Lawsuits to Declare Animal “Persons” Coming Soon
“Animal standing,” that is, the drive to allow animals to sue, would be the ultimate weapon allowing animal rights ideologues to destroy animal industries and eventually outlaw all animal domestication. To do that, some believe, at least some animals need to first be declared “persons” by a court–particularly given that whale lack of personhood was the reason stated by the judge that refused to grant them protection under the 13th Amendment in the recent PETA lawsuit against Sea World.
Most people remain somnolent in the face of the threat. Not me. I keep banging the pots. My latest attempt is in the Weekly Standard. From “Animal Desires:”
It has already started. The European Court of Human Rights agreed in 2008 to hear the appeal of an Austrian Supreme Court ruling denying personhood to a chimp. More such cases could soon be filed in the United States. Law professor and animal rights activist Steven Wise was quoted in theNew York Times recently promising to file lawsuits starting in 2013 with the goal of using “the latest science to help persuade state court judges that such creatures as whales and chimpanzees should be accorded common law personhood and rights.”
Wise runs the Nonhuman Rights Project, where, since 2007, he and 50 other activists have busily researched the most likely jurisdictions for a ruling that at least one animal “has the capacity to possess at least one legal right.” It would be easy to roll one’s eyes and dismiss this as simply what radical lawyers do, to little effect. That would be a mistake. “Animal personhood” has become a respected idea in philosophy, the life sciences, the academy generally, and among some within the highly politicized science establishment.
I point out that the idea of animal personhood has caught on among some in philosophy and the life sciences.