Maneesha Deckha


Lansdowne Chair in Law

Maneesha Deckha

Maneesha Deckha

Tel: 250-721-8175


Faculty of Law
University of Victoria
PO Box 1700, STN CSC
Victoria, BC  V8W 2Y2

Professor Deckha graduated with her BA (Joint Honours in Anthropology and Political Science, minor in Women’s Studies) from McGill University in 1995 and her LLB from the University of Toronto in 1998. She joined the Faculty of Law as an Assistant Professor in 2002, after practising at the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto and completing her LLM at Columbia University. She is currently Professor and Lansdowne Chair at the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria where she also directs the Animals & Society Research Initiative.

Professor Deckha’s research interests include animal legal studies and critical animal studies, feminist animal care theory and feminist analysis of law, socio-legal studies in general, and reproductive and end-of-life ethics. Her manuscript entitled Animals as Legal Beings: Contesting Anthropocentric Legal Orders was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2021. Her current monograph project, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, examines the lack of government regulation in favour of farmed animals as a rule of law violation and thus a matter of constitutional import. She has published in law journals in Canada, the USA, and the UK as well as leading academic journals in other disciplines including American Quarterly, Hypatia, and Sexualities. Professor Deckha has also contributed to numerous anthologies relating to animal law, animal studies, feminism, cultural pluralism and health law and policy. Her scholarship has been featured in non-academic spaces as well such as at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and on CBC Radio 1. She is also the director of the open access documentary, A Deeper Kindness: Animal Law & Youth Activism, available at, an open access documentary discussing the limits and potential of the legal system for nonhuman animals through the activism of youth in the United States and Canada. The documentary is a collaboration with multiple law schools in the United States and Canada and is suitable for middle school, high school, and undergraduate classroom screening.

Professor Deckha is the recipient of grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program. She has delivered over one hundred papers in Canada and abroad and has served as referee for over 70 law review, socio-legal, and feminist journals in Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Professor Deckha has also served as reviewer and on review committees in other capacities for national research grant bodies. She serves on the international advisory boards of Social & Legal Studies, Politics and Animals, and Hypatia, as well as the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law.

She has taught an array of critical theory and public law courses, including Animals, Culture and the Law and Administrative Law. She has been the recipient of the Faculty’s Terry J. Wuester Teaching Award and a University of Victoria Learning and Teaching Centre Grant in support of her interactive pedagogy. Professor Deckha’s seminar on Animals, Culture and the Law received the U.S. Humane Society's Animal and Society New Course Award when it was first offered. She supervises graduate students in the fields of animal legal studies and critical animal studies, health law, reproductive ethics, feminist analysis of law, and postcolonial and critical race theory. She invites prospective graduate students who wish to conduct theory-rich dissertations with high scholarly impact in these areas or at the intersections of socio-legal theory and public law in general to contact her.

Professor Deckha was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and Full Professor in 2016. From 2009 to 2011, she served as the Chair of the University of Victoria’s Academic Women Caucus. In 2017, Professor Deckha co-founded the community-engaged Animals & Society Research Initiative at the University of Victoria. In addition to her appointment at the University of Victoria, she has held the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Law and Society at New York University, and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Hastings Institute for Bioethics. She is currently a Global Affiliated Faculty member, Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, Emory Law School in Atlanta as well as a fellow with the Brooks Animal Studies Academic Network at the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law & Policy.

Personal website

  • BA First Class Joint Honours – McGill (1995)
  • LLB – University of Toronto  (1998)
  • LLM – Columbia Law School (2002)

Access Maneesha's research online from her site or through the Social Science Research Network.

Articles Published in Journals

  • “Something to Celebrate?: De-listing Dairy in Canada’s National Food Guide” (2020) 16.1 Journal of Food, Law, and Policy 11-46. 

  • “Veganism, Dairy, and Decolonization” (2020) 11.2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 44-67.

  •  “Unsettling Anthropocentric Legal Systems: Reconciliation, Indigenous Laws, and Animal Personhood” (2020) 41:1 Journal of Intercultural Studies 77-97.
  • “The Save Movement and Farmed Animal Suffering: The Advocacy Benefits of Bearing Witness as a Template for Law” (2019) Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law 77-110.
  • “Reflections of a Postcolonial Feminist Animal Law Professor” (2019) 25:3 Animal Law Review 415-420.
  • “The “Pig Trial” Decision: The Save Movement, Legal Mischief, and the Legal Invisibilization of Farmed Animal Suffering” (2018) 50:1 Ottawa Law Review 65-98.

