Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics

In Germany, Constitutional Rights for…Pigs


The issue is known as “animal standing,” and activists want to let beasts sue in court to “break the species barrier” and create animal personhood, meaning moral equality between us and them.

Chimps were not allowed such a status in New York, as the Nonhuman Rights Project now seeks to have an elephant declared a person. An orangutan in Argentina was declared a nonhuman person and granted a write of habeas corpus from a zoo. The ape was recently moved to a sanctuary in Florida, which ironically shows we are still in control regardless of whether it is based on “rights” or duties.

An Issue Worth Debating

Now, in Germany, PETA has sued to have pigs declared subjects of constitutional rights. They want to stop pig castration — an animal welfare issue certainly worth debating. But the radicals also want pigs granted constitutional protection and the right to sue in court, claiming misanthropically that animals are akin to slaves. (Slavery is evil because it treats equals unequally. Animal husbandry properly treats unequals — us and animals — unequally.)

Granting animals standing in court would have astounding consequences. From the Greenwich Time story:

Critics of such argue that accepting this rationale would trigger a wave of similar cases — creating billions of new potential plaintiffs overwhelming the courts.

Yup. And that would cripple our economy. It is astounding how many industries make use of animal products.

It could also pose broader, delicate questions, such as whether animals accused of misbehavior could then also qualify as suspects.

Nothing to Do with Animals

Nope. Animals are amoral. They are incapable of engaging in criminal behavior which requires intent and moral culpability. Animals are quite beyond any of that.

Animal standing has nothing to do with animals and everything to do with empowering radical ideologues to impose their views on the rest of us through the courts. For the good of our society, we can’t let that happen.

Photo credit: Julian Dutton via Unsplash.

Cross-posted at The Corner.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.



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