IEET’s newest contributor - Steven M. Wise - is a leader in the animal rights movement. His first essay for us explains the importance of legal personhood. The goal of his organization, the - Nonhuman Rights Project - is to change, via legal jurisdictions, the current paradigm.
This reminds me of the “personhood” amendments for a zygote.
Does this mean that we will be able to vote for our dogs and cats?
What about our mice? If I have 10,000 mice, can I cast a vote for all of them?
Can I collect disability, or unemployment for them?
What about if one of my mice accidentally kills a man? Do the police come and try to arrest it?
Does it has the right to a lawyer?
I can understand about wanting to guarantee the right to a good life, free of suffering for animals.
I understand that you attempt to make a distinction between various types of “rights”, and that animals are not “things.” But I fear that this attempt fails.
Animals have no ability to exercise/communicate intentionality in a human society (even though animals obviously have intentionality - we just have a very limited ability to either interpret this or understand it, and often wrongly anthropomorphize these intensions).
This inability means that animals are dependent upon humans to communicate for them.
And just like these people who claim to “interpret” closed-shell Autistics’ “intentions” (but really they are just projecting their own desires unto the Autistic) I fear we would get similar behavior were we to try to legislate rights for animals as “persons.”
I recommend instead that they be recognized as “animals” and that a category of rights be created for all “Animals” (which include humans).