One of the primary agenda items in animal rights advocacy is obtaining for animals the right to sue in their own names. Known as “animal standing,” allowing animals to sue would empower activists to bring animal industries to their knees, as I describe more fully in this article on NRO. Activists haven’t won yet, although a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that in theory animals could be granted the right to sue by Congress. But they keep filing cases hoping to hit the one activist judge who will give them the keys to the kingdom.
The latest example comes out of Oregon where an activist lawyer named Christopher Stone claims to represent a seal known as C657, which was ordered destroyed for eating too many salmon. Stone wants the seal to bring the case, a matter now before should an Oregon Court of Appeals. But the real point of these kind of cases is not to save a particular animal, but rather, to destroy human exceptionalism. Indeed, Stone is very clear about this goal in the conclusion to his Washington Post column explaining the case. From “Habeus Corpus for Animals? Why Not?:
C657 (currently reprieved in a Texas aquarium) wants his day in court. More than that, C657 wants to contest humankind’s self-appointed place atop the planet.
Please. C657 “wants” to do no such things. Christopher Stone and his ilk wish to “contest humankind’s self-appointed place atop the planet.” The seal is just the necessary prop to achieving that desired end.
By the way, some pretty big fish support animal standing, including Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulations czar, and famed Harvard law professor, Laurence Tribe.