Bonavero Discussion Group: Book Discussion - More Equal Than Others: Humans and the Rights of Other Animals

Event date
7 May 2024
Event time
12:35 - 13:45
Oxford week
TT 3
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights - Gilly Leventis Meeting Room

Notes & Changes

This event will be hybrid, taking place in-person in the Gilly Leventis Meeting Room and online via Zoom. Please register here for online attendance.

Unprecedented demands have recently arrived at the doorstep of courts and parliaments the world over: nonhuman animals should receive some of the rights that have so far been reserved to human beings. This development has raised fundamental questions about the nature of legal rights, and who should have them.

More Equal Than Others: Humans and the Rights of Other Animals provides a sustained analysis of the fundamental rights of human and nonhuman animals and explores the issue of whether conferring fundamental legal rights to animals would undermine the equal status and rights of humans.

Raffael N Fasel proposes an unorthodox but practical solution to this issue: the Species Membership Approach (SMA). According to the SMA, legal rights and similar entitlements should be granted to animals based on the species to which they belong, not their individual capacities. By pioneering an approach that focuses on species membership rather than individual capacities, the author demonstrates how fundamental legal rights can be extended to nonhuman animals without threatening the status and equal rights of humans.

More Equal Than Others examines the antithetical nature of the human rights and animal rights conceptions that have so far dominated the debate and demonstrates how a middle ground can be reached between these opposing conceptions. Informed by the forgotten history of animal and human rights in the French Enlightenment, the book radically reimagines the spectrum of fundamental rights conceptions.


Raffael Fasel

Raffael Fasel

Raffael Fasel is Yates Glazebrook Fellow, College Assistant Professor, and Director of Studies in Law at Jesus College, and Affiliated Lecturer at the Cambridge Law Faculty. He specialises in public law, with a particular interest in constitutional theory, human rights law, and animal rights law.

Raffael was previously Fellow in Law at the London School of Economics and he has held visiting positions at Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, the University of Oxford, and NYU Law School. In 2021, he was awarded a £455,000 grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation for his research in constitutional theory, for which he is affiliated with the University of Zurich. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Fribourg with a Bachelor of Law and a Master of Law degree, obtained an MA in Philosophy from University College London, an LLM (with straight Honors) from Yale Law School as a Fulbright scholar, and a PhD in Law from the University of Cambridge, for which he was awarded a Yorke Prize.

He is the author and co-author of three books. His PhD book, More Equal Than Others: Humans and the Rights of Other Animals (forthcoming with Oxford University Press), has been praised as ‘marvellous, a readable and immensely persuasive argument’ (Conor Gearty, LSE) and as ‘required reading’ that is ‘theoretically nuanced and deep, yet ultimately quite practical in its implications’ (Douglas Kysar, Yale Law School). Raffael is also the co-author of Animals and the Constitution: Towards Sentience-based Constitutionalism (forthcoming with Oxford University Press), and Animal Rights Law (Hart Publishing 2023), the first textbook of its kind, which is currently being translated into Spanish and French.

Raffael’s academic work has been published in leading scientific journals such as the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Modern Law Review, and the International Journal of Constitutional Law, and his popular writing has been published in the Times Literary Supplement and other outlets with a wider reach. His work has been covered in various news outlets, including the BBC, The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Irish Times, and The National.

During his doctoral studies, Raffael co-founded the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law and currently serves as its Co-Director. Raffael is also an Associate Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.


Professor Jonathan Herring

I focus on how the law interacts with the important things in life: not money, companies or insurance; but love, friendship and intimacy. In my work I seek to develop ways the law can recognise and value the goods in activities such as carework and sex, while protecting people from the harms that so often result.   I draw particularly on feminist ethic of care and relational theory in developing my thinking.

Family Law I have written a popular textbook in this subject and edited several books on theoretical issues in family law. My recent book, Law Through the Life Course, examines how the law is based on particular udnerstandings of the different stages in life.  Domestic Abuse and Human Rights is a powerful call to understand domestic abuse as breach of human rights.  I have also discussed children’s rights; the law of naming; and the nature of marriage.  I was a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and an editor of the Child and Family Law Quarterly. 

Medical Law I have written a leading textbook on this subject. I am particularly interested in the regulation of pregnancy and childbirth; legal responses to depression; and issues around mental capacity.  I have co-edited with Camilla Pickles books on obstetric violence and intimate examinations during labour.

Criminal Law I have produced two best-selling textbooks on criminal law and have researched the law on sexual offences.

Elder Law I have written a leading monograph on the law’s treatment of older people and edited a collection of essays on issues surrounding dementia.

Care Law My book, Caring and the Law, explores the law’s treatment of caring and how adopting an ethic of care could transform the law. 

Law and Vulnerability  Vulnerable Adults and the Law explores the nature of human vulnerability and its relevance to the law.  In Vulnerability, Childhood and the Law I have explored the law's conception of childhood vulneariblity.  My most recent book, Law and the Relational Self, explores how the law could be reshaped to focus on relationships rather than individual rights.

Professional Legal Ethics My text, Legal Ethics, is a popular textbook on professional ethics for lawyers.

Current projects My current projects include an co-edited collection on the philosophy of disability law; an edited book on the law on "rough sex" (with Hannah Bows); a book on sexual offences with Michelle Madden Dempsey; co-authorering with Imogen Goold a book Debating Autonomy; and a book on suicide prevention.


Professor Freya Baetens

Freya Baetens is Professor of Public International Law at the Faculty of Law, and Director of the International Human Rights Summer School at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. She is also affiliated with the PluriCourts Centre of Excellence (Faculty of Law, Oslo University) and the Europa Institute (Faculty of Law, Leiden University). She has been a visiting professor at the KU Leuven (Belgium), Max Planck Institute for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law (Luxembourg), Université Paris Nanterre (France), National University Singapore (Singapore), Sydney Law School (Australia), Xi’An Jiaotong Law School (China), FHR Lim A Po Institute (Suriname) and the World Trade Institute, Bern University (Switzerland).

As a Member of the Brussels Bar, she regularly acts as counsel or expert in international and European disputes before international tribunals (including inter-State and investor-State arbitration) and courts such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the World Trade Organisation and the European Court of Justice. She is listed on the Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration) and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC). She undertook her doctoral research at the University of Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College), after obtaining LLB and LLM degrees from the University of Ghent (Belgium) and an LLM degree from the University of Columbia (USA). 

Found within

Human Rights Law