In Depth

Princess Michael sparks outrage with animal rights comments

'Animals don't have rights because they don't have bank accounts and they don't pay taxes' said princess

Princess Micheal of Kent has angered animal lovers by arguing that animals do not have rights because they don't pay taxes.

The royal, who married the Queen's cousin, said: "I'm a great animal lover and I'm involved in a lot of conservation, but animals don't have rights."

"They don't have bank accounts. They don't vote," she added. "You only have rights if you pay your taxes. You earn your rights."

Animal rights groups branded her assessment "daft" as it means that children and certain adults are also not entitled to rights.

Elisa Allen, associate director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) urged the princess to exercise caution in opining at all on animal rights issues.

"PETA urges Princess Michael to study the subject, rather than making an off-the-cuff statement that reflects ignorance of the issue of what fundamental rights animals have, which do not include the right to drive a car or build up an overdraft," she told The Times.

Actor and animal lover Ricky Gervais also joined criticism of the princess. "Animals might not pay taxes but they certainly work harder than this f****** waste of space," he tweeted.

The princess has a long-running feud with animal rights groups over her love of fur coats and hatred for squirrels and foxes. She once said that "there is a lot of nonsense talked about fur" and threatened to put shards of glass in Christmas wreaths to kill squirrels.

She has also courted controversy in the past by describing more senior members of the royal family as "boring" and calling Princess Diana poorly educated.

"Her gift for making forthright remarks is so well observed in royal circles that, by her own admission, she is prohibited from speaking to the press," says the Times.

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