On the heels of yesterday’s post Fish Can Feel, the National Geographic article Lori Marino: Leader of a Revolution in How We Perceive Animals caught our attention.

There’s a movement underway, and right on schedule, arguing that many or most animals should be legally recognized as persons. Janet Marino is a scientist-advocate leading the charge.

A colleague warned her that one cannot be an advocate and a scientist, as science requires objectivity. Marino argues that it is because she is a scientist that she has the knowledge and therefore the moral obligation to argue the point.

Science is beginning to find that chimpanzees and dolphins and various other animals are sentient and have a sense of self, not to mention a prefrontal cortex and sophisticated cognitive abilities. That changes things.

After all, at one time humans experimented on other humans. Now you can’t even do a psychology study if it causes the subjects too much mental distress.

Clearly the line is moving, the circle is getting bigger and it’s about to include animals too. This will be a momentous leap!

“There is abundant, unquestionable evidence for personhood for animals,” Marino said. “Person doesn’t mean human. Human is the biological term that describes us as a species. Person, though, is about the kind of beings we are: sentient and conscious. That applies to most animals too. They are persons or should be legally.”