AR Philosophy > Legalities
Do Animals Have Legal Rights?

[Gant Daily] UNIVERSITY PARK – Consider, for a moment, the American pet:

171 million dogs and cats share our homes and, as a nation, we spend $41 billion a year on our furry companions.

According to Business Week, that’s more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world.

But there’s something even the most pampered pet doesn’t have.

“Animals don’t have rights within our legal system,” explains Patti Bednarik, a professor at Penn State Dickinson School of Law who teaches a course on Animal Law. “In the U.S., historically, they’ve always been considered property, and they still are, according to every state and federal law. This means they can be sold, transferred, and sometimes even killed, as long as it is done humanely.”

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