Forum Legend
Jul 2, 2017
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Hello đź‘‹,
You know there’s a Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Well, I have an idea that could work for animals and could be a massive step towards stopping animal cruelty (or at least greatly reducing it and getting it banned worldwide, and getting animals basic rights worldwide); a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights!
What would need to be in the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights for it to work properly, for the benefit of as many animals as possible? How could I/we go about making this a reality?
I believe I have already started (or at least tried to start) a petition about this. Should I start a new one? What should I put in the new one? What would be your tips for writing it and getting it to actually succeed, and getting the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights to actually become a thing? Should I write it as a book, study the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for tips and help with it, as well as starting the petition?
I don't think it is possible to develop a Universal Declaration of Animal Rights however if there were such a thing I suspect it'd need to be pretty careful to address various complexities that don't exist with human rights. That said, animal rights theorists often believe that there should be a simple, core set of basic rights awarded to sentient beings. I have mentioned here before my opinion that Articles 3-5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights constitute those core rights. That is, the underlying principles are as far as I can tell the exact set of basic rights advocates believe should be awarded to other animals. I shared that here in another thread but here again is my thinking:

I also have no idea to whom you would submit your petition. I can think of no actual body that would be seriously interested, outside of actual animal rights advocacy groups. I would suggest the best starting point is a book. A writer from Canada has recently published a book that tackles something very similar. He advances a theory which is consistent with the idea of a set of basic rights for sentient species. The book is "Animal Rights: Liberty and Justice for All" by James O'Heare. Reading this book would be a good start. Here is the description of the book on Amazon:

"Rights are the protection of interests. The most fundamental right is the prohibition against coercive exploitation: not to be treated as property, not to be caused pain and suffering. Who ought this basic right apply to? All and only humans? That does not really specify what it is that qualifies them. Being really smart? Being capable of language? These criteria would rule out a number of humans, and why are these criteria relevant to who is eligible for basic rights? All and only sentient beings have one fundamental interest in common: to avoid/escape pain and to continue living to experience pleasure. This includes all humans but it also includes a great many other animals. In the Western world, we believe strongly in liberty, rights, and justice. If we are to be just, we must admit that a great many animals are eligible for basic rights. Just as sexism, racism, and heterosexism are unjust (because sex, race and sexual orientation are irrelevant to the function of basic rights), so too is speciesism. I will argue in Animal Rights: Liberty and Justice for All that justice demands that all sentient beings, not just the ones who happen to be human, are eligible for basic rights, given all of the deeply held beliefs we have in individual liberty, rights, and justice."