This book is an interdisciplinary study centred on the political and legal position of animals in liberal democracies. With due concern for both animals and the sustainability of liberal democracies, The Open Society and Its Animals seeks to redefine animals' political-legal position in the most successful political model of our time. Advancements in modern science point out that many animals are sentient and that, like humans, they have certain elementary interests. The revised perception of animals as beings with elementary interests raises questions concerning the liberal democratic institutional framework: does a liberal democracy have a responsibility towards the animals on its territory, and if so, what kind? Do animals need legal animal rights and lawyers to represent them in court, and should they also be represented in parliament? And how much change of this kind could a liberal democracy really endure?
Vink addresses these and other pressing questions relating to the political and legal position of animals in this persuasive and authoritative work, compelling us to reconsider the relationship between the open society and the animals in it.
Janneke Vink is Assistant Professor of Jurisprudence at the Open University of the Netherlands. She holds a PhD in Law and has published on political philosophy, philosophy of law, animal law and constitutional theory. She has offered expert advice to the Belgian and Dutch Parliaments on bills relating to animal welfare.
1. Introduction: Sharing the Fruits of the Open Society.- 2. The Interspecies Democratic Theory.- 3. Animals in Liberal Democracies in Theory and Practice.- 4. Enfranchising Animals in Political Institutions.- 5. Enfranchising Animals in Legal Institutions: Constitutional State Objective.- 6. Enfranchising Animals in Legal Institutions: Fundamental Legal Rights.- 7. Conclusion.