Human Rights for Animals?

If We're All Just Animals, Human Rights and Animal Welfare Become Nonsense


John Stonestreet

Shane Morris

Recently Cambridge University established Europe’s first center devoted to studying and promoting animal rights law. The academics in charge say they’ll focus on questions such as whether animals should be farmed for food, used for testing, caught and killed, or kept in zoos. According to the Los Angeles Times, it’s part of a growing push to designate some animals as “non-human persons,” with legal rights to life, liberty, and even property. 

This would be bad for both humans and animals. The very concept of “human rights” comes from Christianity’s doctrine that people are made in the image of God. Likewise, animal welfare—which is different from “animal rights”—was pioneered by Christians like William Wilberforce, who saw humans as stewards of the rest of creation. 

If we’re just animals, as the concept “non-human persons” implies, there’s no reason we should be kind to or respect other animals. Human rights and animal welfare become nonsense, and things get a lot hairier for all of us.


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