An issue that plagues animal rights advocates is something we, as people, take for granted: standing to sue. In order to find standing, generally three factors must be found: 1) injury-in-fact, 2) causation, and 3) redressability. Unfortunately for animals, courts do not recognize the injury of an animal alone to give that animal standing, even though their rights have been violated.
Standing to sue is an issue recognized around the world. The Filipino case Minors Oposa was considered a ground-breaking case, and its affect felt around the world. In Minors Oposa the high court of the Philippines expressed their willingness to recognize the standing of not just minors, but future generations not yet born. This was done in an attempt to protect future generations’ right to a balanced and healthful ecology. Though this may seem like a wild idea, suing on behalf of future generations, it makes sense. When harm is being done, the affected parties should have their interests protected, even if someone else has to bring the action.
What I suggest, is that we liberalize standing. As demonstrated in the Minors Oposa case, when a party, any party, has an interest or right that is being violated, they should have the ability to have that right protected on their behalf. When animals are denied standing, it practically renders animal cruelty laws moot, because advocates are limited in ways to seek redress on their behalf. By broadening the standing requirement we can assure that our current legislation will truly be enforceable.
For more information on standing, please visit the International Society for Animal Rights.