha Deckha


The dominant legal systems in America and Canada treat animals as property, a designation that fails to account for their subjectivity, autonomy, and capacity for suffering. But promoting them to legal personhood, some advocates suggest, would create problems of its own because the category is a human-tailored one that requires animals to behave, think, and be in ways that they cannot. Maneesha Deckha, author of Animals as Legal Beings: Contesting Anthropocentric Legal Orders, proposes a solution: grant animals a new legal status, “beingness,” that exists outside of the persons-property dichotomy. In this talk and Q&A, moderated by LEAP Faculty Co-Director Doug Kysar, Professor Deckha will explore her work on beingness and other representations of animals in the legal system.


Maneesha Deckha is the Lansdowne Chair in Law at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, where she directs the Animals and Society Research Initiative. She works at the crossroads of animal, feminist, and postcolonial legal studies.