Animal rights basically is a concept that animals should be accorded rights that are similar to what has been given to human beings. However, there are different beliefs when it comes to animal rights. Some believe that animals should be treated as people, though non-human people, while other believe that animals should not be part of research, food, clothing and entertainment. Animal rights activist say that people should not take animals as property, instead they should be treated kindly and humanely.
Some learned people also support animal rights, and many of them belong to the legal profession. They have taken cases pertaining to animal rights to court. In fact, animal law is taught in some law schools in the US. Out of the hundred and eighty law schools in the US, around hundred and sixteen teach animal law.
However, detractors of animal rights claim that since animals cannot sign contracts or make decisions pertaining to morality, they cannot be viewed as beings that should be accorded rights. Another viewpoint is that as long as animals are not made to suffer unnecessarily, there is nothing wrong in using them for resources. This is belief is known as animal welfare.
Then there are also extremists within the animal rights activists who have destroyed fur farms and also labs that use animals for testing. So, it is not strange that animal rights and court cases go hand in hand.
One court case regarding animal right was in Austria where the Supreme Court decided that a chimp named Mathew Hiasl Pan was not a human. An Austrian animal rights group wanted the court to give the status of personhood to the chimp as the shelter he was living in had gone bankrupt. He lived in the shelter for twenty-five years and could not be rehabilitated into the wild. Many people came forward to help the chimp financially, but under Austrian law just a person can accept gifts. Thus, the struggle by the activists to get the chimp the status of personhood.
Similarly, there have been many other high profile cases concerning animal rights. Some were won, while others were lost.
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