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Nonhuman Animals as Property Holders: An Exploration of the Lockean Labour-Mixing Account

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Recent proposals in political philosophy concerning nonhuman animals as property-holders - by John Hadley and Steve Cooke - have focused on the interests that nonhuman animals have in access to and use of their territories. The possibility that such rights might be grounded on the basis of a Lockean (that is, labour-mixing) account of property has been rejected. In this paper, I explore four criticisms of Lockean property rights for nonhuman animals - concerning self-ownership, initiative, exertion and the sufficiency of protection offered - concluding that Lockean property rights could be extended to nonhuman animals. I then suggest that Lockean property rights actually offer advantages over interest-based accounts: they more clearly ground property, they are potentially broader, and they are considerably stronger.

Keywords: Animal ethics; John Locke; animal rights; labour; property

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2021) of 1.831. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.192.
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