A Global Justice Approach to Animal Law and Ethics
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This article is concerned with the emergence of a paradigm of global justice, from its earliest expression by Jeremy Bentham in 1789 through to today, to Peter Singer's well known preference utilitarianism and Martha Nussbaum's less well known capabilities approach, with its emphasis on global justice. By providing a theoretically-determined, practically applicable set of capabilities for realising justice for animals, Nussbaum has made an important contribution to animal ethics, and one which is used in this article to assess the extent to which animal law satisfies the requirements of justice. The increasing momentum towards global justice parallels a complementary momentum towards the emergence of an increasingly "legalised" regulation of animal welfare. Although there is no general, federal animal welfare statute in Australia, the States and Territories have adopted codes of practice for the regulation of many aspects of animal welfare, and there is now a well-established national strategy which endorses consistency in the content and adoption of these codes. At an international level, no coherent animal protection regime has yet been established. However, a number of developments highlight an increasing legalisation of animal welfare protection. These include the regional initiatives of the European Union, the increased interest in animal welfare on the part of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) (including the endorsement of voluntary welfare codes) and the emergence of a campaign for a universal declaration on animal welfare. The central thesis of this article, though, is that these domestic and international regulatory developments fall well-short of realising the requirements for justice which flow from Nussbaum's capabilities approach. In order to contextualise the work of Nussbaum, Part I surveys some familiar ground by briefly tracing the development of the field of animal ethics, taking it up to the present day. Part II explores the capabilities approach of Nussbaum in some detail, elucidating how she extends the approach to include justice for animals. Having established the requirements for justice for animals suggested by the capabilities approach, Part III then assesses the extent to which domestic Australian law, and international law, satisfies these requirements.
Australian Animal Protection Law Journal
Copyright 2011 Australian Animal Protection Law Journal. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
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