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Nicholas Goldberg: Are animals entitled to basic legal rights just like people? - LA Times

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Adult female and infant wild chimpanzees feeding on Ficus sur.
Adult female and infant wild chimpanzees feeding on Ficus sur.
(Image by Wikipedia (, Author: Alain Houle (Harvard University))
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"...I can’t help wondering what it is that makes chimps and elephants entitled to legal protections that are not available to goldfish? Is it 'cognitive complexity' that should make the difference? Or consciousness? The ability to suffer? And if all animals have the right to sue, well, as one Pepperdine professor put it: 'Legal persons can’t be eaten.' I don’t claim to know the answers. But human 'exceptionalism' is simply not a persuasive argument. Why do we believe that just because we can dominate the world around us and mistreat our fellow animals, we should?  For too long, we’ve salved our consciences with tepid animal welfare laws that allow us to feel magnanimous and benevolent — rather than acknowledging our moral obligations and recognizing that the other living creatures with whom we share the planet have rights, too."

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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