Crimes Against Animals

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Criminal provisions governing the treatment of animals collectively embody inconsistencies that reflect deep-seated ambivalence about who counts as the victim of animal cruelty, what constitutes the wrong of such cruelty, and what role punishment ought to play in response to it. In the first part, I shall sketch how animal cruelty laws embody tensions and contradictions that make manifest the criminal law’s need for philosophical clarity. In the second part, I shall argue that one way to bring a modicum of order to animal cruelty provisions is to recognize that their cross-cutting prohibitions and permissions respond to, and perhaps exploit, competing understandings of whether one, some, or all of the five principles of legislation appropriately inform the reach of the criminal law. I shall, accordingly, unpack the significant doctrinal disagreements about when and why we should punish animal abusers by working through the ways in which animal cruelty provisions appear to be responsive to inconsistent views about the very point of the criminal law.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Applied Ethics and the Criminal Law
EditorsLarry Alexander, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-22811-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-22810-1
StatePublished - 2019


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