This Article presents a new paradigm, premised on the equal protection principle, for the legal regulation of human interactions with domestic animals: Equal Protection of Animals (EPA). EPA combines the insights of vulnerability theorists with the equal protection principle and capability theory to create a mechanism for recognizing the equal claims of human and nonhuman animals to protections against suffering. Under such an approach, domestic animals—like humans—have claims to food, hydration, shelter, bodily integrity (including avoiding pain), companionship, and the ability to exercise and to engage in natural behaviors of movement. Existing animal welfare and anti-cruelty laws, despite their stated purposes, fail to protect animals adequately. This Article identifies the ontology of the problem as interest-convergence, famously described by Derrick Bell in the desegregation context.
Full Title Name: Animals as Vulnerable Subjects: Beyond Interest-Convergence, Hierarchy, and Property