Vincent Chapaux
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Interspecies relations in science fiction movies and human international law
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On Earth, interspecies relationships are mainly based on one rule: the fittest species (the human being) has the right to exploit other species at its own discretion. It can hunt, imprison, enslave and kill them. This is at the core of international trade law, which considers non-human animals as mere products destined to fulfil human needs. While dominant, this model of interspecies relationships is not exclusive. Other regimes provide for obligations either to protect certain weaker species from extinction or to foster their general well-being. Currently, however, these models are underrepresented. This chapter aims to understand if and to what extent science fiction movies convey a representation of interspecies relationships similar to the one embodied by current international law. Relying on non-existent models of alterity these movies often question the relations the fittest species should entertain with the weaker one. Based on the study of various mainstream science fiction movies, this chapter concludes that they often offer an alternative vision of interspecies relationships, based on an obligation of coexistence and respect. The chapter provides some insights as to the factors that could explain the difference between the existing legal models of interspecies relationships and the fantasized version offered cinematic productions.

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