Editor’s Note—From time to time, BEEF offers space in its Editor’s Blog for a guest editorial. This week, Kathleen Marquardt takes a look at the legal landscape for animal rights. Marquardt was the founder of Putting People First and now sits on the board of directors of SARE Solutions.
As long as animal rights is politically correct, we will have people working to get standing in court for animals. That would mean that animal rightists could have your dog sue you for keeping it in a small backyard. Or they would sue ranchers for selling their cattle for food.
Think about this. How does one qualify to be the spokesperson for the animals? Shouldn’t the animal’s owner be the natural choice? He or she knows far better what that animal wants or needs than a social justice warrior.
Read: Animal rights activists ramping up
Ah, but no. Courts allowing standing for animals naturally have to see animal rightists as the rightful guardian of animals in question.
In an analysis of the situation, the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP published a commentary titled “Another Attempt To Create Legal Standing For Animals As Plaintiffs In Lawsuits Fails.” The article notes, “The Court unfortunately opined that an appellate court or the state legislature might determine that public policy regarding this issue should permit such legal actions from animals, perhaps opening the door for an appeal or legislative action.”
Related: How vegans got it wrong on cattle and climate change
You may think that it will never happen here, but look at Germany:
According to the Guardian, German animals are given legal rights. “It makes Germany the first European Union country to pass such legislation and will encourage animal rights campaigners to fight for similar law changes elsewhere. Switzerland, a non-EU member, amended its constitution in 1992 so that animals were acknowledged as 'beings' rather than things.”
European trends tend to come to the U.S. first on both coasts, then work their way inward. Animal rights is following that trend, and even though U.S. agriculture, fur and other industries have long battle the attacks of animal rights activists, the battle is far from over.