Humans forget sometimes that we are animals. Perhaps if we were more attentive to this fact we might be more respectful to our brethren. Instead, what humans have, done across all continents, is bring about the extinction or depletion of many species of large animals. In Australia for example, 23 of the 24 large mammal species have been driven to extinction. In the state of California, the grizzly bear adorns the state flag, yet there are no longer any in the state of California.
So what is the story with animals when it comes to a Global Bill of Rights? Do they have rights? The answer is yes, they do, and it is easy to understand if you look through the eyes of astronauts. We share this planet with them.
Sometimes people think of the Unite movement as anthropocentric, but it’s not. One of the main purposes of a Global Bill of Rights is the preservation of all species, humans being just one of them. If you look at Article 11 in the draft Global Bill of Rights, it is, in effect, a global endangered species act that would empower lawyers in all countries to represent and fight for threatened and endangered species. It provides good jobs saving rhinos as opposed to bad jobs killing them.
By protecting their habitat, we protect our own. But we do not do this for ourselves, it’s for them. The story we teach children should be that we all share this planet with each other and with animals, and respectful coexistence is the way we live together.
We also have to go to the root causes of extinction. Often they are financial. Poachers had the nerve to kill a white rhino in a French zoo to cut off it’s horn with a chainsaw. That horn is no different than fingernails. Only a sick or desperate person would do this.
This is where education and well-being for all is needed in addition to punishment. There is a strong likelihood that the person who cut off that horn as a kid grew up poor, uneducated, and possibly abused. Such a background is no excuse for actions such of this, and the perpetrator deserves to be put in jail. Still, it takes a certain kind of person to do this type of act, and as a society with a Global Bill of Rights we would have fewer people like this to begin with.