Animal protection laws have traditionally categorized animals according to the manner in which humans use them. Animals have been categorized as companion animals, animals used in medical testing, animals raised for slaughter, and wildlife, and the protection afforded to animals has been ostensibly commensurate to their use categorization.
This Article focuses on two alternative strategies that provide legal protection for animals without relying on human use as their primary mode of categorization. First, the Article looks at protecting animals as a single category, in particular through the use of constitutional provisions. The Article then looks at a species-based model that seeks to extend some traditional “human rights” to Great Apes.
Ultimately, the Article concludes that the species-based model provides a more effective alternative to the use-based model, since it provides an alternate means of categorization that shifts focus to the needs and capacities of animals. While generalized protection at the constitutional level may be rhetorically effective, it does not offer an alternative form of legal category that would allow for precision in legal rule-making.