The Object of Respect
Although it is widely held that we do not owe basic respect to nonhuman animals, a close examination of why we owe this respect to human beings leads to the conclusion that we owe it to nonhuman animals as well. While Kant's basic notion of respect for persons is intuitively plausible, Kant's two arguments for why respect is owed to human beings ultimately fail, and a reconsideration of which feature of human beings actually grounds the respect that humans are owed is called for. Ultimately, it is not the robust rational autonomy that Kant suggests, but rather the basic subjectivity that underlies it (being the subject-of-a-life). Since this subjectivity is shared by nonhuman animals, they are owed respect as well.
Foreman, Elizabeth. "The Object of Respect." Environmental Ethics 37, no. 1 (2015): 57-73.