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When Animals SpeakToward an Interspecies Democracy$
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Eva Meijer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479859351

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479859351.001.0001

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Animal Democracy and the Challenges of Political Participation

Animal Democracy and the Challenges of Political Participation

(p.202) 8 Animal Democracy and the Challenges of Political Participation
When Animals Speak

Eva Meijer

NYU Press

Chapter 8 turns the focus from activism to political participation. Non-human animal political participation is often either not considered relevant, or not considered at all, by animal rights theorists. This is problematic, because the right to political participation—to co-shaping the rules under which one lives—is not just any right. Non-human animals are individuals with their own perspectives on life and their own idea of the good life, which cannot be reduced to species-specific templates. In this chapter, the author first discusses how and whether non-human animals can co-author the laws under which they live, and she explores the normative justifications for establishing an interspecies democracy. The second section investigates which non-human animals can or should be seen as part of a shared interspecies community with humans. The chapter concludes by exploring ways to improve democratic interaction with other animals, in which the author discusses Sue Donaldson’s proposals for enabling voice and space, and ends with two examples in which humans and other animals interact politically in order to investigate how democratic non-human animal participation can be improved: material deliberation with seagulls, and human-macaque greeting rituals as new forms of political interaction.

Keywords:   animal democracy, interspecies democracy, political participation, political voice

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