So the French National Assembly has upgraded pet’s legal status from “property” to “living beings capable of feeling”. Jonathan Turley’s writeup is quite good. India, last year, promoted dolphins to “non-human persons“, and started considering their welfare in legislation and regulation- including shutting down a number of Sea World type dolphin performance parks. It’s kind of mind boggling to me that (in many cases) animals are still only given the same legal consideration as inanimate objects. I’m glad more legal systems worldwide are recognizing that the binary distinction between “people” and “things” is inadequate, and I hope these ideas gain traction and spread worldwide.
EDIT: and here’s a little more, popping up from The Dish today- “the recent successes of the animal personhood movement have medical researchers worried:
What worries them is how lawyers, like the Animal Legal Defense Fund, could use some of these cases to expand rights for animals crucial to research. If a cat or a dog becomes closer to a legal person, it has a say in what you do to it. A lawyer could argue that a lab rat would not consent to being injected or cut open.”
which strikes me as pretty shitty. That argument doesn’t have anything to say about the actual personhood or experience of the animals, rather it’s simply appealing to the threat of undesirable (for some) consequences. If your main argument for why a creature should not be considered as a conscious being is that “if I was required to think about their wellbeing, I wouldn’t be allowed to treat them so badly”, you need to go back to school.