Cyndi's Two Cents

Animals should not have the same rights as humans

Commentary.

Animal rights or animal welfare? That is often the question being asked.

One group makes no bones about it. It’s about animal rights for The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP). Founded in 1996 by attorney Steven M. Wise, NhRP works to “secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals through litigation, advocacy, and education.”

According to the group’s website, it works to change the legal status “of at least some nonhuman animals from mere ‘things’, which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to ‘persons’, who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them.”

In a nutshell, this group considers that their clients (referred to by NhRP as plaintiffs) have many of the same rights as humans. NhRP says their current plaintiffs, which include great apes, elephants, dolphins and whales have been scientifically proven to be autonomous.

I guess that all depends upon your definition of autonomous. In my worldview, an autonomous being is either a human being or an entity (like a country) comprised of human beings. I do not believe that any animal should have the same rights as human beings. Most humans have the capability to contemplate their actions and character. Animals do not.

I am a proponent of animal welfare. We practice it on our farm. My husband and I have a deep-rooted passion for raising livestock that began when we were children. We share a commitment to raising cattle and poultry while maintaining the solid ethical standards with which we were raised. Practicing animal welfare was from the very beginning an integral part of our philosophy. It was and is an inherent part of who we are.

We have a cat that is a very important part of our lives. I will cry alligator tears when my cat dies. He’s been a daily presence in our lives for more than 15 years. But I have known since we adopted him from a pet shelter exactly how much we would spend on vet bills if he got sick or hurt. That number has gone higher over the years as our fondness for him has grown, but we still have a number. He’s not a person.

The Nonhuman Rights Project recently filed a petition for a common law writ of habeas corpus in Connecticut Superior Court on behalf of three elephants at a zoo in Conneticut. The aforementioned “writ” is a court order to a person or agency holding someone in custody to deliver the imprisoned individual to the court issuing the order and to show a valid reason for that person’s detention

The suit demands that the court, in accordance with state common law and scientific evidence of elephants’ autonomy, recognize the elephants as legal persons with the fundamental right to bodily liberty. NhRP wants the court to move the elephants to a natural habitat sanctuary.

If these elephants have the same rights as human beings, should it be up to someone other than the elephants to determine where to place them?

It’s a slippery slope, friends. I certainly don’t wish to see any animal mistreated, but I don’t believe that any animal has the same rights as any human being.

  • honestly I think that you are seriously wrong. I believe that animals should be protected in every way.
    Besides, how cares about your cat? (if it’s dead I’m so sorry for your loss) when you look up animal rights you expect to see informative stuff, just saying

    • I agree animals should be protected but the people should have rights and not animals. people should know how to respect animals

      • Often rights must be made into law because people do not know or care to respect them. Animal welfare has improved due to laws.

  • I agree, animals should not be mistreated in any way but they should not have animal rights either. Animals don’t understand fully what’s right and wrong they only use instincts. Of course, animals have done good deeds but they have also attacked humans . If they had rights then it’d be extremely dangerous for humans to roam around without being attacked. I love animals but they should not be treated as humans because they aren’t. Since they’re not human, they should also be protected and treated kindly because we should appreciate the fact we have them.

    • Animals suffer in captivity and experience pain just like all living beings. The humans who have awareness that you cite should legislate in their defense.

  • Animals don’t attack unless provoked to do otherwise. Also, if people are in their “hunting” area, they are the ones completely at fault for being injured. Animals are not malicious and don’t attack for no reason. People mainly get injured by animals because people get too close to their territory, don’t respect their personal space, ignore the warning signs of an attack or egg it on in some kind of way. Also, if they get rights its not like theyll magically start walking around the cities with us, they will be returned to natural habitats or have natural habitats made for them. Therefore if someone is attacked it’s solely their fault.

    • You obviously live in a city if you think animals do not attack unprovoked. Also humans are not meant to live just in cities. We have every right to live in wild or country areas. I carry a gun and any animal that attacks me is getting shot, but if they leave me alone I will leave them alone. Have a nice day.

