Letter to the Editor: Animal personhood
There is a wonderfully humorous depiction in a photo of a family watching a Star Trek episode on TV where the child asks, “Mom, how come they don’t enslave animals for food on Star Trek,” with the mom responding, “because it’s The Future son.”
Jim Porter’s Sierra Sun column titled, “Animals are persons with standing to sue,” describing the legal landscape that, we as a society, are beginning to navigate, as we confront the unnecessary confinement and exploitation of animals, points to our long journey to understand and respect animals.
All social justice issues, including human slavery, women’s rights, gay rights, etc., have ultimately found justice through legal reconciliation, but all social justice issues originally started with a shift in societal consciousness. The issue of “Animal Personhood” is no different.
The country of India, with a long cultural tradition of compassion for animals, recently declared that dolphin have legal “Personhood” in India with the legal right not to be held in captivity at dolphin captivity shows for entertainment. And recently the movie, “Blackfish,” exposing the cruelty of holding orcas in captivity, has educated many, while gaining a Golden Globe nomination.
It’s often said that animals are the voiceless, but if we put ourselves in their position, imagining what it would be like to be confined, forced to perform demeaning tricks and to be slaughtered, we can hear their voices, and know they deserve better.
It is only a matter of time, that we will collectively make that leap to include animals, our co-inhabitants of the earth, with the kind of legal protection that, reflects our higher, more compassionate nature.
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