I am a supporter of animal welfare. We practice it on our farm. My husband and I have a deep passion for ranching that started when we were kids.
We share a commitment to raising livestock and poultry with the strong ethical standards we were raised with. Practicing animal welfare has been an integral part of our philosophy from the start.
I don’t believe that animals have the same rights as humans. Most humans have the ability to contemplate their actions and character. Animals don’t.
Four years ago, I wrote a column sharing my philosophy on animal welfare and animal rights. I’ve written about the Nonhuman Rights Project and its efforts to “ensure legally recognized human rights for nonhuman animals through litigation, advocacy, and education.”
At the time, the NhRP filed a lawsuit on behalf of three elephants, demanding that the court recognize the pachyderms as legal persons with the fundamental right to bodily liberty.
Personality for animals? I had a cat who was an important, daily presence in my life for 20 years. I cried when he died last year and I still miss him, but I don’t miss him like he was a person.
In 2022, the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, will hear arguments regarding a habeas corpus petition alleging that Happy, an Asian elephant housed at the Bronx Zoo, should be moved to a elephant sanctuary. The petition alleges that keeping the elephant is illegal because under US law the 51-year-old elephant is a person.
About this column I wrote four years ago, it is posted on the Brownfield website and I still get comments about it. A comment that came in last week got me thinking: “Animals are smarter than we think and should become moral people. This also applies to places like rivers and the Amazon rainforest. Recently, New Zealand made the Whanganui River a legal entity, and Colombia also made its part of the Amazon rainforest a legal entity. The implication made here is that you treat nature as you would like to be treated or prepare to be accused as if they had committed a crime against a human being.
A quick internet search shows that rivers and parks in India, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Canada are considered legal persons under the law in those countries. Under US law, a corporation or a vessel can be a person. In 2019, the Yurok Tribe in Northern California decreed that the Klamath River is a person.
I believe being good stewards of the air, water, land and animals is the right thing to do. But to suggest that anything other than a human being is a person just doesn’t make sense to me.