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date: 23 April 2024

Animal Personhood in Sustainability Educationlocked

Animal Personhood in Sustainability Educationlocked

  • Helen KopninaHelen KopninaNorthumbria University

Summary

Animal personhood research comes from different theoretical directions: animal rights, animal welfare, compassionate conservation, animal rights law, and many related disciplines. The term “personhood” is taken to lie in three main characteristics, including the capacity to act intentionally, the capacity to experience feelings, and the possession of moral worth. This division is complementary to three approaches: the perfectionist approach, the humanistic approach, and the interactive approach, with the third approach being the strongest. The basic idea is that personhood can be linked to legal rights based on recognition of intrinsic rights based on sentience or other characteristics of a living being, including personality. The move toward recognizing animal personhood in education promises to signify a return to a nonanthropocentric ethic that characterizes both the most transformative forms of education for environmental sustainability and the type of education that stresses responsibility and compassion toward all living beings. This type of education, at both the school and university levels, supports both ecocentrism and animal ethics and supports the rights to life of all living beings on Earth—including, to state the obvious, humans. Many initiatives supporting developing education for animal personhood have emerged within the literature on (sustainability) education and practice. This literature emphasizes multiple forms of education, ranging from education for sustainability, education related to ethics (anything that fits under the broad banner of sustainability, from human rights to social justice and indeed animal welfare), for example, including posthumanist education, action research, education for sustainable development, curriculum development, pedagogical studies that specifically engage with animal rights, and animal welfare education. More specifically, Animal Protection Education provides students and teachers with the information they need to understand and discuss the concept of granting legal personhood to animals.

Subjects

  • Alternative and Non-formal Education 
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • Education and Society

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