Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 07

Animals, Culture and the Law

The struggle for human rights is lengthy and ongoing—but what about non-human rights? Denman Island's Community Vegan Potluck Series is pleased to welcome law professor Maneesha Deckha as this month’s guest speaker on Sunday, October 21st. Everyone interested is invited to attend what promises to be a fascinating exploration of some challenging contemporary issues.

Deckha teaches a University of Victoria law course that examines the gap between how animals and humans are treated by the legal system. “Animals, Culture and the Law,” was recently awarded the distinguished Animals and Society New Course Award from the Center for Respect of Life and Environment, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States. The course explores whether animals should have legal rights, whether the law should recognize some other interests for animals and whether some animals are more equal than others. Deckha draws comparisons between the struggle for rights by other groups, such as women and indigenous people, and the question of legal rights for animals, encouraging discussion on whether animal rights can coexist with human rights.

The assistant law professor’s academic research interests include feminist legal theories, law and culture, bioethics, and the boundaries between property and personhood, especially as they relate to nonhuman animals. Her work has been published in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, the Osgoode Hall Law Journal, the Hastings Women’s Law Journal, the UCLA Women’s Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Gender and Law and the Journal of Animal Law and Ethics.

Deckha is a graduate of McGill University (1995), the University of Toronto (1998), and Columbia University (2002). She joined the University of Victoria Faculty of Law as an assistant professor in 2002 after completing her graduate thesis on gender and cultural equality at Columbia Law School. She is a member of several academic associations and also serves as part of the National Steering Committee for the National Association of Women and the Law.

Deckha is generously making time for her visit to Denman as a member of UVIC’s speaker’s bureau. Admission is by donation (suggested $3), and anyone unable to attend the potluck portion of the evening is welcome to arrive later for the guest speaker’s presentation.

Denman’s monthly vegan-friendly potluck suppers get underway at 6:30 pm, accommodating folks arriving on the 6:00 pm ferry from Buckley Bay. Any 100% plant-based entrĂ©e, salad, dessert or single-item dish (free of eggs, honey, dairy and gelatin, please) that all may share is a suitable contribution. The series also stives to be scent-free, for the comfort of chemicaly sensitive individuals.

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