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Animals and the Law examines the unique role that animals play as living property in a legal system conceived by and for human beings. On the one hand, animals are things that we buy, eat, and use in experiments.
On the other, they are beloved family companions. The book traces the history of laws dealing with animals, from the animal trials which began in the thirteenth century in Europe, through the development of anti-cruelty laws, to the present struggle to cope with the conflicting implications of biotechnology and other industrial uses for animals, and, indeed, artificially created living things.
Throughout, the book critically evaluates the present legal status of animals and asks us to consider whether animals should be viewed as objects, as legal subjects, as legal persons, or as something else entirely.