What are so-called non-human rights?
Non-human rights is a term coined by animal welfare activist and lawyer Steven Wise, who has campaigned for three decades to achieve actual legal rights for members of species other than our own. His organization, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), is working “to change the common law 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.”
According toNhRP, nonhuman animals are still considered property in the eyes of the law. Even those animals that we know possess feelings, emotions and higher forms of intelligence—great apes, elephants, dolphins, whales—have no more legal standing than a shoe, a table or a car.
“These are complex animals who have deep emotions, understand each other’s minds, live in complicated societies, transmit culture, use sophisticated communication, solve difficult problems, and even mourn the loss of their loved ones,” reports the group. “Just like humans.”
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