Recognize Animals as Individuals With Rights

Target: Kevin Shea, Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Goal: Follow India’s example and protect the welfare and rights of animals by recognizing them as individuals.

India’s Uttarakhand High Court has ruled that all animals are sentient, individual beings, and therefore have the status of “legal person or entity.” The ruling, which includes aquatic and avian creatures as well as mammals, states that animals “have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person,” and tasks Uttarakhand natives with acting as the guardians of animals and ensuring their protection and welfare. India is now one of four nations that legally recognize animals as individuals. The United States is not one of them.

The order in India includes mandates that require suitable shelter for horses and stray cattle, as well as requiring veterinarians to treat any animal brought to them, stray or not. These kinds of rights should be a given; however, hopefully India’s move will encourage other countries to follow suit and give animals the respect and compassion they deserve. Sign below to demand that the United States emulate India’s example and recognize all animals as individuals with rights.


Dear Mr. Shea,

India has joined the ranks of countries that recognize the rights and the sentience of animals, and it is time that the United States did the same. It is your duty to ensure the welfare and protection of America’s animals, and the only way to fulfill that duty is to ensure that animals are legally recognized as individuals, and that their rights are therefore protected under the law.

India’s high court ruled that animals “have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person,” and therefore have the status of “legal person or entity.” This protects all animals—including birds and fish—from mistreatment, inhumane living conditions, and being denied veterinary care, whether or not they are strays. It also declares Uttarakhand natives as the guardians of animals, responsible for ensuring their welfare and protection. It is shameful that the U.S. does not have similar laws in place. I urge you to take steps toward ensuring the recognition of American animals as sentient, individual beings under the law, thus protecting them and guaranteeing their rights.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Heinz Melion

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  1. Give me animals to humans any day!I have never met an animal that I have disliked,however I am unable to say the same about all humans.

  2. Robert Hensman says:

    The American Justice System should do the same

  3. Beth Marie says:

    So disappointed in APHIS and the USDA. They cannot even stop the soring of horses in Tennessee. Our country is almost third world regarding animal abuse. We have fur farms skinning animals alive, horrid slaughter, puppy mills and factory farms with rampant abuse and circuses carting beaten and whipped animals all over our country. Other countries have banned these practices but not us!! Our country has failed in treatment of our animals. Taxpayers are not idiots, we are full aware of payouts to continue abusing animals. These animals are intelligent, feel, think and have emotions and our government is failing to protect them.

  4. Who are the other three countries??

  5. It should be only logical that ALL animals should be recognized as individuals. We really are not that different.

  6. Derinda Nilsson says:

    United States should have been the first. country to treat animals with love and respect. I am ashamed for all of us not treating animals as they should be treated. To me animals are a blessing and should be treated as such. I to rather be around animals over these abusing evil people.

  7. Linda Hilty-Tuttle says:

    Many so-called ‘humans’ don’t deserve to share the planet with God’s animals – animals will always be superior to many sub-humans, in my mind!

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