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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Moving beyond arbitrariness: the legal personhood and dignity of non-human animals
Author:Bilchitz, DavidISNI
Periodical:South African Journal on Human Rights (ISSN 0258-7203)
Geographic term:South Africa
Bill of Rights
legal status
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/19962126.2009.11865192
Abstract:Unfortunately the unjustifiable attitude of the old South African legal order towards animals has been replicated in the new constitutional dispensation. The author examines the legal personhood and dignity of non-human animals in South Africa by considering two important concepts in the law: the concept of the person and the concept of human dignity. By consistently drawing out the assumptions underlying the existing statutory legal framework governing animals, he concludes that animals may have legal rights and consequently may be recognized as legal persons. He furthermore argues that the notion of dignity can be developed to remove the arbitrary exclusion of non-human animals. He then considers the possibilities for interpreting both the common law and constitutional provisions so as to recognize the dignity and personhood of animals. A key problem is whether South African society is ready to embrace the full implications of this recognition. The author suggests that the 'progressive realization' of animal rights in South Africa offers the possibility of ensuring greater protection for animals through recognizing their dignity and personhood, whilst embracing a gradualist approach towards the full realization of their rights. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]