Beyond the property debate: animal welfare as a public good

Nurse, Angus ORCID logoORCID: (2016) Beyond the property debate: animal welfare as a public good. Contemporary Justice Review, 19 (2) . pp. 174-187. ISSN 1028-2580 [Article] (doi:10.1080/10282580.2016.1169699)


Animal protection is socially constructed through laws specifying which animals should be protected and how. Most jurisdictions codify animal abuse by specifying the legal protections granted to animals. While these vary between jurisdictions, western legal systems generally provide for better levels of animal protection by incorporating animal welfare and wildlife crime laws into criminal justice systems. UK legislation has long held that animal welfare is a public good, thus animals should be protected in the public interest. However, despite the protective provisions of animal protection laws they generally fall short of giving animals actual rights, protection exists only to the extent that animal and human interests coincide. Animals’ legal status as property dictates that much anti-animal abuse and wildlife crime legislation is about allowing animal exploitation commensurate with human interests. However, UK legislation in the form of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 subtly shifts this position in respect of domestic animals by imposing a duty of care towards companion animals. This paper argues that by requiring owners and responsible persons to give active consideration to the needs of individual companion animals, the Animal Welfare Act provides animals with a level of protection that amounts to a form of legal rights.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 23252
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Angus Nurse
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2018 14:21
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2018 10:56

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.