A bridge “Maybe” too far: Granting legal personality to animals?
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CitationBasoglu, B., & Kapanci, K.B. (8-9 October 2021). A Bridge “Maybe” Too Far: Granting Legal Personality to Animals?. International Conference on Animal Dignity and the Law, University of Antwerp. Antwerp - Belgium. (online)
Turkish legal system, like all other legal systems is developed by persons and thus, the >main distinction is made between persons and objects (persona and res). According to thistraditional distinction, animals which are not humans but being “other” species in our World,have mostly been considered as objects and thus subject to personal property. In these personorientedlegal systems, including the Turkish one, even the rules relating to animals essentiallyaims to protect the owner of the animals, but not the animals themselves.However, today this paradigm is slowly challenged as “right to life” (to some extent) isgranted to animals under many legal systems (for instance under the Turkish Law on Protectionof Animals dated 24 June 2004). Nevertheless, the boundaries of this right are the interests ofthe people. Unfortunately, the concepts of animal dignity and right to life do not provide enoughprotection to animals. But what could be the solution to better protect the animals? Grantinglegal personality to the animals? Perhaps it is a bridge too far…Throughout the history, personality have been granted to different objects if it isbeneficial and feasible to do so. Accordingly, this paper firstly aims to evaluate whether it isbeneficial and feasible to grant legal personality -partially or as a whole- to the animals. Underthis first sub-title we will discuss as well whether granting to each and every animal a separatepersonality or a sole conceptual one to the entire nature including the animals. Secondly ourwork further targets to reconsider the traditional distinction of persons and things to provide amore specific legal status for animals. Perhaps such a reconsideration could enable us to solveanother controversial issue of our contemporary world: that is the legal status of “strong”artificial intelligence. Moreover, our discussions will comprise the analyse of the legal statusof the “ancient roman law’s slave”, considered as an object though a human being, benefitingfrom different types of legal protection at different levels, at different times. Across the saidcomparisons, at the end, we would like to reach a robust conclusion.