PETA Penned a Declaration of Independence for All Animals—Read It Here

All individuals are entitled to have certain liberties as their birthright, whether they were born an orca, a macaque, a chicken, or a bat. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that no human being is entitled to use a perceived difference as justification for robbing a sentient individual of his or her inalienable right to freedom, dignity, autonomy, the pursuit of happiness, or the avoidance of needless pain and suffering.

Therefore, we have conceived this declaration of the rights of all animals:

Animals have the right not to be used in experiments, for food, for clothing, for entertainment, or in any other way against their own best interests.

Animals, including mice, who can solve complex puzzles with remarkable speed, have the right not to be imprisoned in laboratory cages and infected, poisoned, shocked, or mutilated.

Animals, including barn owls, who have been known to share their nests with animals of other species, have the right not to be used in any experiment.

Johns Hopkins University owl torture

This owl is one of many imprisoned in Shreesh Mysore’s laboratory, where he cuts into their skulls and screws metal devices onto their heads in curiosity-driven experiments with no relevance to human health.

Animals, including pigs, who have frequently saved the lives of their human guardians, have the right not to be crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and stabbed in slaughterhouses.

pigs behind bars at farm© Jo-Anne McArthur, Oikeutta Elaimille / We Animals

Animals, including fish, many of whom rub against one another as a sign of affection, have the right not to be impaled on a hook or caught in a net and pulled out of the water to suffocate.

fish being dragged out of water©

Animals, including chickens, who worry about the future and pass knowledge down from one generation to the next, have the right not to spend their lives trapped in a crowded battery cage, in a dark and filthy shed, or on any farm, only to end up dying in terror in a slaughterhouse.

Animals, including rabbits, who leap into the air when they feel joy, have the right not to be neglected, caged, and immobilized while workers tear out their fur or skin them.

Animals, including sheep, who can read emotions on each other’s faces, have the right not to be beaten, mutilated, tormented, and killed for their wool.

declaration of independence

Animals, including dolphins, each of whose pods has its own language, have the right not to be abducted from their homes, forcibly bred, and held captive in a small concrete tank, where humans gawk at them or use them for rides.

Animals, including elephants, who can empathize with others’ pain, have the right not to be beaten, shackled, and forced to perform demeaning tricks or give rides.

Animals, including geese, who often spend the remainder of their lives as widows or widowers after their lifelong mate has been killed, have the right not to be plucked alive and eventually killed for down.

canda goose geese trapped

Animals, including raccoons, who frequently “wash” their food in water, have the right not to be killed for fur or just because humans have taken over their habitat and don’t want them there.

Animals, including pigeons, who can recognize all 26 letters of the English alphabet, have the right not to be exploited for deadly races or harassed and harmed just because they’re trying to survive.

Animals have the right to live, raise families, explore, make choices, and spend their time pursuing their own interests, not those of humans.


Other animals have repeatedly appealed to humans’ sensibilities and objected to our tyranny over them by fleeing, hiding, crying out, or fighting for their lives—most often to no avail. Our fellow animals are capable of experiencing hope, joy, love, fear, pain, loss, and sorrow, and we hold that all individuals are deserving of respect and consideration. In conclusion, animals have the right to be free of the crushing grip of human oppression, and we must grant them their independence.



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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind