Droits Politiques des Animaux Non-Humains | Discussions avec Sue Donaldson et Will Kymlicka | 03.04.17

Le GRÉEA est heureux de recevoir Sue Donaldson et Will Kymlicka (Queen’s University, A.P.P.L.E) pour deux discussions sur leurs articles (non publiés) :

« Animal Citizens and the Democratic Challenge » (Sue Donaldson)


  « Human Rights without Human Supremacism » (Will Kymlicka)

Date : Lundi 3 avril 2017, de 14h à 17h
Lieu : Salle C-2059, Carrefour des arts et des sciences, Pavillon Lionel-Groulx, 3150, rue Jean-Brillant, Montréal (Québec)  H3T 1N8

Les discussions se dérouleront en anglais et dureront 1h30 environ chacune, incluant une courte pause entre les deux. Il est possible d’assister aux deux discussions ou à une discussion seulement dans la limite des places disponibles.

Réservation préalable et lecture des textes fortement conseillées. Les textes seront transmis une semaine avant la rencontre.

Contact: greea@umontreal.ca


« Animal Citizens and the Democratic Challenge » (Sue Donaldson)

“Nobody—from the most fervent animal liberationist to the most unrepentant carnivore” believes that animals are “fitted by nature to enjoy civil and political rights”. Thus spoke Brian Barry 16 years ago, and until very recently the idea that animal rights might include political rights, such as the right to vote, has been viewed as a reductio ad absurdum of animal rights theory. Even many theorists of the recent ‘political turn’ in animal rights theory, such as Alastair Cochrane or Rob Garner, who emphasize the need for animals’ interests to be considered in political decision-making processes, deny that this requires self-governance or self-representation and participation by animals themselves. In this paper I argue that if human-animal societies are to be truly democratic, animals must actively co-author the rules of society. But how can animals participate in politics if they can’t mark a ballot? I explore two strategies for overcoming the democratic deficit. The first incorporates mechanisms of political participation into the “spaces and places” that domesticated animals currently inhabit in society – namely domestic and work spheres. I refer to this as “enabling voice” within the existing geography of citizenship. While essential, I argue that this strategy is insufficient, and that surmounting these limits requires a fundamental reshaping of the landscape of citizenship. Genuine political participation requires that citizens have the freedom and opportunity to encounter one another in spontaneous, unpredictable encounters in spaces which they are empowered to re-shape together. I argue that this requires a drastic reduction in the confinement of domesticated animals, and a dramatic increase in the size of the public commons. A combination of enabling voice and transforming space is essential to a democratic zoopolis.

Human Rights without Human Supremacism (Will Kymlicka)

Several recent theories of human rights have appealed to the idea that human rights can be grounded on some account of human dignity. Critics of these `dignitarian’ accounts argue that the idea of human dignity is vague to the point of emptiness, and lacks any determinate content. In fact, however, recent discussions of human dignity all make one very specific claim: namely, that humans must not be treated in the same way we treat animals. Whatever else human dignity requires, it requires that we give humans a much higher status than we give animals. In this respect, dignitarian defenses of human rights follow in a long line of other supremacist accounts of human rights, all of which are as concerned to argue that animals do not deserve rights as they are to argue that humans do deserve rights. I will suggest that the human rights project will be much stronger, both philosophically and politically, if it jettisons such supremacist defenses. There is growing evidence that the more people draw a sharp species hierarchy between humans and animals, the more they draw hierarchies amongst humans, weakening the rights of subaltern groups. Defending human rights on the backs of animals is not only philosophically suspect, but politically self-defeating.