Assent and the Possibility of Interspecies Justice (co-speaker Rich Healey UCL)

Activity: Public engagement and outreachPublic speaking engagements


ABSTRACT: We have argued that animals sometimes have rights to self-determination: rights that their will be recognised as normatively authoritative within certain domains of action. We further argued that an animal assents to an activity or interaction when they wilfully affirm it. When this is so, their assent can enable permissible interactions consistent with their rights to self-determination. It was our (ambitious) contention that this account of assent “makes the project of interspecies justice possible” and “paves the way for the realisation of just interspecies relations.” In this talk, we examine and problematize the transformative potential of our account. We will argue that though assent can make some interpersonal human-nonhuman interactions permissible, it cannot legitimise the general practice of keeping animals as companions or the use of animal labour to satisfy human ends.

Estimated audience numbers (if applicable)

Period17 Sep 2021
Event titleEuropean Animal Rights Law Conference 2021
Event typeConference
LocationCambridge, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Animal Agency
  • Interspecies Justice
  • Assent
  • Consent
  • Dissent
  • Animal Labour
  • Companion Animals