Salon has brilliantly presented the argument that animals should be considered people, positing that the antiquated notion of a line of demarcation between humans and animals should be discarded.
Dolphin scientist Lori Marino states, “Right now, there is no one besides a human who is a person. They’re all property, no matter how complex they are, no matter how much we love them. They have no inherent rights of their own.” Salon points out that orcas have “big brains, complex social structures, mysterious communications, and mind-boggling sixth sense,” and “chimpanzees and all the great apes, elephants, even cats and dogs and pigs and cattle, all have more developed emotional centers than we had previously supposed.”
Salon quotes Gregory Berns, an apparent authority on animals because he is an Emory University neuroeconomist, writing, “The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child and this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.” Berns adds there should be “a sort of limited personhood for animals that show neurobiological evidence of positive emotions.”
Marine biologist Jeff Schweitzer says, “We ignore the inconvenient fact that we choose to define and measure intelligence in terms of our greatest strengths. We arbitrarily exclude from the definition of intelligence higher brain functions in other animals.”