Some animals, such as primates, meet the legal personhood criteria and should thus be accorded protections and rights. This should be done in order to protect their bodily liberty and bodily integrity from serious infringements. The legal status and ethical consideration of animals is gaining immense depth. This realization has culminated to burgeoning animal rights literature. In Steven Wise’s Drawing the Line (2002), there is relative intelligence between human beings and animals. Wise argues the case for animal rights. He posits that possessing ‘practical autonomy’ qualifies for basic rights (Wise). This is often the case of developed humans in minimal ages who are endowed with practical autonomy.
Current essay examines Drawing the Line (2002) as a non-fiction book. The paper will provide a succinct rhetoric analysis and then analyze the argument advanced by Steven Wise, focusing on its organization. Further, this essay will summarize and paraphrase the non-fiction work in line with Lidinsky and Greene’s directions. The argument’s organization will be explained in terms of the strategy behind the piece. The author’s approaches will be analyzed, making particular reference to logos, pathos, and ethos. The unusual methods used by wise will be discussed, looking at claims of value, policy, and fact.
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Developed animals qualify for natural and basic rights. Practical autonomy is what many humans have as well as what judges conceive as sufficient, as far as liberty rights are concerned. Beings have that practical autonomy, since they desire, and, consequently, try to fulfill those desires (Wise). They possess a sense of self-sufficiency, allowing her to comprehend what they want. Consciousness, which may not be self-consciousness, as well as sentience, are thus implicit in the practical autonomy. Practical autonomy entails the combination of agent efficacy, sentience, and self-directedness. It involves having interests that beings are aware of and seek to realize. In Rattling the Cage, Wise uses the term ‘ability’ instead of ‘practical autonomy’.
Precautionary principle presumes that if policies or actions pose risks to either the environment or the public, in scientific consensus absence that such policies or actions are harmful, burden of proof that they are not harmful rests with those undertaking the action. Policy makers try to justify discretionary decisions, where the preponderance of harm is lacking to evoke it. Social responsibility exists in protection of both the public and the environment exposure from harm where plausible risk exists (Wise). Steven Wise adopts the precautionary principle to ensure that the protection of animals’ freedoms and rights augment with policies and actions to protect the public and the environment.
Steven Wise argues that some animals are actually people. At least, legally, they should be treated as such. In Rattling the Cage, Wise argued that bonobos and chimpanzees deserve protection since they are legal. Honeybees, orangutans, gorillas, dogs, dolphins, elephants, and parrots should be entitled to legal rights because they are instinct-driven automatons. Anthropomorphizing entails the presence of emotions, reasoning, and intelligence in animals and thus qualifies them as legal (Wise).
Wise includes a chapter about his four-year-old son Christopher to enable him show that he has intentions and acts on due to a self-sense. The son passes. It is closer than people would expect. Further, Wise places animals in a 0.0 to 1.0 continuum. Those with 1.0 have full autonomy, while those with 0.0 are just ‘stimulus-response-machines.’ Anything beyond 0.70 is a legal person with rights. To Wise’s horror and amazement, honeybees rank at 0.59 due to their ability to communicate. Alex is a gray African parrot who cannot be fooled anytime hidden nuts are transferred from container A to B. A chimp or a kid passes the ‘object-permanence’ test. Animals possess the ‘theory of mind’ since they have their own mental processes and viewpoints. William Miller exemplifies the obstacles towards the end of animal slavery. Animals that satisfy the practical autonomy criteria merit equal freedom and rights from abuse and confinement.
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Stoicism presumes that everything exists for humans’ sake. Such historical obstacles to emancipation of animals are codified in ancient laws and law codes of the Old Testament in the Bible. Legal problem is stark and simple. The law divides the universe into things and persons. People are are the legal order unit. Finally, psychological obstacles coalesce around human ignorance that nonhumans are bereft of any mental ability and that they are made for humans since this is the design of the universe (Wise). Often, moral judgments get overly influenced by emotions, experience, and intuition. William Miller, while writing about American slavery and pragmatism, held that leaders, realistic politicians, and statesmen, at one time believed that it could not be ended by deliberate human actions.
Wise bases his scale on Professor Griffin’s work. He further asserts that practical autonomy’s bedrock is consciousness (Wise). According to Wesley Hohfeld’s typology of legal rights, there are basically four types of legal rights. These are claim, liberty, authority (power), and immunity rights. Animals are mostly entitled to liberty and immunity rights according to Wesley Hohfeld.
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In conclusion, Wise’s beliefs and theories provoke controversy and discussion. Evolutionist may accept Wise’s arguments willingly, while the deeply pious, creationists will not be enthusiastic since his theories and beliefs seem blasphemous to them. However, it is clear that animals have emotions and intellectual abilities that entitle them to legal protection.