Animals Are People Too

The human tendency to anthropomorphize may come with risks great or small, but could there also be benefits? Last month, Indigenous leaders of New Zealand, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands signed a historic treaty granting legal personhood to whales, with the hope that the bestowal will lead to negotiations with Polynesian governments to enforce greater protective rights for the animals, which hold a position of sacred cultural importance. This week, write a personal essay that reflects on a moment, memory, or encounter that propelled you to project humanlike qualities onto an animal, whether a pet, insect, pest, or country critter. Do your personal beliefs about personhood collide or align with arguments about humanity and nature, or different types of sentience and consciousness?