International Animal Rights ConferenceInternational Animal Rights Conference

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Friday, 08.09.2023   12:30-13:10  Central European Time (CET)   Room A
A call for political representation of nonhuman animals - from the perspective of political theory
Sara Alli Majid Abad

In the recent political turn, human-animal relationships are examined through the lens of political theory. "How can we represent animals in political institutions?" is one of the crucial questions of this movement. Some might say, don't we already have political representation of animals? No, we don't! Currently, we do not have any established institutional setting that articulates animal interests in a process of formal political deliberation. We will conceptually explore the distinct concepts of animal interests and animal welfare interests.

Nonhuman animals obviously cannot cast a ballot in federal elections. However, political theory has many ideas on how to solve this issue. But how can we ensure that representatives really represent animal interests and do not again reproduce anthropocentric and speciesist ideas? Apart from addressing institutional exclusion, we must also deal with the epistemic exclusion of nonhuman animals from political representation, which political theory has not considered sufficiently. Nonhuman animals have knowledge about themselves, and they communicate this knowledge to us in various ways. We just have to listen! An inquiry into epistemic exclusion will provide incentives for new forms of political representation, especially concerning interspecies deliberation. Why do nonhuman animals need to participate in their own political representation?










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