… Laws protecting animals are perfectly justifiable, not because [animals] have rights, but because we value their welfare and are repulsed by acts of cruelty against them. Upholding such laws does not require the cascade of nonsense that would ensue from pretending that animals have moral or legal standing.
I would put it thus:
We care for animals and codify that care in law, not because animals have human rights, but because of our own humanity.
Or, as Schopenhauer mused:
Since compassion for animals is so intimately associated with goodness of character, it may be confidently asserted that whoever is cruel to animals cannot be a good man. – Schopenhauer. (I just love these 19th-C Germans: Wagner, Nietzsche, etc.) pic.twitter.com/c59Rw7fb6e
— Lackadaisical Dan (@danroodt) February 23, 2019