Thursday January 21, 2016
Should we put animals on trial?
more stories from this episode
- A message for Leonardo DiCaprio: indigenous actors need more than just a shout-out
- Lean beef linked to atheism?: Nutrition-research tool draws skepticism
- No more sick notes
- Should we put animals on trial?
- OPINION: Money from China leaves a stain on Vancouver's green image
- How secret ballots could make Parliament more democratic
- Saskatoon may have a bridge to sell you — in name, at least
- Full Episode
In Canada and around the world, some people want animals recognized under the law as rights-holders.
It's an issue we've discussed on our show before.
But, with rights come responsibilities, and sometimes animals do things we'd consider illegal or immoral.
One implication of giving animals personhood rights, is you'd need some mechanism to determine when an animals rights have been violated. Similarly, you may need a way to determine when an animal has committed a crime.
An animal trial.
While that may sound silly, animals were put on trial, with a defence and a prosecution, in medieval Europe.
James McWilliams is a Professor of History at Texas State University. He's also an author of books about food and animals, including "The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals"
McWilliams has researched animal trials of the past and says, as we start to think about animals as rights-holders, we should consider the concept of animal trials today.
We definitely need to entertain the idea. The closer that we get to affirming a reciprocal relationship with animals, the greater the expectation there will be for us to treat these animals fairly. - James McWilliams, Professor of History, Texas State University
Click the play button above to listen to the entire interview.