Books, Chapters and Monographs

  • “Animal rights without animal personhood?: Implementing feminist legal reform for animals as legal beings” in Erika Cudworth, Ruth E McKie & Di Turgoose, eds, Feminist Animal Studies: Theories, Practices, Politics (Routledge, 2023), 19-34

  • “The One Health Initiative and a Deeper Engagement with Animal Health and Wellbeing: Moving Away From Animal Agriculture” in Irus Braverman, ed, More-than-One Health: Humans, Animals, and the Environment Post-COVID (Routledge, 2023).
  • Documentary, A Deeper Kindness: Animal Law & Youth Activism, available at animal-

  • “Juvenile Smokescreens: Softening the Harm of Zoos, Aquaria, and Prisons through (Human) Children” in Lori Gruen and Justin Marceau, eds, Carceral Logics: Human Incarceration and Animal Captivity (Cambridge University Press, 2022), 238-260.

  • Animals as Legal Beings: Contesting Anthropocentric Legal Orders (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021).

  • “Constitutional Protections for Animals: A Comparative Animal-Centered and Postcolonial Reading” in Chloë Taylor and Kelly Struthers Montford, eds, Anticolonial Perspectives on Animal Studies (Routledge, 2020).
  • “Justice and Nonviolence” in Samantha King et al, eds, Messy Eating: Conversations on Animals as Food (New York: Fordham University Press, 2019), 84-98 (transcription of interview).
  • “Postcolonial” in Lori Gruen, ed, Critical Terms for Animal Studies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 160-174.
  • “Humanizing the Nonhuman: A Legitimate Way for Animals to Escape Juridical Property Status?” in John Sorenson and Atsuko Matsuoka, eds, Critical Animal Studies: Towards a Trans-Species Social Justice (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), 209-233.
  • “Is Multiculturalism Good for Animals?” in Luis Cordeiro Rodrigues and Les Mitchell, eds, Multiculturalism, Race and Animals – Contemporary Moral and Political Debates (London: Palgrave, 2017), 61-93.

Review Essays, Book Reviews, Case Comments, Case Notes

  • Article Review: Maneesha Deckha, Equality’s Animal Problem: Normalizing Domination and Enabling Racism with Locke, JOTWELL (April 21, 2022) (reviewing Jishnu Guha-Majumdar, Lyons and Tygers and Wolves, Oh My! Human Equality and the “Dominion Covenant” in Locke’s Two Treatises, 49 Political Theory 637 (2021)),

  • Article Review: Maneesha Deckha, Legal Human Humility: Contending with the Representation of Trees and Other “Nature” Beings, JOTWELL (April 29, 2021) (reviewing Alyse Bertenthal, Standing Up for Trees: Rethinking Representation in a Multispecies Context, 32 L. & Literature 355 (2020)),
  • Book Review: Anna Feuerstein, The Political Lives of Animals (2021) 63:1 Victorian Studies 135-137.
  • Article Review: Maneesha Deckha, Thickening Rather than Abandoning the Rule of Law: Revisiting What Counts as “Law” through a Controversy about What Should Guide Judges in Awarding Spousal Support, JOTWELL (May 8, 2020) (reviewing Jodi Lazare, The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, Soft Law, and the Procedural Rule of Law 31 Can. J. Women & L. 317 (2019))
  • Book Review: Megan H. Glick, Infrahumanisms: Science, Culture, and the Making of Modern Non/personhood (2019) 9.2/9.3 Somatechnics Journal 401-405.
  • Book Review: Maneesha Deckha, Bearing Witness as Researchers in the Pursuit of Equality, JOTWELL (May 9, 2019) (reviewing Kathryn Gillespie, The Cow with Eartag #1389 (2019)),
  • Film Review: “Dominion and The Ghosts in our Machine” (2019) 9:1 Films for the Feminist Classroom, online:
  • Book Review: Constance Backhouse, Claire L’Heureux-Dubé: A Life (2018) 56:1 Alberta Law Review 263-274 (one of nine co-authors).
  • Article Review: Milk’s Global Rise: A Case Study to Illuminate the Transspecies Violence of Law and Colonialism JOTWELL (April 25, 2018) (reviewing Mathilde Cohen, Animal Colonialism: The Case of Milk, 111 Am. J. Int’l L. Unbound 267 (2017), available at SSRN),

  • Administrative Law
  • Animals, Culture and the Law
  • Bioethics, Personhood and the Law
  • Feminist Legal Theories
  • Health Law
  • Law, Legislation and Policy
  • Legal Process
Prof. Deckha supervises graduate students in the fields of animal legal studies and critical animal studies, health law, reproductive ethics, feminist analysis of law, and postcolonial and critical race theory. She invites prospective graduate students who wish to conduct theory-rich dissertations with high scholarly impact in these areas, or at the intersections of socio-legal theory and public law in general to contact her.