Should some human rights extend beyond our species?

April 14, 2010 • Posted in Bioethics 101

Britain’s Home Office forbids research experiments on chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, and the Spanish Parliament in 2008 gave great apes the rights to life and freedom (  Switzerland has begun to consider the dignity of plants
(, and took a vote in March 2010 on whether or not certain animals should have lawyers appointed to represent them in particular circumstances.  What is going on?  Our American founding documents ( proclaim “all men (people) are created equal”.   In stark contrast, some people think that all beings are created equal; such murky thinking leads to some very muddy waters.  What happens when the rights of people and the rights of animals conflict?  If certain animals are given “human rights”, what happens when they harm humans?  The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture does not condone animal abuse or neglect, and seeks to use resources, including plants, wisely.  The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture upholds human rights and finds them rightly “human” — not to be given away.

Read more about human rights here:  “Fifty Years After the Declaration: The United Nations’ Record on Human Rights