U.S. Lags Behind While PETA Entity Pushes Germany to Grant Rights to Other Species

For Immediate Release:
February 23, 2024

Rachel Hershkovitz 202-483-7382

Stuttgart, Germany

While the U.S. is still the land of rodeos, trophy hunters, NRA “sportsmen’s clubs,” bounties on wildlife, and many other archaisms that reduce other species to their utility to humans, Germany’s parliament may just take the lead by recognizing who these “others” are and granting fundamental rights to animals. This week, PETA Germany marked its 30th anniversary by rallying outside the New Palace in Stuttgart to call on the Bundestag to change the constitution to recognize animals as individual persons with the right to life, liberty, physical integrity, and the free development of personality. Photos are available here, and video is available here (please drag the video into your web browser for quick playback).

peta germany supporters in animal masks and businesswear in a triangle formation
Credit: PETA Germany

In the U.S., PETA is preparing a new lawsuit designed to challenge the status quo. This follows earlier civil suits, including its novel 13th Amendment lawsuit, which sought to free orcas from bondage at SeaWorld; its groundbreaking “monkey selfie” copyright lawsuit, which sought to establish the right of Naruto the macaque to own and profit from his own creation; and its first-of-its-kind lawsuit challenging a loophole in the federal Animal Welfare Act allowing for the unconstitutional death sentence of barn owls. PETA’s lead counsel, Jeffrey Kerr, is inspired by the words of civil rights attorney Phil Hirschkop, who said, “First you lose, and lose, and lose, and then you win.”

“Animals aren’t things like pieces of furniture—they’re individuals like us who feel pain, fear, and love and value their lives, and simply because humans can dominate them doesn’t mean that we should,” says PETA President and founder of PETA Germany Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA entities are urging the legal system to recognize that all animals are living, feeling beings who deserve appropriate legal rights and protections for their own sake and not in relation to how they can be exploited by humans.”

The push to establish personhood for animals comes as society’s fundamental understanding of animal sentience is rapidly evolving, with studies revealing the individuality and specific talents and abilities of all species. For example, geese fall in love and stay with a partner for life, even at great personal risk; squirrels bury nuts by the position of the stars; pigeons navigate by low-frequency radio waves; fish “sing” underwater; and elephants use their trunks to send subsonic signals, alerting herds a mile or more away to danger or a source of water.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.