In the eyes of the law, animals are simply “things” – possessions with no more or less value than a suitcase or a hat.
They have no legal rights. And so we treat them more or less as we please. We use them for entertainment, submit them to research, and trade them for profit.
As a result, many like Jerom the chimpanzee suffer immeasureably. Jerom lived alone in a windowless, concrete cell and died just before his fourteenth birthday because humans had injected him with 3 strains of HIV in the name of science.
The Harvard Law School professor Steven Wise wants to save animals like Jerom from this kind of cruelty. He points out that animals are capable of complex emotions, an ability to communicate using language, a sense of self – all qualities we once believed defined humanity.
We protect these qualitites in humans through legal rights; Steven Wise thinks animals deserve them too. Legal rights for animals in the second hour of The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Steven M. Wise, JD, author of “Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals.”