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Abstract

In the 2011, Chief Justice Fraser of the Alberta Court of Appeal raised an interesting question in her dissenting judgment in Reece v Edmonton (City): Should elephants have standing? Drawing on the ideas in her dissent and the Alberta’s Animal Protection Act on which the decision is based, I argue that granting animals standing is a pragmatic solution to overcoming the limitations and obstacles behind enforcing animal protection laws. This is demonstrated by exploring both the practicality and feasibility of granting standing to animals. On the point of practicality, I explain why this solution is preferable over other possibilities, such as granting public interest standing to interested parties. On the point of feasibility, I consider how legal tools (such as guardianship ad litem) may be applicable to this situation. I conclude that granting animals standing will remove barriers to enforcing animal welfare laws. This paper demonstrates that the judiciary already has at its disposal the legal tools necessary to accommodate standing for animals; judges need only make use of them.