The social and legal movement that asserts that nonhuman animals, as moral subjects or objects, are holders of rights dates back to the very origins of Western philosophy (for instance, Pythagoras, 582–507 BCE). The idea also exists in certain Christian thinking, such as that of St. John Chrysostom (347–407) and later St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226). Today, it occupies a significant position in contemporary philosophical thought, especially in the neo-utilitarian current, which holds that animals are sentient beings and have the right not to suffer unjustly, and in neo-Kantian thinking, which argues that animals have an intrinsic value and must be treated as ends, not as means.

From the point of view of legal philosophy, the recognition of animal rights is based on the Golden Rule, ...

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