      • I’ve lived in the city and the country, animals do not just attack someone for no reason. They hunt for survival if a human gets attacked it’s because the animal is either hungry, protecting family or protecting their home. If a stranger walks into your home or near your children at a store wouldn’t you be on guard and question why they are near you and your family? It’s the same for animals. Yes they make decisions based off of instinct but it’s a hunt, protect and survive instinct. Have a nice day.

      • You do have every right to be in the city and country, but so do animals. And if you can’t just shoot a person for attacking you in every case, you can’t just shoot an animal. Just FYI. Nor should you. But you literally just contradicted yourself. They leave you alone you leave them alone. Makes sense right. They don’t attack unprovoked, city or country. There is always a reason. And most cases a human is always involved.

    • You are right. Dogs are being used as weapons, a human faces animal cruelty charges for putting down an animal after being mauled by that animal. No laws in the state protected that man. But laws exist to punish that man for animal cruelty. This is absurd. Also I believe that if the dog owner is not responsible enough to own certain types of aggressive animals, should not be allowed.

    • Incorrect, animals attack often without provocation. Dogs are being taught that it’s ok to attack. And the owners face zero legal action, unless someone dies. If a person is to irresponsible to keep a vicious dog retrained, then he should not be allowed to have that dog. I love my dogs. But if one viciously attacked a human being. Without provocation, it will be put down, right now dogs can brutally attack someone, if you put it down, you face charges. Insane

      • Animals do not attack unprovaked. There is ALWAYS a reason, you did not respect their personal space. You are near them babies or home. Invaded their space, didnt not pay attention to the signs, provoked it yourself. Etc. Animals do not attack for no reason, city or country. Dogs are not being taught anything about attacking. Humans are being taught they can react however they want to an animal and it is okay but an animal can’t do the same when it is the human doing the wrong. And you shouldn’t be able to put down an animal just because it attacks. Like i said what did the human do, why did the dog do it? You can’t just put down an animal even if you want to and if you do you should face charges. If you can’t put down a human for doing such, why do you think an animal is less valuable and should be allowed for that to happen. Insane. You do not get to play god because an action mistake or not was made. If you try to you should be charged. People like you should not own dogs. Give your dogs to someone who values their life more. You clearly have a god complex. Narcissistic.

  • OMG PERIOD like I truly agree with this statement and people are really saying that a living creature should not have right like no stop being ignorant because at the end of the day you are a guest in there home that WE destroyed and WE also kicked them out of THERE OWN HOME so if you are going to type behind a screen and come at me sideways dm me (@JOEGARCIA)and we can exchange words because you have NO right to say who deserves rights and who dose not AND THAT IS ON NOT BEING AN IGNORANT PERSON!!

  • its funny how you said you will ‘cry alligator tears’ for your cat when s/he dies. Although it seems like a mistake since you don’t know its meaning, I think it is really apt- given your contention on animal rights.

  • That is so true if you really cared for your cat and loved he/she, you would dread to even think about them dying. Really caring for your cat that much isn’t thinking about how much you would spend on them. I also have a cat and I love her a lot. When she’s sick I don’t think about how much it would cost to get her treated, I would just want her treated as soon as possible.

  • thank you for your opinions and i respect your opinion and I hope the rest of the comments don’t hurt you but I also feel animals don’t have rights as humans but the have to be provoked to attack or ya know they might just attack for no reason we don’t understand animals enough to say but your information really helped me on a school project I hope you have a good day or night 🙂 thank you

  • As you said, ” Most humans have the capability to contemplate their actions and character,” isn’t that a little counterintuitive? Humans with disabilities are still human beings and deserve what is deemed as “human rights.” I’m not saying animals deserve the “human rights” we have – as some humans are used for exploitation like many animals are – but they still deserve more than what they are given.

