The Ethical Standing of Animals

Over the last couple of weeks I have found myself engaged three times in discussions about the ethical standing of the animal. In the first instance, the question was one of vegetarianism, the second was one of animal testing, and the third was of the validity of antihumanism, specifically the notion that human beings should diminish both in number and in environmental impact for the benefit of animals. It seems that the animal liberation movement grows stronger and more politically relevant, so it is time to evaluate its central proposition–that animals are non-human persons with the same ethical standing to that of human beings. To answer this question, we must investigate what precisely it means to be a person.

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