Animal rights lawyers claim that the precedent for expanding personhood beyond human beings was established when the United States legally recognized corporations as “artificial persons.” But that is sophistry. These juridical entities may not be human beings, but they are human associations, and thus corporate personhood is still about us. Even though the left derided Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for stating that “corporations are people,” he was actually far more right than his detractors.We all want to love out mother-but generally not at our own expense.
But forget logic. We live in ideologically antihuman times, and animal personhood furthers that agenda. Indeed, “breaking the species barrier” for personhood would open a new misanthropic chapter in human history, aiming us not only toward granting unwarranted rights to higher mammals—none of which understands the concept or is capable of respecting the rights of other animals or humans—but also to flora and fauna generally.
Again, don’t laugh. “Nature rights” is already the law of Ecuador and Bolivia, and a proposal was made at Durban in November 2011 to include the “rights of nature” in the draft climate change treaty. Not only that, but Pittsburgh and Santa Monica and more than 20 other American municipalities have passed ordinances granting nature a quasi-right to life by recognizing “the rights of people, natural communities, and ecosystems to exist, regenerate, and flourish.” And anyone who believes Mother Nature’s rights are being violated can sue on her behalf.
Saturday, April 07, 2012
On the growing absurdity of nonhuman rights: