The Emergence of a Transjudicial Animal Rights Discourse and Its Potential for International Animal Rights Protection
In recent years, the topic of animal rights has found its way from the periphery to the center of scholarly, judicial, political, and societal enquiry. In an increasing number of jurisdictions, references to animal rights are now being made by the courts. In some cases it can be seen in bold and sweeping judicial declarations that animals have rights, and at other times in more timid judicial acknowledgments that animals should have such rights. This article looks at the way the discourse has gained traction in a bottom-up manner, identifying the common elements in the domestic recognition of animal rights throughout different jurisdictions. It identifies the various justifications for animal rights, the necessity (or lack thereof) of personhood for animal rights, the interconnections between animal rights and nature, and those between human and animal rights, as the most important themes that stand central in this emerging discourse. Finally, it discusses the potential of this transjudicial animal rights discourse to contribute to the protection of animal rights at the international level.