This book exists at the intersection of two complementary and conflicting perspectives, law and biology. From the vantage point of both disciplines, Juris Zoology provides a comprehensive and realistic framework to objectively assess the role and significance of animals in American civil and criminal law. Contrasting the views of animal rights activists, Duckler examines animals in terms of their prehistory, history, biology, social utility, economic effect, and aesthetic value. Focusing on animal captivity, control, use, and value, Duckler refutes the proposal of granting animal's legal rights. The book offers a new and controversial voice to the national conversation on the propriety of animal rights, and would be of interest to lawyers, economists, sociologists, as well as scholars and professionals in animal-related fields.
Geordie Duckler JD, PhD, is practicing attorney and the owner of The Animal Law Practice in Portland, Oregon.
Chapter 1: Tools for Inquiry
Chapter 2: The Past as Prologue and Precedent
Chapter 3: Defining Animals by Relationships and Use
Chapter 4: Property, Ownership, and Control
Chapter 5: The Economics of Animals as Objects
Chapter 6: Animals in Zoos
Chapter 7: Problems with Animal Intent
Chapter 8: The Case Against Animal Rights
Conclusion: “Past Regrets and Future Fears”
Dr. Duckler has produced a remarkable, if not downright stunning, synthesis using not only law and science, but also literature, history, and philosophy to define our relationships to the realm of non-human animals in a way that transcends all previous books on the subject. Juris Zoology is beautifully written, indeed eloquent, in its exploration of our interactions with non-human species. Dr. Duckler’s narrative approach, analogous to paleontological methods, focusing on evidence, and skillfully referenced, sets a precedent for other scholars who might try such a synthesis with other complex and emotion-laced subjects.
On a more practical level, Juris Zoology should be required reading for any individual appointed to some university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, given that IACUCs can be capricious and political, in many cases directing the very nature of teaching and research, sometimes in very negative ways. Dr. Duckler’s chapter on animals in zoos is especially powerful in its demonstration of how we impose our own character on non-human species. Such imposition, he argues, is derived in part from our increasing social distance from wild animals during the past several thousand years. A quote from that chapter comes close to summarizing the book’s overall message: “Both scientists and lawyers therefore question how we can be so like them yet not like them at all, with the former turning to analogue and the latter turning to morality on the paths toward their respective answers.”
Juris Zoology will be widely read by all who have any interest whatsoever in non-human species. The book will be welcomed and recommended by some of these readers, but will cause consternation in others, the latter because of strongly-held beliefs and attitudes that Dr. Duckler’s scholarship dismantles. His chapter on animal rights displays that scholarship and serves as a model for how scholars can, and should, approach subjects with such heavy emotional baggage.