First of all, we should define what we mean by ‘’nonhuman persons’’, according to the article, a nonhuman person is a type of animal that could never properly express their citizenship or take part in the social contract. Now, we should define what we mean by ‘’rights’’, but according to the article, these rights have to do with protection in relation to abuse, experimentation and trafficking. I completely believe that animals should have the same rights as humans in terms of protection. These animals are living, breathing, feeling, reproducing creatures just like any human, and demeaning their importance just because they don’t speak or don’t take part in the social contract. I feel that the animals are demeaned for being ‘’animals’’ and aren’t treated with respect because they don’t physically or mentally take part in a citizenship, government, social contract or daily social interactions with humans. Abusing them, hurting them and treating them as if they were non-living creatures is absurd. They have their offspring; their homes, families and can feel pain just like anyone else, which is why they shouldn’t be treated differently to than anyone else. What is the point of not giving them rights? They are used for animal testing, experiments, etc. because humans won’t use other humans because they know it would be horrible and tragic., but refuse to open their mind about animals. Overall, I am strongly in favour of giving rights to the nonhuman persons, simply because there is no reason to not give them the rights.
Excellent response. I liked your insistence on clear definitions.
I believe that, after defining nonhumans, as the article did, as beings with cognitive and emotional capacities, we should definitely support the rights for those nonhumans. These animals may not have any participation or give any contribution to society; however, they are able to perceive what is happening around them. Much like there are people in the world that must have their rights even if they cannot give any contribution to society because they are humans, these nonhumans should have the rights for protection since they still have the sense of perception. It is, to me, impossible to understand why this should be a topic of discussion. These animals may not have the same capability to communicate and understand things as humans do, however, it cannot be denied that they are still very able to create emotional connections with other beings and that they can suffer depending on their surroundings. For this reason, it is outrageous that the topic should be discussed; these animals cannot take part in our society, however, they can still have emotions evoked from things such as torture, therefore, there should definitely a law for the rights of protections of those animals. Overall, the right of protection of nonhumans that are self-aware and self-reflective should be, with no doubt, granted.
Although I am in complete acceptance with what is written in the article, I am going o play the part of devil’s advocate here. Overall, it seems unfair to treat any sentient being in a way that would create distress and other emotions of pain and suffering. However, such laws are already in place for most first world countries, yet, there is still continued abuse and mistreatment. Similar to the situation of slavery and women’s rights, it is difficult for a population as a whole to accept that something that they have always believed to be inferior now has to be treated with equal respect. I am sorry, but there is no possible way of getting around this. We currently use organizations like ASPCA to control the limits on animal abuse and mistreatment. However, the ASPCA continues to report that the conditions are not getting better and that there is a continued increase in strays and unwanted animals. Even in the most “civilized” countries we can’t protect the basic needs for sentient creatures? How would the people of third world countries then respond to not only further protection of these creatures, but an increase in rights and social status? The author of the article also uses the examples of children and the disable to make the point that we provide basic rights for these humans, even though they cannot contribute to society. There are many obvious flaws with the use of these examples. The bottom line, is that these creatures have what is called societal potential. We see examples of societal potential near every day. The government, our parents, and political leaders are always talking about how the youth is the future or how important the next generation will be for the future of the world. In this case, even though children are quite incapable at a young age of providing any support to society as a whole, we protect them, with the belief that in the future they will be the ones to make a difference. For most sentient beings other than humans, the effect they have of society or the future of society is quite minimal for our standards. Yes, they make good pets, and keep good company, but in the minds of most humans, having good company or good pets is not the most important thing. If we were to all think logically, the answer would be to preserve all species of organisms to best of our ability, for they are what make the Earth unique. However, we cannot think this way as the majority of the population is too selfishly stuck on their own individual goals and pursuits. It will be impossible to save such sentient nonhuman organisms, especially if we cannot change the way we ourselves feel about them. This is, however, something I believe we should strive for, but it will take much more time than that of Civil rights for African Americans or even Women. In some parts of the world, some types of humans have not even been given full status rights, how can we look away to “less important” figures of society when we cannot save ourselves?
I could not agree more with the article. Watching the each time bloodier news on tv, it is no longer surprising to be faced with atrocities committed against non-human beings- crimes that are rarely punished due to the lack of official rights that defend such individuals. As sentient individuals, animals, too, should be given the right to basic protection. Like the article suggests, “to kill a nonhuman person, for example, should be en par with murdering a human- and with it all the consequences of committing such an act”. To what extent is killing an animal less cruel and more morally acceptable than killing a human being? This polemic issue was, indeed, brought into question last week with the discovery that the mayor of a small town in the state of Para, in Brazil, was financially awarding civilians who would kill dogs. 5 reais was given to each murderer of a male dog and 10 if the animal was a female. When about questioned his motivation in doing so, the mayor justified his massive-scale dog murder as a method of avoiding dogs from contaminating the streets of the city with their physiological necessities. The pictures of thousands of dog corpses reveal the lack of pity and humanity of the man who ordered the massacre. However, because there are no legal rights given to non-human beings in our society, it is nearly impossible to make the mayor take responsibility for his morally unjustifiable action. On the other hand, if we are to establish a code of civil rights for non-human beings, it is also important to define measures that would punish them as much as those who punish humans in case infractions of laws are committed. If the man who kills a lion should pay for his acts, then, the lion, too, should not remain untouched in case the opposite occurs and he’s the one who kills the man. The argument that non- human individuals do not have the capacity of morally comprehending their actions is not enough to suggest that they should not be held responsible for violating a pre-established code of conduct.
I am in complete agreement with what the author is saying and I agree that other species along with humans are to be given irrevocable rights that are defined by nature. However, the only thing I didn't understand is that the article only applied to CERTAIN animals that are defined as "nonhuman" and qualify as "persons". What qualifies an animal as a person? In the past, I thought that the word "person" applied only to humans and was reserved only for that use. However, if animals can be defined as persons, than what animals can and can't be defined as persons. I believe that every animal has a right to be free of "undue confinement, abuse, experimentation, illicit trafficking, and the threat of unnatural death." Why only a CERTAIN group of animals is allowed to have these rights and others are not is simply outrageous. No matter how small, I think each animal has a right to certain principles that should be given out by nature, not defined and redistributed by humans. I think it is due to the egoistic characteristic that is embodied in all humans that causes people to think that animals are somehow of a lesser class. Perhaps it is due to a competition between species. Whatever the cause of the degrading of animals, the recognition of rights is an important first step in reducing the egotism and selfishness of the human race.
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