What non Human Animals are?

Some philosophers and those involved in animal welfare, ethology, animal rights and related subjects, consider that certain animals should also be granted personhood. Commonly named species in this context include the great apes, cetaceans, and elephants, because of their apparent intelligence and intricate social rules. The idea of extending personhood to all animals has the support of legal scholars such as Alan Dershowitz and Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, and animal law courses are now taught in 92 out of 180 law schools in the United States. On May 9, 2008, Columbia University Press published Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation by Professor Gary L. Francione of Rutgers University School of Law, a collection of writings that summarizes his work to date and makes the case for non-human animals as persons.

Some proponents of human exceptionalism (also referred to by its critics as speciesism or human supremacism ) have countered that we must institute a strict demarcation of personhood based on species membership in order to avoid the horrors of genocide (based on propaganda dehumanizing one or more ethnicities) or the injustices of forced sterilization (as occurred in many countries to people with low I.Q. scores and prisoners).

Other theorists attempt to demarcate between degrees of personhood. For example, Peter Singer’s two-tiered account distinguishes between basic sentience and the higher standard of self-consciousness which constitutes personhood. Wynn Schwartz has offered a Paradigm Case Formulation of Persons as a format allowing judges to identify qualities of personhood in different entities. Julian Friedland has advanced a seven-tiered account based on cognitive capacity and linguistic mastery. Amanda Stoel suggested that rights should be granted based on a scale of degrees of personhood, allowing entities currently denied any right to be recognized some rights, but not as many.

In 2007, the parliament of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous province of Spain, passed the world’s first legislation granting legal rights to all great apes. In 1992, Switzerland amended its constitution to recognize animals as beings and not things. A decade later, Germany guaranteed rights to animals in a 2002 amendment to its constitution, becoming the first European Union member to do so. New Zealand granted basic rights to five great ape species in 1999. Their use is now forbidden in research, testing or teaching.

In 2013, India officially recognized dolphins as non-human persons