Israeli judge argues for animal rights
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May/June 2013:
HAIFA, Israel––Allowing a man who allegedly dragged his dog to death to resume commuting to work pending trial, Haifa District Court Judge Daniel Fisch on April 21, 2013 appended to his ruling a written commentary on perceived deficiencies in the applicable Israeli laws.
“My opinion is that it would behoove the legal system to move beyond an outlook that solely reflects compassion toward animals, to an outlook recognizing that animals have a certain level of independent legal rights,” Fisch wrote. “The legal significance would be that humans’ obligations would not be measured by the compassion required by the status of masters over them, but by criteria stemming from a position of guardianship.”
“Fisch argued that there are scientific and utilitarian reasons for giving animals independent legal status. He said that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has already proven that there is no rational justification for viewing one species or another as superior. A more central reason is that other approaches haven’t succeeded in preventing damage to fauna, or in protecting the ecological diversity that is crucial to human survival,” summarized Zafir Rinat of Haaretz.
Attorney Yossi Wolfson of the Let the Animals Live association told Rinat that Fisch’s commentary was “another important step in the clear Israeli legal trend toward seeing animals as having intrinsic rights. It is part of a broader social vision that sees people as equal participants in the community of the living,” Wolfson said.