Yesterday, Princess Michael of Kent (real name Marie von Reibnitz), who is married to the Queen's cousin, caused public outrage by claiming in an interview about her new book, Agnes Sorel, Mistress of Beauty, that animals 'do not have rights because they do not pay taxes, do not vote, and do not have bank accounts.' Astonishingly, she said this despite apparently being a patron of several animal charities.
These remarks of hers are not only untrue and hypocritical but also deeply offensive towards both animals and humans.
All animals have rights in the way all humans have rights because they are creatures just like us, and are living things who we share a planet with and like us are dependent on the environment. For example, it is important to know that animals have (or at least should have) a right to life, a right to freedom from degrading and cruel treatment, and a right not to be held in slavery, which are absolute rights we humans have as well. Just because someone or something does not pay taxes does not mean they do not have basic rights. Animals are not simply there for us humans to exploit or drive away-they are our fellow creatures and should be treated with respect, no matter how small or large they are or whether we think they look cute or not.