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After all, the Bible tells us we have dominion over all kinds of things, including the beasts of the earth.Moreover, our economies depend to a large extent on the idea that animals are property; how can they possibly deserve rights?
MIYUN PARK is Executive Director of Global Animal Partnership. De Camp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne.
He is the author of Animal Liberation, among other books.
The Koran, too, encourages Muslims to treat animals with kindness; the Prophet Muhammad is said to have cut off the sleeve of his shirt rather than disturb a cat who was sleeping on it.
The modern animal welfare movement started in the West.
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Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.Well, the answer can be found in an important just-released book called , published by Irwin Law.In a series of 12 absorbing essays, the authors make a strong case for consideration of rights for animals.Pain is pain, irrespective of the species of the being that experiences it.Concern for the welfare of animals is not a new idea.Beginning in the early nineteenth century, first in the United Kingdom and later in other European states and North America, governments passed laws to protect animals from at least some forms of cruelty, such as whippings and beatings, and from being deprived of food and water. The suit was brought by a group called the Nonhuman Rights Project, on behalf of two chimpanzees named Leo and Hercules.But over all, as the authors of an essay on Canada point out, we have a terrible record when it comes to animal welfare --- far behind other countries."It (the government) has actively opposed the development of progressive international norms with respect to certain wild species like whales, seals and polar bears." Each essay makes a strong case for reform.On the other, lawyers for the university say to grant the writ would endow the animals with "personhood", and create a "slippery slope." Until a few years ago, I never paid much attention to how the animals I ate found their way to my table, let alone to the idea that they deserved some kind of rights. She is the extraordinary woman who overcame autism to become the world's leading expert of the ethical treatment of domestic animals. On the face of it, the New York lawsuit seems preposterous.How could an animal's so-called rights be placed on the same plane as those of a human being?