The basic principle of assigning animals a legal right – above a moral right – is based on the idea of treating human rights with respect. Basic human rights like the right to live can only be restricted under very special circumstances (e.g. death penalty, war). Therefore the notion of assigning rights to animals is related to the basic ban of using animals for the purposes humans gave them – farm animals, animals for experiments, companion animals, kept or hunted wild animals and for sports purposes (the Big Five, as they are called in the GAL Project).
Idea behind this:
The concept of animal rights in its own situation reflects the idea of ethical and legal equality for humans and animals. What is legally forbidden among humans (e.g. killing to eat, for experiments, for production of babies similar to breeding) has to be banned for animals. Animals will also have the right in court cases to defend their rights against those still using animals, which by then may be regarded as illegal abuse.