Should animals have "personhood" status?

by | Apr 16, 2013 | Best of!

bellaTaxpayers, don’t you think it’s about high time we explore the rights of fish and animals? Look, I love animals. I melt like grilled cheese in July when I look into the eyes of my dog Bella when she wants a piece of my bacon. But she’s a dog. Made in a dog’s image.
In December, a conference on “ Personhood Beyond the Human” will be held at Yale University, to focus on personhood for nonhuman animals, including great apes, cetaceans, and elephants.  Conference organizers say they will explore the “evolving notions of personhood” for non people by analyzing them through the frameworks of neuroscience, behavioral science, philosophy, ethics, and law.
Featured speaker, “ethicist” Peter Singer, once said, “The notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval.”  
(Yes, as evidenced by the slaughter of more than 50 million babies since the legalization of abortion in our nation, I would say that many do have a problem seeing human life as valuable. But a lizard gets “personhood status?”)

The conference is co-sponsored by the Nonhuman Rights Project and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies in collaboration with the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and will pursue ways to protect animal interests through the establishment of legal precedents and by increasing public awareness.

By the close of the conference, attendees will have gained an enhanced understanding of the neurological, cognitive, and behavioral underpinnings of personhood and those traits required for such consideration; personhood theory; the history of personhood consideration and status (both in terms of philosophical and legal conceptions); and the legal hurdles and requirements for granting personhood status outside of the human species. The Nonhuman Rights Project will be presenting our research from the past five years including research on the varying legal causes of action that the Nonhuman Rights Project will use to argue legal personhood for specific nonhuman animals.