Animal sensitivity. Legal approaches and transdisciplinary issues

This international symposium, hosted by the MRSH, is organised under the auspices of the Normandy Chair for Peace, with support from the Institut Demolombe, from Caen la Mer and the University of Caen Normandy.

This event is organised under the patronage of Jean-Paul Costa, President of the Fondation René Cassin, Honorary Councillor of the French State and former President of the European Court of Human Rights.

 The issue of animal protection has now become political. For the first time in history, eleven animal rights political parties across Europe took part in the 2019 European elections. Europe’s animal rights parties obtained nearly 2 million votes. The French Parti Animaliste, founded in 2016, received more than 2.2% of the votes. This public vote shows that respect for animals is an important issue and that their protection is a matter of interest to the general public. Moreover, under the terms of Article 515.14 in the French civil code, which is somewhat a reflection of French society, has stated since 2015 that “animals are living beings that are sentient”. It must also be noted, however, that “animal” is not defined, nor is the concept of sentience.

Speakers on biology, ethology, philosophy and semiotics will thus have the opportunity to communicate their knowledge on the concept of animal sentience. What animals and what type of sentience does it refer to? Is sentience the same for all animals? Wouldn’t other concepts be more suited to describe the sentience of certain animals?

 An analysis of the consideration given to animal sentience within positive law demonstrates that a categorical approach leads to unequal protection. Indeed, the difficulty lies in the fact that the allocation of categories, and therefore degrees of protection, does not depend on the species of the animal but on its circumstances: animals used in laboratories, animals raised for consumption, animals used in shows, wild animals, etc. A prospective study of the consideration given to animal sentience will provide an opportunity to understand how a global approach would allow for better legal protection of animals. Contributions from jurists from other countries will provide a comparative perspective on these issues.

On the occasion of the World Day for Animals in Laboratories, this symposium, the first of its kind in Normandy, aims to examine the meaning and definition of the notion of animal sentience and to reflect on the implementation of innovative legal mechanisms for better animal protection.

Scientific Director:

Aloïse Quesne, Senior Lecturer in Private Law, Member of the Centre de Recherche Léon Duguit (University of Evry Val d’Essonne), Associate Member of the Institut Demolombe (University of Caen Normandy), Winner of the Law Prize from the Fondation Droit Animal Ethique & Sciences (LFDA) in 2014.

Scientific committee:

  • Pierre-Jérôme Delage,Professor of Private Law, University of Nantes.
  • Cathy Morales-Frenoy, Lawyer, member of the Paris and New-York Bars.
  • Jean-Marc Neumann, Executive Secretary and Coordinator of the Educational Group for Animal Law Studies.


OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Chaire Normandie pour la Paix (July 16, 2020). Animal sensitivity. Legal approaches and transdisciplinary issues. Normandy Chair for Peace. Retrieved July 23, 2024 from

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