  • animals wont attack unless desease, sickness or being provoked and i live in the country if they attack its a dog that was breed to do that and people need to remember that it was the animals home first and we can live in the country. but if the animal wanted to it could kill you with your gun or without your gun. if someone was randomly on your property you would attack them, this is why people that live in city hate us, they just know dumb people from the country.

  • we took their home kidnap them for are personel games and then we force them to make children and then take their children and when they get old we eat them and thats ok to you! and people take their skin to WEAR! take those animal HOMES HOW IS THAT OK WITH PEOPLE! fbfhg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • A little hysterical, huh? Not that you’re wrong, but you’re not entirely right either. Yes, we eat them, but, hey, would you rather the human race go extinct? It’s a matter of survival really. Would you prefer it if the human race just left planet Earth altogether? Yes, it was their home first, and we owe animals a lot, but it’s our home now. We can learn to share the land with the animals, but we’re not going to be pushed off of what we’ve made our home. We take their children, but the animal (if it’s domesticated) won’t react very miserably to that. Taking the kids of a wild animal is a different matter. And yes, we keep pets- but that’s not cruel. Now you’re just being crazy. There are people who really care for their pets- and vice versa. I am 100% against animal cruelty, but not 100% on board with the whole “animal rights” thing. And yes, sometimes we use animals to develop vaccines. Should we use a human instead? A human who can die? A human who has much more complex feelings than most animals? A human who loves and wants and lives and breathes? I’m not going to put it lightly- a human is more important than an animal. Deal with it.

      • We don’t just eat them. We force them to have babies, take the babies at birth so humans can drink milk meant for their offspring, and restrict the baby’s movement so they suffer and then slaughter them for veal

  • I completely disagree. You seem to think that an organism deserves full legal rights only if it is what we would consider a human, because humans are somehow apart from all other organisms because of our superior ability for reasoning and understanding the world around us. However, severely disabled people and young children are granted human rights, but I think we can agree this is not because of their capacity for intelligence. Many studies have proven that various animals such as crows, pigs, elephants, and even dogs will demonstrate higher levels of intelligence and comprehension than some humans who are disabled or are still very young. Why, then, if some humans are mentally inferior to animals, do we consider them to be deserving of rights? It is likely because of our acknowledgment that they have similar experiences to ourselves; that is that they can feel pain, and experience emotions like happiness, love, fear, stress, and loss. But these experiences that we might generally agree qualify a human to be deserving of rights are not remotely unique to our species. Almost all types of mammals have been proven to demonstrate all of these feelings, and current science suggests that any animal with a nervous system (basically anything that can move on its own) is capable of suffering from pain when it is sick or physically injured. As we further examine the similarities between our experiences and those of the creatures we share this world with, we are beginning to understand that many of them have a conscious experience of life very much like our own, minus the extremely high intelligence that most but not all humans are capable of. I will leave you to decide whether we should consider the individual experiences of a being when determining if they deserve personhood, or if we should arbitrarily say that all humans are above other creatures (a view very similar to and associated with other outdated sentiments like that men are above women, that one skin color or ethnic group is above the others, or that disabled people should be killed for being worthless to society). However, in my opinion, we should determine who deserves rights based upon a common basis for all organisms, either based on their capacity for reasoning (which would exclude severely disabled people and babies and include elephants and parrots) or based on their capacity for suffering and joy (which would indiscriminately include all animals with sophisticated brains and nervous systems).

  • We are apex predators. In nature, no other apex predator considers what the prey is feeling. Why should we? Practically all other animals are, ecologically speaking, potential prey to us – so, in my opinion, our consideration of them should only extend to a) maintaining the function of ecosystems, because we can and it is beneficial, b) not inflicting suffering for its own sake, because that serves no function and is not typically befitting of an apex predator, c) making sure we can continue to extract whatever products we can get from them as efficiently as possible, and d) minimizing opportunities for zoonotic transfer of diseases.

    Ergo, I think we should maintain the mindset of apex predators (because that’s what we are) except where deviating therefrom is beneficial to society or the world at large.

