If legally recognized, basic rights for animals can serve to protect their major interests for life, integrity and freedom. In an ideal future, such protection can become part of a legally-binding treaty stating basic rights for animals in international law.
- The basic right for life can lead to protect both animal individuals and species;
- The basic right for integrity can lead to protect both the physical and psychological integrity of animals;
- The basic right for freedom can lead to protect animals from being encaged and exploited or used for human ends.
In order to grant such legal rights, the animal personhood would become the new legal status of animals. In recognition of their inherent value, animals would no longer be considered as things that can be used for human ends, or as human property.
Such a treaty can also recognize other basic rights, such as the rights to be represented:
- At the judicial level, e.g.: the right to be represented in legal processes – as is already the case in some countries concerning ill-treatment and cruelty;
- At the political level, e.g.: the right to be represented in a democratic system that, for example, accounts for animals as co-citizens. Such a treaty can lay the foundations for the states of the international community to acknowledge non-human animals as members of the community and inhabitants of the earth, granting them political status such as citizenship, denizenship or membership of another nation (depending on the context and category of animals concerned).
In order to protect the proclaimed rights, such a treaty would simultaneously set the stage for the adoption of general bans regarding animal (ab)uses. This could be done in legally-binding instrument(s) of international law (e.g.: a treaty or sub-protocols) to be enforced at national level in every state of the international community.