The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights – a document for discussion.

I said a while back that I thought we needed a UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF ANIMAL RIGHTS. This is it.

I adapted the wonderful UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is only a draft so I am more than happy to accept contributions, modifications and improvements. In fact I would be really glad of that. I would also be glad to have this disseminated far and wide. Animals need our protection like never before. Perhaps we can start to raise awareness of how they are being mistreated and abused and begin to do something about it?

The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights



The recognition of the rights of all living creatures is fundamental to human beings. As members of the family of life we acknowledge our relationship, that we all share the same origin, the same DNA and interact in a wondrous web of life on this planet. As conscious organisms with the intelligence to see the consequences of our actions we have a duty to protect that delicate web of life that has taken billions of years to evolve. We recognize that it may be unique to this universe and each creature has contributed to its extraordinary complexity. The loss of any creature is cause for grief. We are of the same family. Our intelligence alone has conferred guardianship over all creatures.


Disregard and contempt for animal rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind. We seek the advent of a world in which all wild animals should live a life free of fear from humans and be free to pursue their lives in the habitats to which they have evolved. Those animals that man has domesticated as pets, working animals or for food or products should be respected, treated humanely and not be subjected to ill-treatment, cruelty or abuse.


Whether it be in zoos, farms, homes or the wild all animals should be protected and respected.


Animal rights should be protected by the rule of law.


These rights should be universal.


The people who support this Charter reaffirm their faith in fundamental animal rights, in the dignity and worth of all creatures and in the social progress that will lead to better standards of life for humans as well as animals.


We support the promotion of universal respect for and observance of animal rights and the fundamental freedoms of wild creatures, big or small, even to the tiniest insect.


We believe that a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge.

All who support this pledge proclaim THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF ANIMAL RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.

All animals are born free and with inherent dignity and rights. They are all worthy of respect and have a role in the web of life.


Article 2.

All creatures entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as species, order or family, size, beauty or use to humans


Article 3.

Every creature has the right to life and security.

Article 4.

No animal shall be abused, worked cruelly or treated without respect.

Article 5.

No creature shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Every creature, no matter if it be the tiniest insect or protozoan, should have the protection of the law.


Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Every creature, via a human counsel, has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted them by the constitution or by law.


Article 9.

No creature should be subject to death without due consideration.


Article 10.

Every creature has the right to their habitats being respected so that they are able to go about their lives in the natural manner to which they are accustomed in the full richness of their unique environment, with regard to fauna, flora and physical attributes.

Article 11.

All creatures have the right to live within the family groups and settings to which they find most conducive to their well-being.

Article 12.

When human activity intrudes into the habitats of animals then due attention should be paid to the rights of the creatures living in those habitats. Due care must be taken to preserve those habitats so that the animals that live within them may prosper.


Article 13.

Every creature has the right for their case to be represented in court.

Article 14.

Humans should restrict their operations within 50% of the planet and the other 50% be given over to protected wilderness with the full gamut of habitats so that the complex spectrum of life on this planet retains the ability to live freely without human threat.


Article 15.

Humans have the responsibility not to pollute or damage the natural world so their impact is not severe on the other organisms we share the planet with. Both fauna and flora have the right to live free of human interference.


Article 16.

Every creature has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of both themselves and of their family, including food, shelter, water and a place to breed.


Article 17.

Every creature has the right freely to participate in the richness of life within the community they are part of.
Article 18.

For creatures considered pests due regard must be taken to their role in the wider community of ecology before any action is taken against them. It is recognized that all creatures have a function in the web of life and any damage done to one will have repercussions throughout that web.


Article 19.

It is incumbent on mankind to preserve the complexity of life that adorns this planet and protect its uniqueness, to reduce the suffering of creatures and enrich the lives of humans through the beauty of nature.



Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

14 thoughts on “The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights – a document for discussion.

  1. You have put a lot of thought into this declaration, Opher. I’ve perused it quickly for now but will come to it later when I have more time to give it the consideration it deserves. Thank you, Opher, for your championing of our animal friends 🙂

  2. Well said, Opher. If this became law, would that mean that raising animals (chicken, beef, pork, etc.) for food would be illegal?

      1. There is room for great improvement. I am not opposed to eating meat but I do think that animals should always be treated humanely. I would like them to be killed on the farms rather than transported hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles – packed in, terrified, without food or water.

  3. This is an excellent document. I can only spot one thing missing from it. I would like to see a clause in this declaration, clearly stating that wild animals would not be incarcerated in zoos (which came into being for the entertainment of human visitors) and wildlife parks exist purely for the benefit and protection of animals in danger of death or extinction.
    It goes without saying that vivisection, for any purpose whatsoever, would be out of the question. Profiteering pharmaceutical companies don’t tie humans down, stitch their eyes open and drip chemicals into them. It would be a contravention of human rights.

    1. Jane – two very good points. Zoos and circuses certainly need to be overtly focussed on and the treatment of animals by pharmaceutical companies needs to be explicit.
      Thank you for inputting that.

      1. It was my pleasure, Opher.
        I forgot to mention circuses – I don’t think we have animal acts in the UK these days, except maybe horses are still used. For some reason it’s always assumed that they’re well treated… huh.

      2. Jane I sometimes think that people do not understand the suffering they cause to animals. It is thoughtless and ignorant.

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