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Emotional support animals are not like prosthetics: a response to Sara Kolmes
  1. Jessica du Toit1,
  2. David Benatar2
  1. 1 Philosophy, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Philosophy, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Jessica du Toit, Philosophy, Western University, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada; jess.dutoit{at}


Sara Kolmes has argued that the human ‘handlers’ of emotional support animals (ESAs) should have the sorts of body-like rights to those animals that people with prosthetics have to their prosthetics. In support of this conclusion, she argues that ESAs both function and feel like prosthetics, and that the disanalogies between ESAs and prosthetics are irrelevant to whether humans can have body-like rights to their ESAs. In response, we argue that Ms Kolmes has failed to show that ESAs are body-like in the ways that paradigmatic prostheses are and that, even if they were, these similarities would be outweighed by a crucial dissimilarity that she underestimates.

  • disability
  • philosophical ethics
  • applied and professional ethics

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  • Contributors JdT and DB contributed equally to this paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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