Animal law and animal law studies both suffer from shortcomings in their underlying ethics. For the most part, (global) animal law draws from utilitarian welfarism and rights-based approaches to animals. Animal law academics have, thus far, paid little attention to more critical animal ethical studies, although these hold great potential for improving the justness and effectiveness of animal law. This article proposes delineating a ‘second wave of animal ethics’ consisting of a number of critical ethical lenses that are capable of addressing four key shortcomings in ‘first wave animal ethics’. This article draws particularly on feminist, posthumanist and earth jurisprudence studies to draw out four key lessons. First, the need to stop assuming that animals only deserve moral and legal consideration if they are like humans, and instead to accept, celebrate, reward and legally protect difference. Second, the need to stop assuming that moral and legal considerations should extend to animals and no further. Third, the need to stop over-relying on liberal concepts like rights and start engaging with (intersectionally) marginalized communities to theorize viable alternative paradigms that might work better for animals. Fourth, the need to stop assuming that animal ethics need to be the same everywhere. In making this argument, this article intends to inspire further research on ‘second wave animal ethics’ ideas amongst animal law scholars.
The author expresses his sincere thanks to editors Julia Dehm and Anna Grear, guest editors Tom Sparks, Visa Kurki and Saskia Stucki, and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments on this article. The author also thanks Antonio Cardesa-Salzmann, Raj Reddy, Stephanie Switzer, Saskia Vermeylen, and all the members of Saskia's wonderful PhD discussion group for their engagement with earlier versions of this article.
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