Animal Law Review

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This Article presents a theory of the economic value of companion animal life. Under the existing United States torts regime, the standard damages award available to an owner for an action arising from a companion animal death is its fair market value. This approach implicitly assumes that pet owners are irrational, given that they generally invest more in their pets than the animal’s fair market value. This Article suggests that, based on an economic model that conceptualizes companion animals as an employee-investment hybrid, the value of a companion animal is higher than its fair market value. This model has implications for economic damages calculations in wrongful death lawsuits and for companion animal welfare.

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