Do animals have legal rights? Recent court cases—from Happy the elephant in the United States to Estrellita the wooly monkey in Ecuador—have put deep questions about the ways in which animals are (not) protected by the law squarely in the public eye. An important new textbook, Animal Rights Law (Hart Publishing 2023), tells readers everything they need to know about the emerging field of animal rights law. Based on a popular course run by the authors at the University of Cambridge, the book takes the reader from the earliest anti-cruelty laws to modern animal welfare laws, to recent attempts to grant basic rights and personhood to animals. To help readers understand this legal evolution, authors Raffael Fasel and Sean Butler explain the ethics, legal theory, and social issues behind animal rights and connected topics such as property, subjecthood, dignity, and human rights. In this talk, moderated by LEAP Student Fellow Thomas Poston, Dr. Fasel and Dr. Butler will discuss their impressive new volume as well as the current state and potential future of this developing legal field.
Raffael Fasel is Yates Glazebrook Fellow and College Lecturer in Law at Jesus College, Cambridge and Affiliated Lecturer at the Cambridge Law Faculty. He was previously Fellow in Law at the London School of Economics and was awarded a four-year research grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation. He obtained a Bachelor and Master of Law degree from the University of Fribourg, an MA in Philosophy from University College London, an LLM from Yale Law School, and a PhD in Law from the University of Cambridge, for which he was awarded the Yorke Prize. He is the author of More Equal Than Others: Humans and the Rights of Other Animals and the co-author of Animals and the Constitution: Towards Sentience-based Constitutionalism (both forthcoming with Oxford University Press). His research has been published or is forthcoming in leading scientific journals such as the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, the International Journal of Constitutional Law, and The American Journal of Jurisprudence, as well as in periodicals with a wider readership such as the Times Literary Supplement.
Dr Sean Butler has been a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge for some twenty years, where he has taught Roman Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Animal Rights Law. He is also an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Cambridge, where he lectures Animal Rights Law. He studied Law at the University of Oxford (St Edmund Hall) and the LSE, London, as well as Genetics at Cambridge, before taking his PhD in social science at Imperial College, London. With Dr Raffael Fasel he co-founded the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law and co-authored the textbook Animal Rights Law (Hart Publishing 2023). He has published books, articles, and book reviews, and is currently co-editing a special issue of the journal Animals on the topic of animal rights law. His primary research interest is animal rights law, which he wants to develop into a widely-taught subject around the world.