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This poll shows Americans are starting to think differently about animal rights

My dog Spencer mostly wants the right to go on vacation with me.
My dog Spencer mostly wants the right to go on vacation with me.

Americans increasingly think that animals should have the same rights as people, according to Gallup polling on the issue.


About a third of Americans agree with the idea that animals should have "the same rights as people" when it comes to protection against harm and exploitation. As for the types of exploitation Americans worry about, it's about animals in circuses, in sports, and, to a slightly lesser extent, those living in zoos or raised as livestock.


The Gallup poll only asked about what types of rights animals should have in relation to harm and exploitation. There is at least one philosopher out there, Will Kymlicka at Queen's University in Canada, who has made the case that equality should go even further: that animals ought to have citizenship rights, too.

"The right to vote doesn't apply to animals, but the deeper ideas behind them do," Kymlicka told Vox's Zack Beauchamp in an interview. "So we need to find mechanisms that ensure their interests are counted in determining the public good. And we need a way for them to have a say in matters that affect them. It won't be through voting, so we need to find other ways of soliciting and responding to their preferences."

You can read more from Kymlicka on his case for animal citizenship here.

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