Written by Anna Pippus, JD, Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
Animals’ status as property is a central topic of discussion and criticism in animal rights, and correctly so. The authority we have granted our own species to own animals of other species is based on self-interested domination rather than a principled ethic of justice, and it should be critically re-evaluated.
However, given how engrained species exploitation is in the economic machinery of global society, species equality will not be achieved in the near future. In the meantime—that is, until all animals are no longer property and instead have the right to be free—should we concede that animals cannot be persons with any legal rights?
An overwhelming majority of animal advocates take the position that as long as animals are property, they cannot have legal personhood or legal rights. I argue that not only is this not the case, but taking this position actively harms animals.