Steven M. Wise's Article: Should Animals Deserve Legal Rights?

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Should animals have the same rights as humans? This is an ongoing debate that could end in one of two ways: either animals are granted rights and the lives of animals change to benefit them while humans lives change in a way that could harm them, or animals are denied rights and life goes on just as it has for years and years. In his essay, Why Animals Deserve Legal Rights, Steven M. Wise, a specialist in animal-rights law, strives to persuade his audience to incline towards legal rights for all animals. However, one can ask the question: how can this justifiably be done? Animals cannot have rights because: first, by definition the word ‘right’ means a moral principle unique to humans; second, animals provide not only food sources, but …show more content…
In the prescientific age, animals were perceived to be only useful in providing resources of food, transportation, and experimental testings. Today, scientists have discovered that animals can reason, remember, and even have remarkable minds. For example, Wise talks about apes having the same emotions as humans. Wise can be quoted in his essay stating: “... many of them recognize themselves in the mirror… they understand cause and effect… they compare objects and relationships between other objects… they count” (Wise 196). Here Wise is emphasizing that apes specifically have what it takes to live like humans: they are able to reason through what will happen as an outcome of an action, they have the ability to recognize themselves, like humans, in the mirror, and they are able to remember what an object looks like and tell the difference between that object and another. Wise may be right in saying that apes share some of the same characteristics as humans, but this is an insignificant example to put forth when presenting a topic that deals with all animals in …show more content…
A ‘right’ is a legal entitlement to have and or obtain something and act in a certain way. Humans are the only one’s capable of grasping such a concept and altering their behaviors as to not infringe on another individual’s rights within a moral community. A moral community is defined as a group of individual beings who live in relation to each other and respect each other as moral individuals. Animals don’t behave in a moral manner within a moral community; rather they act selfishly and do not look out for the rights of others, instead looking out for the advantage of themselves. Therefore, since animals together do not display the characteristics of a moral community, they cannot be considered as part of such a unique concept restricted to humans. To give rights to animals who are selfish, foolish, and incapable of meeting the requirements for a moral community ultimately proves to humans that they are not important and are equal to “non-human

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