If having superior intelligence does not entitle one human to abuse another human for his or her purposes, why should it entitle humans to abuse nonhumans?
There are animals who are unquestionably more intelligent, creative, aware, communicative, and able to use language than some humans, as in the case of a chimpanzee compared to a human infant or a person with a severe developmental disability, for example. Should the more intelligent animals have rights and the less intelligent humans be denied rights? Nineteenth-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham wrote, “The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But can they suffer?” The measure of who deserves protection is not intelligence, it is the capacity to feel pain.