Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just When You Thought You Heard Everything - Personhood for Animals

Radical equality has reached an unimaginable level. The Institute for Emerging Ethics and Technologies have decided to start an advocacy project intended to raise what we use to call the “higher mammals” (and parrots) to legal personhood, thereby granting them "human" rights equal to our own.

Here is the IEET announcement:

Owing to advances in several fields, including the neurosciences, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the human species no longer can ignore the rights of non-human persons.

A number of non-human animals, including the great apes, cetaceans (i.e. dolphins and whales), elephants, and parrots, exhibit characteristics and tendencies consistent with that of a person—traits like self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, symbolic communication, and many others.

It is a moral and legal imperative that we now extend the protection of ‘human rights’ from our species to all beings with those characteristics.

The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, as a promoter of non-anthropocentric personhood ethics, defends the rights of non-human persons to live in liberty, free from undue confinement, slavery, torture, experimentation, and the threat of unnatural death.

Further, the IEET defends the right of non-human persons to live freely in their natural habitats, and when that’s not possible, to be given the best quality of life and welfare possible in captivity (such as sanctuaries).


  1. This isn't as strange as you make it sound. Certainly sentient creatures have rights--our Judeo/Christian Heritage recognizes this in the directives in Leviticus for humane, ethical and hygenic slaughter. (This is continued in Kosher traditions in Judiaism--I think Catholicism has passed this part of theology over to our detriment).
    I can see where the quote above is biased towards a hightly organized, centralized, perhaps vegan or vegetarian society. That is unrealistic with America's culinary and ecological heritage.
    But one of my favorite authors, Joel Salatin, speaks of respecting the "piggness of the pig, the cowness of the cow" in respect to raising livestock. He is a die-hard conservative. He sees this repect for the dignity of animals as part of the pro-life mentality. His ideas do not stem from a hippie mentality or Eastern Mysticism, but are based on observations of the natural world informed by his strong faith in Christ.

  2. This is true. But your authors still eats his cows and pigs!
    These people want to let the animals die a natural death.