Animal Law Review


Kyle Ash

Author Details

Kyle Ash is Legislative Coordinator for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

First Page



The role of humans in mass extinctions necessitates an assessment of the collective human psychology responsible for the degradation of Earth’s life support systems. In this paper, the Author will cite instruments and discourse relevant to international environmental law to illustrate how an antiquated conception of biological hierarchies is condoned whenever other species are mentioned. As reflected in the law, humans do not just believe we are existentially unconnected with the rest of life, but that we have more right to live on the planet. This, ironically, allows us to rationalize activities that destroy the planet, even for ourselves. Nature is biodiversity. Reason and instinct implore reverence for nature. We cannot possibly retain respect and humility for the interdependent ecologic elements allowing for the appearance and continued existence of Homo sapiens when we consider those elements subordinate to us. It is therefore necessary to discuss legal and practical possibilities for maximizing the interests of humanity now and forever by not ignoring and rebuking the interests of all other life. Despite the absent roots in customary international law, recent legal developments and basic principles of law may be the seed for realizing a novel framework for international environmental law based on a principle of interspecies equity.



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