    Seriously, we’re holding ourselves to an absolutely ridiculous standard here. We are competing for survival with other species in the Earth’s ecosystems – and despite the fact that we have been massively successful in doing so in the last few thousand years, it’s still a competition.

    • Hey mr. Apex predator, let’s see you go head to head with any predatory animal in the ecosystem the same weight as you WITHOUT any weapons then come on here and talk about animal rights. You’re not a predator, you’re a human being, with common sense to wake up and see that all living creatures deserve life without constant fear of someone walking into THEIR house and shooting, stabbing, or trapping them because they’re a slab of meat. Unbelievable that it’s 2022 and we still have people justifying this, take it elsewhere bud

  • I agree that animals should deserve more rights but to be honest I don’t think thats going to happen in a while. Lots of people still believe that black people should have less rights. (It is getting lower). But if people don’t respect people then it’s going to be much harder for people to respect animals.

  • Animals do not deserve the same rights as humans. With rights there are responsibilities. Furthermore, what authority will make sure that every animals gets their rights? There should be a separate thing called animals rights that will protect animals from unjustified harm caused by humans, ie: torturing animals, having them caged up for no reason etc. But to say the animals deserves the exact same rights as humans is nonsensical.

    • I agree, to put an animal down because it followed it s instincts to protect, defend, or survive is wrong. We are putting human laws on non human creatures.
      In nature there are no rights, just the survival of the fittest, the law of the jungle. If roles were reversed, if the “jungle” would treat me like any other animal. The jungle has no mercy on weak and disabled animals. Most Humans have that capacity. That’s one of the things that sets us apart from non humans. The ability to be merciful.

  • In the “jungle there are no rights, only survival of the fittest. Weak and disabled animals usually don’t survive. If I were in the jungle, and I were weak, they would 9. Times out of ten show no mercy to me. Mercy is one of the distinguishing ccharacteristics of humans that sets me apart from non humans.

  • Look, I’m sorry you don’t consider you cat to be a friend, but my dog is a friend to me, and not just a pet. Animals are more intelligent than we give them credit for, and should be made legal persons. This also applies to places like rivers and the Amazon rain forest. Recently, New Zealand made the Whanganui River a legal person, and Columbia made its portion of the Amazon rain forest a legal person as well. The implication being made here is that you treat nature as you’d want to be treated, or be prepared to be charged as though they’d committed a crime against a human being. I’m not talking about giving them voting rights, but unless we enforce stricter legal protections, nothing’s going to get better.

  • Animals have no sense of right or wrong, and little ability to rationalize, therefore they shouldn’t have the same protection rights that humans have. This doesn’t mean that animals should be abused, but hunting is fine.

  • Who thinks like that? That is a normal human being. You have a number for you cat on health expense? That is sad and pathetic. Let me tell you i will do whatever i have to no matter the cost to save my animals until the vet tells me otherwise. You wouldn’t cut your human kids or family off at a number and just say well its getting to expensive to keep you alive or save you or healthy so oh well. Trash humans think like that. Animals deserve the same love and care as a human child. You go hard for them. There is always a way. If you wouldn’t let your kids die you don’t let your animals just because you met a number. That is such a terrible and pos thing to say. Animals should have the same rights as humans as far as protection. If someone is trying to human my animal, im going to shoot that person all the same to protect my animal as i would to protect a human. As it should be. Animal are not less than us, their lives do not matter less. Who are we to same their lives are less valuable to be able to live and be protected as a humans. Anyone who thinks otherwise on that is an abusive pos with a superiority issue on life and values. Not someone with good character and morals. And people like that do not deserve animals in their life because those animals are settling and being short changed what they could be getting out of life with someone grown and pure of heart.

  • I kinda feel like the human race (or atleast those in developed society) is devolving after reading most of these comments. There is a painful amount of willful ignorance from people who like inventing standards that they wouldn’t actually follow if it cost them anything. People who live relatively comfortable lives. I commend the author of this article but there is no point in trying to reason or logic with unreasonable people.

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