H. B. Acton (1908-1974) on Animal Rights

Animal Ethics

I will conclude with some remarks about the rights of animals. When it is asked whether animals have rights, and whether human beings have duties to them, the question, I think, is partly moral and partly verbal. It is this latter view, I believe, that is in the minds of some of those who deny that animals have rights. This could be either because no pain is bad, or because no animal pain is bad. Yet writers on jurisprudence say that animals do not have legal rights.