Animal rights is the idea that some, or all, non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives, and that their most basic interests – such as an interest in not suffering – should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings. Advocates oppose the assignment of moral value and fundamental protections on the basis of species membership alone – an idea known since 1970 as speciesism, when the term was coined by Richard D. Ryder – arguing that it is a prejudice as irrational as any other. They maintain that animals should no longer be viewed as property, or used as food, clothing, research subjects, entertainment, or beasts of burden.
Some animal rights activists believe that all animals should be treated equally, but this is a minority opinion. Most believe the rights of humans outweigh those of non-human animals when the two come in direct conflict. For example, most societies and groups believe a human being would be justified in killing an elephant if it was in self-defense or defense of another human.
Some scholars and groups such as personists support the extension of basic legal rights and personhood to at least some animals. The animals most often considered in arguments for personhood are chimpanzees (bonobos and common chimpanzees) and sometimes bottlenose dolphins. This is supported by some animal rights academics because it would break through the species barrier, but opposed by others because it predicates moral value on mental complexity, rather than on sentience alone.
PETA exttends animals rights to include Homo sapiens i.e. human beings as humans are animals too. Hoever, PETA does not focus on humans. For every one group focusing on non-human animals, there are thousands that focus on humans.
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