March 1, 2021

Wildlife as Property Owners: A New Conception of Animal Rights

Humankind coexists with every other living thing. People drink the same  water, breathe the same air, and share the same land as other animals.  Yet, property law reflects a general assumption that only people can own  land. The effects of this presumption are disastrous for wildlife and  humans alike.  The alarm  bells ringing about biodiversity loss are growing louder, and the  possibility of mass extinction is real. Anthropocentric property is a  key driver of biodiversity loss, a silent killer of species worldwide.  But as law and sustainability scholar Karen Bradshaw shows, if excluding  animals from a legal right to own land is causing their destruction,  extending the legal right to own property to wildlife may prove its  salvation. Wildlife as Property Owners advocates for folding  animals into our existing system of property law, giving them the  opportunity to own land just as humans do—to the betterment of all. 

Speaker Biography  

Karen Bradshaw is a Professor of Law and the Mary Sigler Fellow at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. She is concurrently a Faculty Affiliate Scholar at the New York University School of Law Classical Liberal Institute and Senior Sustainability Scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.  

Commentator/Moderator Biography

Holly Doremus is the James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation at the University of California, Berkeley, Co-Director of the Law of the Sea Institute, and Co-Faculty Director of the UC Berkeley Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity. Before joining the Berkeley Law faculty in 2008, she taught for 13 years at the University of California, Davis, School of Law. Professor Doremus is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has been elected to the American Law Institute. She has served on three National Academy of Sciences expert review committees, as well as a number of other advisory committees and boards.  She holds a B.S. in biology from Trinity College (Hartford, CT), Ph.D. in plant physiology from Cornell University, and J.D. from UC Berkeley. Her scholarship focuses on biodiversity protection, the intersection between property rights and environmental regulation, and the interrelationship of environmental law and science.

More information can be found here