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Anthropomorphism means attributing human characteristics to non-humans, eg my computer is grouchy today. We must avoid anthropomorphism when applying rights to animals.
Anthropomorphism means attributing uniquely human characteristics to anything non-human. You might anthropomorphise your car or computer. When they are working smoothly they are in a good mood, but when they are acting up they are being deliberately combative. Religious people anthropomorphise God. They describe God in human terms and then, transposing, say God made Man in the image of God.
When applying rights to animals there is a danger of being anthropomorphic. It is foolish to give rights to your car because you think of 'her' as having a personality and you feel 'she' is sometimes moody or agreeable. Similarly, it is mistaken to believe that animals are people in different form and therefore demand the same rights as people. Animals need rights that are suitable for them. Thus animals do not need a right to higher education but do need a right to freedom to educate themselves in their own world.
On the other hand, it would be wrong to withhold rights from animals because you are unwilling to see their unique characteristics or the qualities they share with humans. The rights of species should be appropriate to them, based on their own characteristics, not human characteristics we mistakenly apply or withhold from them.
Anthropomorphism is common in mythologies, fables and allegories, for instance Aesop's Fables. The word comes from the Greek Anthropos
meaning man, plus morphe
See the entry Clever Hans, a tangible story of anthropomorphism.
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