Comment: Well you asked

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Well you asked

I've read animals can't give consent. I don't think this as much true as it is false. Animals can't talk, yet, but we can certainly see when they do not consent. They try to get away, or fight back.

This doesn't mean I think animals have human natural rights. I think animals have natural rights, and specifically according to their species.

Our rights are partly to be free of predation. A predator species wouldn't have those rights. Our rights are partly to be free from subjugation. But a herd or hive animal wouldn't have those rights. Herd and hive animals only survive by subjugation of the individual to the herd or hive.

Even if they were sentient, and could talk, their natural rights would not be the same as ours. Their nature is different. So their natural rights are different, and depending on the species may not have anything that resembles rights.

Mostly when we speak of natural law and natural rights we have to understand this only applies to us.

That said, if we wish to be moral beings, which is the whole point of natural law, we have to consider how our natural law must guide our behavior, even if the subject of the behavior doesn't have those same rights.

Just like we may give mercy to those that have wronged us, and shown us no mercy, we may treat animals in a similar fashion. Not that animals have any moral claim on us, but because we are attempting to be moral beings according to our nature.

In addition when it comes to similar species, like say monkeys, we can understand their nature, their natural social structure and their natural feeding modes can tell us that, even if they can't express it, their natural law is likely similar. Monkeys don't eat each other, they are omnivores, and they have a hybrid collectivist/individualist evolutionary breeding strategy and social structure.

So I think depending on the species similarity we can expect we share some things and this would include aspects of morality and natural law.