John Hadley: Animal Property Rights: A Theory of Habitat Rights for Wild Animals
Upon seeing “animal” and “property” in a work’s title, one’s mind may be drawn to the entrenched debates about nonhuman animals (hereafter, “animals”) as property. This is not the focus of John Hadley’s Animal Property Rights. Instead, Hadley argues that free-living (“wild”) animals have a particular kind of property right in their territory, meaning that their access to and free use of the natural goods in their territory should not be unduly limited by humans. This theory of animal property rights has two central conceptual elements: a system of guardianship and the use of territory to demarcate animal property. The guardianship system requires the appointment of a human who can act on the animals’ behalf, most clearly coming to the fore when animals’ property rights clash with humans’ property rights. For example, if I seek to develop my land, but it is land used by an assortment of animals, I should, Hadley says, be legally obliged to engage in mediation with the animals...
Thanks to Kyle Shuttleworth and an anonymous reviewer for comments and to David Archard and Jeremy Watkins for their continued support. This piece was written while I was undertaking research in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast, financially supported by the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.
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