Animals and the Trade Practices Act: The Return of the Descartes Ghost

Australian Animal Protection Law Journal, Vol. 2, pp. 26-64, 2009

13 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2012

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

French philosopher Rene Descartes thought animals were little more than inanimate objects without the capacity to think or feel pain. At the time, Descartes was influenced by the prevailing mechanistic conception of the natural world in which phenomena could be explained in simple mechanical terms.

This article examines the way in which the Trade Practices Act has been utilized by various litigants when the interests of those litigants have involved animals. It suggests that the dominating philosophical influence of the Act is grounded in Cartesian principles, thus making no differentiation in principle or application between animals and other inanimate objects as economic goods.

Suggested Citation

Bruce, Ven. Alex, Animals and the Trade Practices Act: The Return of the Descartes Ghost (2009). Australian Animal Protection Law Journal, Vol. 2, pp. 26-64, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2122100

Ven. Alex Bruce (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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