February 19, 2012

Rights of nonhuman persons is not about animal enhancement

It's becoming increasingly evident to me that a surprising number of people think the IEET's Rights of Nonhuman Persons Program is about animal uplift, also known as animal enhancement.

This is probably on account of the work I've done to promote and support the concept of animal uplift.

But I want to stress that nonhuman personhood and animal enhancement are two different things. While eventually the two concepts may start to carry some interplay, they are two mutually exclusive ideas as far as the IEET's program goes.

The case we are making at the IEET is that a number of highly sapient animals are already endowed with those traits and characteristics sufficient for personhood consideration. Animals like the great apes, cetaceans, and elephants don't need to be enhanced. They are already full-blown persons as far as I'm concerned.

Now eventually we may use enhancement technologies to bring other species into the personhood spectrum, but that's speculative.

For now, the priority is for us to ensure that all persons today, human or otherwise, need be protected by human-equivalent rights.

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