Should animals or even other parts of nature, perhaps the world itself, have rights? At first sight, humans are obviously not the centre of the universe, something so special that only they can have rights. If both smart and stupid people have rights, why not “stupid” animals?
I admit that people can harm animals and nature, and I do not want to minimize these problems. But apart from the fact that the protection of nature can be framed in and justified by the language of human rights (the protection of human rights requires a world in which we can live, and hence requires the protection of nature), I believe that the solution of the very real problems of animals and nature do not require the invention of new rights. There are other ways to solve these problems. One can make the case that we simply have a moral duty to respect animals and nature. However, duties are less popular than rights and hence the temptation to use the language of rights.