It’s quite shocking to think that someone in the limelight could announce that animals don’t have any rights, especially with the wave of animal rights activism that has been gaining ground in recent years. But that’s exactly the statement 70-year-old Princess Michael of Kent has made.
- Putting Human Rights on Animals
The reason for her outlandish statement is that animals don’t pay taxes, have bank accounts or can vote. Quite laughable! Naturally, this has caused much furore from animal rights activists. It seems that the Princess has a strong view of what rights mean and she's probably not the first person to express this confusion. When we hear 'rights' we tend to think of human rights, such as the right to work and education, but obviously such examples don’t apply to animals because such rights are pretty meaningless to them, in the same way that the right to vote or pay taxes is useless.
- Animals Should Have (Human) Rights, Right?
However, there is no doubt that animals still have rights, and should be allowed some essential human rights, too. It doesn’t matter if animals can’t walk into a bank and open an account or vote in human elections (perhaps politics wouldn’t be so dirty if they did!), but rather how they are living beings who deserve to be on this planet just like us and who also feel and suffer, and shouldn’t be treated badly. The ozone layer doesn’t feel or speak or vote, so should we stop caring about how we’re destroying it? The ice caps are melting - they don’t speak or vote or pay taxes, so should we not care about them? The earth and all its inhabitants is important and animals are higher up than the ozone layer or ice caps because they are living, breathing, feeling beings. They deserve important rights such as being allowed to live their lives, without being used or abused for human interests. It basically boils down to respecting animals and not inflicting pain on them. The princess’s statement has ruffled feathers but it’s interestingly not the first time she’s been shamed for animal cruelty. In the past she has been snapped wearing fur. *Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons