This presentation, co-sponsored by Harvard's Animal Law & Policy Program, suggests that "ag-gag" laws constitute an unjustifiable limit on the right to freedom of expression as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Recently adopted legislation in two Canadian provinces imposes severe penalties for trespassing on, or gaining entry under false pretenses, private property used for animal agriculture; it also restricts interfering with the transport of farmed animals to slaughter. These laws (dubbed “ag-gag” laws in the United States, where they were first introduced) respond to undercover investigations on farms, the peaceful occupation of farms, and the act of bearing witness to animals headed for slaughter. This presentation suggests that these laws constitute an unjustifiable limit on the right to freedom of expression as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It does so by rejecting the traditional anthropocentric understanding of constitutional rights, according to which Charter protections are limited to the interests of humans and relations between them. Instead, by emphasizing the ethical and political aspects of animal rights advocacy, it places interspecies relations and the ethics of animal rights at the centre of the constitutional protections.
Please register here: https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_d3eJ-CQFS2Wx-L4y2tUSGA
Animals, Capital, and the Law
This webinar is part of a series, which aims to highlight new and creative research in the growing field of animal studies. This series will emphasize how Canadian scholars, jurists, and writers have played a disproportionately influential role in the development of this interdisciplinary subject. Ranging from Sue Donaldson’s and Will Kymlicka’s Zoopolis and Nicole Shukin’s Animal Capital through to Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, Canadians have broadened how we should think about our fraught relationship to other species. Moreover, the Canadian legal system has had to rule on contentious cases related to animal ethics, such as R. v. Krajnc (2017), and will soon have to evaluate Ontario’s new ‘ag-gag’ laws. This series, sponsored by the Canada Program at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Program, will host a monthly online lecture during the spring term. Each 40-minute talk will be followed by a ten minute critique by an invited discussant, to be followed by a Q+A with the audience.
All Webinars will be held during the last Tuesday of each month and run from 12-1:30 p.m. Registration is required for each event.