New laws recognize pets as having “human” rights


An Illinois state law widening pets’ rights is making waves.

Last year, the state of Illinois passed a law putting the well-being of pets into consideration during divorce settlements. The state recognized that, just like children, pets deserve humane treatment. Therefore, instead of splitting up pets equally, divorced couples must consider what would be in the pets’ best interests.

Illinois is actually the second state to pass such a law; Alaska passed a similar one a year before.

Tony Eliseuson at the Animal Legal Defense Fund notes a ripple effect. “In the last five years ago, it’s gone from sort of this very fringe area of the law to very mainstream,” he says. Additionally, the Nonhuman Rights Project has taken it a step further by announcing that animals should not be unlawfully detained.

For animal rights activists, the news is good: The law is making headlines, and other states may soon follow.